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How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid in Nissan Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Your Nissan car contains a transmission system entirely dependent upon fresh fluid in order to function properly. As transmission fluid becomes older, it thickens and is less effective as a cooling agent and lubricating base for the gears of your transmission. Without fresh fluid, the components of your transmission are likely to start chipping away due to the friction of shifting gears.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid in a Nissan Maxima

Change the Transmission Fluid Only

Raise the car with ramps or a floor jack and safely support it with jack stands. Place a large fluid drain pan beneath the transmission.

Remove the drain plug by pushing it in while unscrewing it with your hand. Wait for the fluid to finish draining from the transmission.

Reinstall the drain plug. If the transmission is a Re4f04 model, replace the copper gasket as well. Using a torque wrench, tighten the drain plug to 22 to 29 foot pounds.

Lower the Maxima to the ground. Using a funnel placed in the transmission filler tube, add Dexron III or the Genuine Nissan ATF specified for your vehicle. Alternate adding small amounts of new transmission fluid and checking the fluid level until the fluid level reaches the "MAX" mark on the dipstick.

Replace the Transmission Fluid and the Fluid Filter Re4f04 Models

Complete Steps 1 and 2 from Section 1. Remove the fluid pan retaining bolts with a socket wrench and take the pan off the transmission.

Clean the fluid pan with a safe solvent and set it aside to air dry. Throw away the old pan gasket.

Remove the filter mounting bolts, remove the filter and any seals or gaskets and install a new filter. Make sure you replace any new gaskets or seals onto the filter. Secure the filter by tightening the retaining bolts to 6.5 to 6.9 foot pounds with a torque wrench.

Position a new gasket on the fluid pan and install the pan onto the transmission. You must use new bolts for this, because they're self sealing bolts. Tighten the bolts to 6.5 to 6.9 foot pounds. Finish the procedure by completing Step 3 from Section 1.

Items you will need

  • Ramps or a floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Drain pan

  • Copper gasket (if needed)

  • Torque wrench

  • Funnel

  • New transmission fluid

  • Socket wrench

  • Solvent

  • New filter assembly

  • New fluid pan gasket

  • New self sealing retaining bolts

 How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid in a Nissan Sentra

Drive the car for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the engine to reach normal operating temperature. Park the car and turn the engine off. Raise the front of the car with ramps or a floor jack and support it with jack stands and wheel blocks.

Look for a drain plug on the transmission pan. Some models will have one, others won't. If there isn't a drain plug, continue to Step 3. If there is a drain plug, put a large drain pan beneath the plug, remove the drain plug and allow the fluid to drain. Skip to Step 4.

Use a socket wrench to loosen the retaining screws on the pan until you can gently pull one corner of the pan down. Take care not to bend or damage the fluid pan. Fluid will begin to drain. Remove the fluid pan retaining screws and take the pan off the transmission. Remove the old gasket and discard it. Clean the pan thoroughly and set it aside to air dry.

Remove the control valve body, oil strainer plate bolts and the separator plate. If the plate shows any scratches, dents or other damage, then you should replace it. Otherwise, you can reinstall the same separator plate.

Apply a thin bead of RTV sealant along the pan flange. The sealant should go on the outside of the boltholes, rather than on the inside. Align the new gasket onto the fluid pan and reinstall the fluid pan onto the transmission. Tighten the retaining screws evenly to 43 to 61 inch pounds with a torque wrench.

Measure the amount of transmission fluid that you drained from the transmission. Add the same amount of new Dexron II automatic transmission fluid to the transmission through the filler tube using a clean funnel. Replace the dipstick.

Start the engine, allow it to idle for a few minutes and shift the transmission through the gears, ending in "Park." Check the fluid level, which should be between the "H" and "L" marks on the dipstick. Add sufficient fluid if needed. Otherwise, replace the dipstick, close the hood and turn off the engine.

Items you will need

  • Ramps or a floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Wheel blocks

  • Drain pan

  • Socket wrench

  • New separator plate (if needed)

  • RTV sealant

  • New fluid pan gasket

  • Torque wrench

  • New transmission fluid

  • Funnel

 How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid in a Nissan Altima

Drain the Old Transmission Fluid and Filter

Park the car on level ground. Raise and level it securely with ramps or jacks. Remove the filler dipstick from beneath the hood and replace it with a funnel. Place a drain pan beneath the transmission fluid pan.

