The Best Automatic Transmission Fluids (ATFs) Available Today

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The Best Automatic Transmission Fluids (ATFs) Available Today

Of all the fluids that circulate through the engine of your car, the best automatic fluid transmission is perhaps the most critical. Wise car owners know that topping up their vehicles with high-quality transmission fluid is a must.  There are several reasons why all vehicle owners must top-up their cars with high-quality transmission fluid.

Other than lubricating your vehicle’s transmission, the best automatic fluid transmission will help to maintain the right pressure, control temperature, and minimize tear. In short, the right transmission fluid is needed to keep things running efficiently in your car.

Changing the transmission fluid periodically is critical. If that does not happen, the fluid on which your transmission has been running will begin to lose its effectiveness over time. This is due to excessive heating and contamination.

Automatic transmission fluid is not just “oil”. Instead, it is needed to keep your car running on the road. Therefore, it is essential to get the ATF for your vehicle spot on. You can make this task easier for yourself by considering only the newest automatic transmission fluids that are increasingly popular today.

The Reasons Behind The Popularity of The Newest Automatic Transmission Fluids

In addition to overcoming oxidation, the best automatic fluid transmission are non-foaming and do not break the seals during transmission or respond to the different metals within the housing. Additionally, they enable the friction surfaces of the clutch to activate without excessive slippage.

The producers of automatic transmission fluids utilize chemical additives to meet that criterion, making each ATF formulation special in the process. The word commonly used for this type of ATF is “synthetic automatic transmission fluid.”

The additive kit of synthetic automatic transmission fluids also contains viscosity modifiers that prevent the fluid from diluting at extreme temperatures and friction controls that ensure quick shifting. However, matters are complicated a bit by the condition set by producers of synthetic ATFs that the fluid mustn’t break down and change characteristics over 100,000 miles or more. Of course, the environment or conditions in which it operates will impact the ATF’s life.

The lower working temperatures that synthetic ATFs ensure can make a major difference in the durability of the components. Generally, the best ATFs claim to boost vehicle fuel efficiency but renewing just about any fluid would do that.  This is why you need to be smart when choosing a synthetic automatic transmission fluid for your vehicle.

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What to Look For in an Automatic Transmission Fluid for Your Vehicle

The rule of thumb is to use the automatic transmission fluid recommended by your car’s manufacturer. If you do not do that, there is a chance that your transmission will break down or worse, seize completely.

Of course, this isn’t to say that if your car’s manufacturer recommends a specific ATF brand, you stick to it for the rest of your life. It only means that you find a transmission fluid with almost the same properties as the one recommended by your car’s manufacturer. However, choose an ATF for your vehicle only after considering the following things.

1.     Compatibility

This is a very critical function that needs to be considered when looking for transmission fluid. Some brands have great compatibility which implies that you can use them on various vehicle types. If you are the owner of more than one vehicle or intend to use the transmission fluid for various types of vehicles, then a multi-vehicle fluid is a great option for you.

2.     Protective Additives

Thebest automatic fluid transmission available on the market contain additives that can minimize foaming, eliminate oxidation, and more. A particular transmission fluid that is left untouched in the car for too long will ultimately start to break down.  This alters the lubrication properties and viscosity of the fluid. These problems can be avoided to improve transmission performance by picking an ATF with protective additives.

3.     The Right Brand

It is important to choose the right brand of transmission fluid for your vehicle. The good news is that most of the bigger brands selling automatic transmission fluids offer ATFs for many different types of vehicles. Therefore, you’re bound to find an ATF with them that has been recommended by your car’s manufacturer.  You can also go for a lesser-known brand provided it meets all the specifications for transmission fluid recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle.

4.     Price

This is a no brainer. If you cannot afford a particular brand of automatic transmission fluid, then you should not be buying it. However, price should be the last thing you consider, not the first. This is because an ATF with the desired properties may not be available at the price you want it.

The Recommended Automatic Transmission Fluids (ATFs)

Now that we have discussed the reasons behind the popularity of the newest automatic transmission fluids and the things to consider when choosing an ATF for your car, we can get to the best automatic transmission fluids available today. The following are the 3 ATFs that I recommended.

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1.     Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF

This automatic transmission fluid satisfies the specifications of a range of different manufacturers, including Mercon V specs from Ford and Dexron III from GM. However, it’s doesn’t fulfill the newer specifications of GM’s Dexron VI. It is a fully synthetic fluid with a viscosity index touching 176 and a phenomenal cold-temperature flow.

Pros:

  • Ensures stable changes and cooler transfer temperatures
  • Amazing circulation at lower temperatures
  • Fairly solid Group III base stock with additives from Group IV
  • Satisfies the specifications of Mercon V specs from Ford, Dexron III from GM, MAN 339 V1, Volvo 97340, and more

Cons:

  • Doesn’t fulfill the newer specifications of GM’s Dexron VI
  • Expensive
2.     Castrol ATF

This automatic transmission fluid has improved friction durability for seamless shifting and has been tested consistently by customers, exhibiting high-performance outcomes. The Castrol ATF is likely to work for you as it fits and satisfies the Dexron, Dexron-II, IIE, III, and III H specifications, as well as all Mercon specifications.

Concerning this brand of ATF, the only thing we didn’t like is misleading labeling.  It states on the label that this is for domestic vehicles, which is not right. This is because this type of fluid can also operate on imported vehicles as well as long as they need Dex / Merc fluid.

Pros:
  • The high-mileage edition has additional sealing conditioners to refresh the parts
  • Formulations that satisfy most of the specifications of OEM
  • Ensures seamless shifting
  • Great thermal protection is provided by the protective additives present in the fluid
  • More affordable than most other automatic transmission fluids available on the market
Cons:
  • Confusing or misleading labeling
3.     Royal Purple ATF

It is claimed by Royal Purple that its automatic transmission fluid can increase the life of the components of a car’s transmission by as much as two times by lowering working temperatures up to 20° Fahrenheit. At extreme temperatures, this synthetic automatic transmission fluid has a low friction coefficient. Additionally, it displays great shear resilience. Lastly, it is compatible with the transmissions of most of the newer cars.

Pros:
  • JASO-1A certified
  • Retains viscosity up to the upper transmission temperature extremes
  • Compatible with most ZF transmissions
  • Works with most of the newer transmissions
  • Replaces the factory fill fluids of Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, etc.
  • Satisfies the specifications of Dexron, Mercon, and many others
Cons:
  • Extremely expensive
  • Does not satisfy the specifications of Dexron VI
Final Word

All the automatic transmission fluids listed above have their fair share of pros and cons. Therefore, my advice to you would be to choose an automatic transmission fluid for your car that has the properties recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle.

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