Transmission Fluid vs Motor Oil

Transmission Fluid vs Oil
Transmission Fluid vs Motor Oil

People get confused between Transmission Fluid and Oil considering these two as the same. Are you confused too? Then to know the difference between Transmission Fluid and Oil, just go through this article.

Transmission Fluid vs Oil Table

Viscosity: High

Viscosity: Low

Function or use in Transmission or gear System, Steering part

Function or use in Engine

Temperature endurance: Low

Temperature endurance: High



Clear or Pink colour

Golden brown colour

Not suitable for combustion system

Made for combustion system

High proportion of additive mixture

Low proportion of additive mixture

Why Compare?

Comparison between Transmission Fluid and Oil is important to make people realize the importance of changing the Transmission Fluid of their vehicle. Sometimes, they use oil instead of fluid in the transmission system that can cause accidents and damage.

To have a healthy vehicle, people change their engine oil as recommended. But consider changing transmission fluid as an unnecessary cost. But it is also recommended to Change Transmission Fluid every 60000 kilometers for keeping the transmission system healthy.

The main concern of Transmission fluid is heat. The transmission system produces heat through friction. Fluids absorb this heat and check frictional damage. More the load on the transmission system, the more the fluid gets hotter. If the same Transmission Fluid is used for a long time, it will be broken by excessive heat thus creating a chance of burning and other problems.


Though there are many similarities between the function of Transmission Fluid and Oil, the operating fields of these two are different. Transmission fluid functions in the transmission system and gearbox. It keeps the vehicle’s Transmission system healthy. Consistent friction in the gearbox generates heat.

The fluid absorbs this excessive heat to cool down the transmission or gearbox. Fluid also checks friction or grinding between the gear system by its high lubricating property. On the contrary, oil functions in the engine or motor. The car engine is a sophisticated combustion machine that generates a huge amount of heat. It also reduces friction and wear on moving parts, removes dust and sludge from the engine. The oil keeps all metals safe from being oxidized.


Both transmission fluid and oil contain base oil and additive mixtures. But the proportion of additive mixture in transmission fluid is higher and more concentrated than oil.

Transmission fluid is not changed infrequent intervals due to a high proportion of additive mixtures. These additives develop lubricating capability, viscosity, thickness, and other specifications of fluid. The additive mixture includes many chemical compounds such as fluor-elastomers for sealing higher temperature, anti-wear additives to reduce corrosion, detergents, anti-oxidation compounds and many more.

Oil is mainly composed of Base oil. The amount of base oil is nearly 78%. The lower proportion of additives mixture includes- viscosity improving additives, detergents, dispersant, corrosion inhibitors and others.


Type is another property to differentiate transmission fluid and oil. Transmission fluid is of mainly two types- Automatic Transmission Fluid and Manual Transmission Fluid. But there is also synthetic transmission fluid along with other types that include CVT and dual-clutch model. Oil also can be classified into different types such as Conventional, Full Synthetic, Synthetic blend, High mileage oil.


The Optimum temperature range of the Transmission Fluid is lower than that of Oil. As oil functions in the engine’s combustion sector, its optimal temperature ranges up to 250 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, the optimal temperature of transmission fluid ranges between 175-220 degrees. Above that, for the rise in every 20 degrees, the fluid gets worse.

Rising temperature leads to the ultimate failure of the transmission system through plates slipping, varnish formation, clutches burning and others.

Impacts on the Environment:

Leakage of both transmission fluid and oil has negative consequences on the environment. Disposal of transmission fluid produces Hydrocarbon that causes breathing diseases and suffocation. Fluid’s thickness causes serious damage to aqua life. Additive chemicals pollute water, soil and impact biodiversity negatively.

Oil is a hazardous substance too due to its chemical composition. Oil can be mixed with the drainage system, seep into groundwater and cause serious water pollution. Harmful impacts of oil and fluid leakage can’t be described in some words. We need to adopt recycling usage of transmission fluid and oil to mitigate negative impacts.

The color shows a lot, want to know?

Color is a physical property that enables you to recognize transmission fluid and oil at first sight. Transmission Fluid is generally clear or Pink in color. Deep Red or brown color indicates that the fluid is old.

But burnt fluid takes the dark brown color that causes extra damage to the transmission system. Fresh oil is golden brown. It gets dark with burning. Dark brown indicates that oil is used before.

Is it okay to use Transmission fluid in the engine?

Though it depends, in most cases, it’s not okay. Transmission fluid and oil may show almost similar features at first glance, but they can’t be interchanged. Using a little amount of oil in the gearbox instead of transmission fluid causes no significant harm. But consistent use can damage the transmission system and gearbox of a vehicle.

Fluid is thicker than oil. It also shows high viscosity. Oil can’t sustain under huge pressure between the grinding of gear wheels. So, the friction causes corrosion of the gear wheels. another hand, oil is used in combustion systems. If transmission fluid is used instead of oil, it will cause immediate engine failure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Motor oil and transmission fluid are not the same. Motor oil is designed to lubricate your engine, while transmission fluid is designed to lubricate your transmission. Transmission fluid also has a higher boiling point than motor oil, so it can better withstand the high temperatures generated by your transmission.

There’s a common misconception that you can substitute motor oil for transmission fluid. However, this is not the case. While motor oil and transmission fluid may look similar, they are actually quite different. Motor oil is designed to lubricate your engine, while transmission fluid is designed to lubricate your transmission.

If you use motor oil in your transmission, it will quickly break down and lose its ability to lubricate. This can cause serious damage to your transmission and may even result in complete failure. So, be sure to use the proper fluid in your transmission – transmission fluid – to keep it running smoothly and prevent costly repairs down the road.

Can you mix transmission fluid with motor oil?
Yes, you can mix transmission fluid with motor oil. In fact, many mechanics recommend it. The two fluids have different properties, but they work well together. Transmission fluid is thinner than motor oil, so it helps to keep the engine cool. Motor oil is thicker than transmission fluid, so it helps to protect the engine parts. When you mix the two fluids, you get the best of both worlds.

If you add a small amount of transmission fluid to your oil, it will help to lubricate the engine and protect it from wear and tear. However, too much transmission fluid can actually damage the engine, so it’s important to be careful not to overdo it. If you’re unsure about how much to add, it’s always best to consult with a mechanic or other expert before proceeding.


Transmission Oil

Motor Oil

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