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Transmission Fluid Change

I want to change the transmission fluid in my 2000 S-10 pick-up.

Does pulling the pan alone make the job complete or do I have to somehow drain the torque converter? If sohow is this task completed?

Auto or manual? Since you referred to a pan and a torque converter I am going to guess it is an auto.

The general recommendation, which I agree with, is to drop the pan and clean/change the filter and refill. You will not get a complete change, but You are ahead of those flushes that don’t clean or replace the filter. Most of the oil will be new.

How many years and miles on your S-10? If it has been 100,000 miles I think I would change it now and again in maybe a few thousand miles.

Thank you for the input. Sorry about not giving the difference between manual/auto.
It is an automatic and has 54,000.
Thanks again, Mike.

Dropping the pan and refilling only replaces 25%-30% of the total volume of transmission fluid in the transmission. The rest is held in the torque converter, valve body, and the transmission cooling lines. So this would be the same as draining only 25%-30% of the old engine oil, or one quart of oil, changing the oil filter, and then adding one quart back in. Is that an oil change?

Here’s a video with Rusty Wallace explaining what a transmssion fluid exchange does.


Thank you for the input. I thought this might be the case.A person gets so much double talk from so may “shade tree” mechanics that its hard to tell.
I believe I’ll take your advise and get the who “shebang” as my dad used to say.
Thanks again Mike from Iowa.

Heres the problem with the flushing and why I dont push for them too much. There are way too many unqualified shops out there buying up these flush machines to make a quick buck and you can definately make a lot of quick bucks with them. Hey, whats easier than hooking up 2 lines to a car, flipping a switch then a couple of minutes later, unhook and collect your $100 bucks or more… What usually happens after that is your trans starts acting up, you take it back to the unqualified shop where you get a lot of blank stares and shrugged shoulders and “I dont know whats wrong with it” comments. THEN, your trans is sitting on my bench awaiting a $1000 or more overhaul because some particle of trash from the pan is lodged somewhere wreaking havoc.
In your pan (For the transmissions which have them) sits the dirtiest fluid in your trans. All the trash, and metal shavings etc falls to the pan. This trash gets sucked up into the filter screen when the engine is running and falls back down into the pan when the engine is off. When you flush a transmission without first dropping the pan, cleaning it out and changing the filter, the trash remains in the pan. What good is this?? To properly service an automatic, the pan must first be removed, cleaned out really good and the filter must be changed. Only then can a flush be done. If a shop tells you that changing the filter is not needed or the flush cleans the filter, they are full of BS. Go somewhere else. This is why I really dont recommend flushing unless the fluid has become contaminated. If you service your trans on a regular basis by dropping the pan and changing the filter, and refilling and doing it every 25-30k miles (MAX) your trans should give you many trouble free miles. Hey, I’m not complaining about all the work though. These unqualified shops keep my benches full. I dont have a boat payment, no time for sailing, but I can use it to pay for my new Dyno I just ordered…LOL


I’d like to respectfully disagree with Tester’s recommendation for flushing.

The Rusty Wallace video was discussed in this forum several months back and many felt it was a sales pitch.

Read transman618’s input below. He states it well.

I would only get a flush if:

  • My pan was already dropped and cleaned.
  • A new filter was installed.
  • I knew the flush machine was using the exact fluid that my vehicle
    requires, and not a generic fluid with additives thrown in (since
    some transmissions will fail with these mixes).

If a flush doesn’t have all the above, then you’re gambling on damaging your transmission.
Rather than a flush, why not simply change it the way the manufactures designed the fluid to be changed, which has worked fine for millions of cars for many years.

OK, Transmissions are beyond my level of expertise, so I depend on people who know more than I to guide me. 03 trailblazer, 100k ask about trans fluid change. "We can do it all but that requires cracking the case for a complete flush, or simple change where about 50% gets changed. The price is (not recalling exactly, illustrative purposes only) ASTRONOMICAL or Reasonable, which do you pick? I Picked reasonable but looking for clarity!!!

Not only do I disagree with Wallace if he’s saying (video kept breaking up on me) that you should perform a flush only but I also strongly disagree with his comment at the end about discussing this with your service advisor.

Why in the world would you discuss something like this with a service advisor; about 98% of whom know very little about cars. They’re paper shufflers and salesmen for the most part.

That’s an infomercial; much like the one with Carroll Shelby pushing Slick 50.

Is there anything wrong with removing the lines from the cooler and using the transmission to pump out the fluid? Will that get the TC fluid out?

If the fluid is changed at a reasonable interval (~30K miles) then the old fluid left behind is still viable.
It’s not perfect, but not a poison either.
One could be conservative and change every 15K after the first change.
The same reasoning can apply to coolant and power steering fluid.

This is rhinos, the guy who asked the question. I thank all for their answers.
I think I will drop the pan and put a new filter in. transmission618 made the most sense. If you pump all of the shavings etc. through the whole system then you could have problems. I’m 60 years old and an old “shade tree”. I know, just like the “out housse lawyer”, just enough to get myself in trouble.
Thanks to all rhinos from Iowa

Agreed. I try to siphon as much as I can out of our Civic A/T two or three times a year when doing an oil change, and the fluid remains clear and nice and red. Only $3.95 a quart and pretty easy to do, no transmission issues for us ever. Rocketman

You can take what transman says to the bank. It’s gold.

An example of flushing only.
Last spring my youngest son who lives in another town took his under warranty Lincoln Aviator in for a transmission service at my recommendation because of an almost unnoticeable 2/3 shift flare. This little glitch only appeared now and then with no codes present.

He got the car back and it was undriveable. The transmission was bucking so bad it would slam you back and forth in the seats.
So, off to visit the dealer I went where the service manager tried to lay off all kinds of BS on me by telling me this was “normal”. I took him for a ride and he changed his tune very quickly.

So, after 45 minutes of going round and round they brought the vehicle back in, dropped the pan, cleaned things out as they should, reflushed the system, and it’s been fine ever since.

I would add to my comment about service advisors that the service manager even ageed with my opinion about service advisors. (like the SM was any better)
He leaned over the desk and quietly told me (in reference to the serv. advisor who dealt with my son originally) that “look, you’re in the business. We both know most of these guys don’t know much about cars”.
A feather could have knocked me over! :slight_smile:

The SM even told me they have been doing things this way for “21 years” to which I responded “well, you’ve been wrong for 21 years and I know exactly why you flush only - it’s quick and it’s profitable”.
It could also be added that for a flush only/no pan drop they hit him up for 244 bucks; plus tax. In a nutshell, there’s why they flush only.

I once bought an '85 SEi Accord with 60K miles. The AT fluid looked brownish so I changed the fluid twice, with a week’s time between changes. Never had a trans problem up until it was stolen at 120K.