Recycling Transmission Fluid: 5 Quick Tips You Should Know

Recycling Transmission Fluid

Our vehicles use transmission fluids, and without them, we won’t see any cars on our roads.

All cars or engines use transmission fluids as lubricants to improve their performance.

When we use transmission fluid for an extended period, it worsens with time. So, we have to check and change it as desired. Failure to do so will lower the car engine performance or damage the transmission mechanism.

Keep reading for some quick tips you should know about recycling the transmission fluid.

What is Transmission Fluid?

Transmission fluid, otherwise known as automatic transmission fluid (ATF), lubricates vehicles for transmission. 

It has a complex mixture of oil, water, and additives that combine to lubricate the gears during transmission.

One of its functions includes cooling and shifting. The fluid helps the transmission system in our cars or trucks to reduce wear, heat, and friction between gears in the gearbox.

In addition, every vehicle needs transmission fluid, typically planned to withstand the specific engine temperature and prevent metal rust.

Does The Type of Transmission Fluid Matter?

Yes. Many types of transmission fluids are available in the market. Manufacturers produce various forms suitable for certain transmissions, depending on the engine used. 

Before buying a transmission fluid, check the car manufacturer’s recommendation to get the best transmission fluid for it.

The Importance of Recycling Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is an automotive lubricant that reduces the friction between transmission gears and keeps them moving smoothly without wearing out. So one primary importance is to keep our cars in motion.

A low transmission fluid causes metal parts to grind against each other and wear down faster.

Moreover, the importance of recycling transmission fluid has become apparent in recent times. We have seen increased environmental awareness and concerns, including strict legislation on car emissions.

So, we must recycle automotive fluids to avoid polluting our air or water alike. We can achieve this process by adapting to a closed-loop model. It means collecting used transmission fluids, then refining them into new products like engine lubricant or brake fluid.

How to Recycle Transmission Fluid?

Oil can mix with dirt particles and fuel vapors and cause sludge to build up with time. The sludge contains toxins, which we have to remove before they cause significant problems in the engine.

One step of recycling transmission fluid involves draining the old fluid and replacing it with new fluids, such as automatic transmission oil. 

This procedure removes all traces of contamination from the engine and replaces them with a new lubricant. At least, the new lubricant meets current quality standards for smooth operations.

The other step involves replacing the filter with a new one. To do so, remove the radiator cap and drain out as much fluid and debris as possible, then replace it when fully drained.

Why We Should Recycle Transmission Fluid?

Transmission fluid is a precious engine resource that needs recycling. However, if we don’t recycle it, we release various chemicals that harm our environment.

While such chemicals ensure a smooth operation of engine transmissions, they are harmful to the environment.

In addition, transmission fluid is not eco-friendly. For instance, some have petroleum products, so they are highly flammable. Therefore, discarding flammable products rather than recycling them can cause risky fire outbreaks in the environment.

Therefore, recycling transmission fluids is crucial in keeping our environment clean.

Can Transmission Fluid Actually be Recycled?

Yes. According to Environmental Protection Agency, transmission fluid is a waste oil product that must undergo recycling.

When to Change the Transmission Fluid?

After realizing the transmission fluid has water or dirt contamination during a regular check-up, it’s time to recycle it. However, the easiest way to know when to change our cars’ transmission is by checking their manual. 

Many manufacturers recommend changing the fluid for every 50,000 to 100,000 kilometers.

What Happens When Transmission Fluid Is Low?

Low transmission fluid causes the transmission process to slip or jerk forward when switching gears. Also, low fluid may cause challenging changes in gears, causing heat build-up in the transmission. The result may cause a burning smell or engine damage because of lubrication shortage.

To avoid these issues, I usually check the levels of my transmission fluids routinely. This ensures I’m not operating my vehicle when it’s low on fluid.

Signs of transmission leaks include:

Slow Acceleration

Excellent transmission causes our car gears to shift smoothly. However, if I drive my car after some period and realize it delays speeding up when pressing on the gas pedal, it means it has transmission issues.

Extremely Hot Transmission

Our car transmissions are often very active. While normal heat is acceptable, extreme heat is a sign of transmission leak. So, low fluid levels can cause overheating.

Check for Leaks

We often notice dark fluid spots when we leave a car parking. Such spots are a significant hint of transmission leaks.

Low Dipstick Levels

Occasionally, checking transmission leaks can warn us of any severe leaks in case of significantly low levels.

What Is the Best Way to Recycle Transmission Fluid?

There are a few ways of recycling transmission fluid. The first option is relatively easy and recommended by most fluid manufacturers. 

It involves returning it to the store where I purchased the product.

Original sellers have expertise in changing the fluid if you don’t know how to change it by yourself.

The other way involves taking the transmission fluid to a certified recycler to perform the process.

Alternatively, visiting a local mechanic near us for help often works too. They have vast experience recycling transmission fluids. Also, they know how to handle incorrectly disposed fluids, which are not pertinent to recycling waste instructions.

Another way is to use engine flush kits or ATF cleaner kits. These kits don’t have any chemical components. So they usually remove pollutants with outstanding success.


If you find yourself in need of transmission fluid or have a car with a faulty transmission, consider recycling your old fluid. With these simple tips, you can ensure that your recycled fluid is safe and clean. Don’t forget to recycle today!


What is Transmission Fluid?

The Importance of Transmission Fluid Recycling

How to Recycle Transmission Fluid

When to Change Transmission Fluid

Signs of transmission leaks

What Is the Best Way to Recycle Transmission Fluid?