Transmission fluid helps in lubricating and cooling the internal parts of vehicle transmission. In an automatic transmission, it also plays a role in transmission control and operation.
As the transmission operates, the transmission fluid will be circulating it. And this will help in transferring power from the engine to the wheels of the vehicle.
The fluid is a combination of oil and additives that absorb heat from the transmission while lubricating it at the same time. This helps prevent the transmission of friction and excessive overheating.
But what’s the good news? Dodge Ram Transmission fluid doesn’t need to be replaced often. Down below, you’ll find all you need to know about changing your RAM transmission fluid.
When Should I Change My Transmission Fluid in a Dodge Ram?
This highly depends on what is recommended in your owner’s manual. Mostly, the recommended time for changing transmission fluid is between every 60,000 to 90,000 miles. However, some signs might indicate it’s time to change your Dodge Ram transmission fluid. They include:
Low Fluid Level
A low fluid level is a sign you shouldn’t joke with. Though it’s not easy for your transmission to be low on fluid, such can easily happen when there’s a leak or another underlying issue. Once your transmission fluid is very low than it should be, then it’s time to give your transmission a new dosage.
Is your transmission driving so hard and not functioning effectively? Well, that might be a sign it needs new fluid. Weird noises from your transmission and finding it difficult to change gears are also signs of transmission fluid problems.
Dark Colored Fluid
The color of your transmission fluid says a lot about its age, viscosity, and performance. Generally, fresh transmission fluid is bright red and very translucent.
If you notice yours turning brown, or dark red, it’s still okay and functioning but starts a countdown on when to change it.
However, once it turns dark brown or black, then Yikes! It’s time to replace it. The cause of change in color as transmission fluid ages is excessive oxidation. Dark-colored fluid isn’t effective enough to lubricate transmission parts and keep your vehicle moving.
Light Color Fluid
Well, it isn’t all about getting dark! A “too light” transmission fluid might be a sign of a problem too. When your vehicle’s transmission fluid looks too pinkish, it indicates that the fluid is diluted with an engine coolant, which is a sign of a serious issue.
Transmission fluid is cooled in the radiator well; when there’s a leak in the well, the transmission fluid will mix with the engine coolant causing it to look pinkish.
Transmission fluid leak is a big red flag. Even if it’s a tiny leak from the outside, it might be a sign of a bigger problem from the interior. A small leak can lead to a lack of proper lubrication to the part, which can lead to total failure of the whole transmission system.
Some causes of transmission fluid leaks include a deteriorating transmission pan gasket that serves as a seal between the transmission pan and the bell housing. Damaged valves and solenoids, hole in the transmission line, and crack in any part of the transmission can also lead to fluid leaks.
Once you notice your transmission fluid is leaking, quickly contact your mechanic to fix the problem and change your transmission fluid.
How Much Transmission Fluid Does a Dodge Ram Take?
The amount of transmission fluid your Dodge Ram needs depends on the model. Consider checking your user manual to know the exact amount of transmission fluid that your vehicle needs.
The amount needed by a 2019-2023 Ram 1500 5.7L, 3.6L, and 3.0L ranges between 8.3 – 8.5 liters. Thus, in an empty tank, you’ll need about 11 quarts to refill to the brim.
What Type of Transmission Fluid Does a Dodge Ram Use?
The transmission is one of the most complex systems of any vehicle. As such, it is very critical to choose the right fluid to ensure enhanced performance and fuel economy.
Dodge Ram transmission uses Automatic Fluid Transmission (ATF+4) fluid or its equivalent.
One of the best ATF+4 transmission fluids is the Mopar ATF+4. The high-quality transmission fluid is designed to provide a high level of lubrication for automatic transmission under normal conditions. The transmission fluid isn’t only good for Chrysler vehicles; it’s also the transmission fluid of choice for most Dodge Ram models.
However, you must follow the instructions in your vehicle manual when choosing a transmission fluid because most vehicles now specify the type of transmission fluid to be used.
What to Consider When Choosing a Dodge Ram Transmission Fluid?
There are different types of transmission fluids out there, so choosing the best for your dodge ram can be a bit overwhelming. Below are some tips to help you make the right choice:
Consult your Owner’s Manual:
The first thing to do before choosing a transmission fluid for your Dodge Ram is to check the owner’s manual to see whether the type of fluid to use has been specified. For example, some Dodge Ram models recommend you use Mopar ATF+4.
Type of transmission fluid:
As a vehicle owner, you’ll also have to choose either a synthetic or conventional transmission fluid. While synthetic transmission fluids come at a higher price, they usually offer enhanced lubrication and can withstand higher temperatures.
However, if you’ve been using a conventional transmission fluid for your vehicle, you should stick to it, as changing might do more harm than good.
Another important thing to consider is the type of brand. There are a lot of popular and renowned brands out there. Do a short research or ask your mechanic to recommend the best for you. Also, consider asking friends that are using the same type of vehicle the brand they are using.
With all the above factors, your budget is also another factor. Ensure you don’t go for a too-cheap or too-expensive transmission fluid; rather, invest in a high-quality fluid that won’t be a big hit to your budget.
How to Change Dodge Ram Transmission Fluid?
On average, it will cost you between $183 to $210 to change your Dodge Ram transmission fluid. Usually, $78 for parts and about $104 for labor costs. But do you know you can save up to $100 by changing your transmission fluid yourself? Here’s how to do it:
- Carefully drain the remaining transmission fluid
- If your vehicle uses a replaceable gasket and filter, follow the instructions in the manual and replace them
- Add the required amount of transmission fluid into the transmission
- Carefully check for leaks and cracks
- Test drive your Dodge Ram
While it’s pretty easy to change your transmission fluid with the above tips, it’s recommended you take your vehicle to your professional to avoid mistakes.
It’s recommended you check your transmission fluid every 15,000 miles and change it after about 60,000 to 90,000 miles or when you notice leaks, a color change, or a low level of fluid. Ensure you consult your owner’s manual before choosing a transmission fluid to avoid using the wrong fluid.