Is transmission Fluid the same as Engine Oil?

Is transmission fluid the same as Engine Oil?

In contrast to engine oil, transmission fluid functions as a hydraulic fluid, facilitating seamless and easy gear transitions.

It serves to safeguard gears and clutches against friction, possessing a viscosity higher than that of engine oil.

Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is commonly characterized by its deep red color.

An image illustrating if Transmission fluid is the same as Engine Oil
Is Transmission fluid the same as Engine Oil
Source: (carfromjapan)


Engine oil is specifically designed to safeguard the internal components of an internal combustion engine.

It provides lubrication to critical parts, reducing friction between moving components.

Additionally, engine oil shields the engine from rust and corrosion while preventing the accumulation of sludge.

Typically amber in color, engine oil gradually darkens over time.

Indicators that it’s time for an oil change include the activation of the change oil light, low oil levels, the presence of black and dirty oil, engine knocking, or smoke emanating from the exhaust.

It’s generally recommended to change the oil every 5,000 to 8,000 kilometers.


It plays a crucial role in protecting gears and clutches from friction, possessing a higher viscosity than engine oil.

Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is typically a deep red, while manual transmission fluid is commonly dark green.

Unlike engine oil, ATF operates in a closed system and doesn’t undergo the same demanding conditions.

As a result, it doesn’t require frequent changes, typically recommended every 80,000 to 100,000 kilometers.

Manual transmission oil should be changed more often, around every 50,000 to 80,000 kilometers.

Low transmission fluid levels may indicate a leak, which can be identified by a puddle of red or green liquid under the car.

It’s crucial to avoid driving with low transmission fluid levels, as it can lead to severe damage and costly auto repairs.

Additionally, never interchange engine oil and transmission fluid in your car.

Is Transmission Fluid the Same as Engine Oil?

No, they are not the same.

While they may look similar, they have different properties and purposes.

Transmission fluid powers the transmission, while engine oil deals with engine combustion.

Engine oil is translucent with an amber shade, flows better, and needs more frequent replacement (every 3,000 to 6,000 miles).

Transmission fluid is green or red, lasts longer (30,000 to 50,000 miles for manual, 60,000 to 100,000 miles for automatic), and supports hydraulic parts in the transmission system.

Regular maintenance is crucial for both fluids.

Shield Lubricants is a trusted manufacturer of quality engine oil and transmission fluids for various applications.

Contact us for reliable products and services.

In conclusion

It is evident that transmission fluid and engine oil serve distinct purposes in a vehicle.

While both are crucial for optimal performance, transmission fluid operates as a hydraulic fluid facilitating smooth gear transitions.

While engine oil is designed to protect internal components from wear and friction.

Understanding these differences is essential for proper vehicle maintenance and longevity.

Is transmission fluid the same as Engine Oil? (FAQs)

  • Is it possible to use transmission fluid as engine oil?
  • What sets transmission fluid apart from engine oil?
  • How can I distinguish between transmission fluid and oil?
  • What are the indicators of low transmission fluid?

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