Remove the transmission drain plug with a wrench. Apply pressure to the drain plug while turning it to prevent fluid from leaking out. Allow the transmission fluid to drain. Replace the drain plug and tighten it to 22 to 29 foot pounds with a torque wrench.

Loosen all of the 21 fluid pan retaining bolts. Hold the pan with one hand while removing the bolts with the other. Carefully lower the fluid pan with both hands, making sure you don't spill any remaining fluid. Drain the rest of the fluid into the drain pan.

Find 11 bolts and one nut that attach the filter assembly to the transmission. These are different lengths, so pay attention to their locations as you remove them. Take the filter off the transmission. Check for debris, as this could indicate a problem with the transmission.

Look for the O ring that attaches the filter tube to the transmission. Make sure it comes out of the transmission when you remove the filter. Wipe the mounting boss of the filter with a clean dry cloth. Rub a bit of petroleum jelly on the O ring, just enough to coat the surface.

Locate the two magnets on the transmission pan and clean them. In addition, remove the old gasket from the pan with a scraper. Use solvent to clean all the sediment from the transmission pan. You may use a lint free cloth soaked in solvent if needed.

Install a New Filter and Fresh Transmission Fluid

Push the filter tube back into the mounting boss, making sure it's sealed. Install a new filter and replace the bolts and nut in their original locations. Tighten the bolts to 5 to 6 foot pounds.

Put the new gasket on the transmission pan and align the holes to make sure you have the correct gasket. Remove the gasket and apply a few drops of adhesive. Replace the gasket on the transmission pan and realign it before the adhesive dries. Put the pan on the transmission and replace the bolts. Finally, tighten the bolts with a torque wrench to 5 to 6 foot pounds.

Return the Altima to the ground, but make sure the car is still on level ground. Refill the transmission with new fluid. Only add a small amount at a time, while checking the fluid level.

Start the engine and shift the transmission through the gears, ending in "Park." Check the fluid level again, and adjust as needed.

Items you will need

  • Ramps or jacks

  • Funnel

  • Drain pan

  • Wrench

  • Torque wrench

  • Clean, lint free cloths

  • Petroleum jelly

  • Scraper

  • Solvent

  • New filter

  • New gasket

  • Gasket adhesive

  • New transmission fluid

 How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid in a Nissan Pathfinder

Raise the front of the Pathfinder with ramps or a floor jack. Safely support the vehicle with wheel blocks and jack stands. Position a drain pan beneath the transmission. Use a hand drill to loosen the fluid pan retaining screws a little and completely remove the rear ones. This will allow the rear of the pan to drop and the fluid to drain out. Remove the rest of the screws and take the pan and gasket off the transmission.

Clean the fluid pan and set it aside to air dry. Inspect the fluid filter or strainer at this time and replace it if necessary.

Reinstall the fluid pan with a new gasket. You may use a tiny bit of sealant placed along the pan flange outside of the screw holes. Tighten the screws evenly with a torque wrench. Tighten them to 4 to 5 foot pounds.

Remove the jack stands carefully and return the Pathfinder to the ground. Measure the amount of fluid that drained from the transmission. Use a funnel to replace that same amount of new fluid to the transmission through the dipstick tube, located beneath the hood.

Insert the dipstick into the filler tube. Start the engine and let it idle for a few minutes. Move the gear selector through the gears, returning it to "Park." While the engine is still running, check the fluid level using the dipstick. Add more fluid if necessary. Otherwise, replace the dipstick, close the hood and shut off the engine.

Items you will need

  • Ramps or a floor jack

  • Wheel blocks

  • Jack stands

  • Drain pan

  • Hand drill

  • New fluid filter or strainer (if needed)

  • New fluid pan gasket

  • ATV sealant (optional)

  • Torque wrench

  • Funnel

  • New transmission fluid

 How to Change the Automatic Transmission Fluid in a 240SX

Run your car's engine for 10 to 15 minutes. This warms the fluid so that it will drain more easily.

Park your 240SX on level ground and turn off the engine.

Elevate the car six to eight inches from the ground using a jack.

Place a jack stand next to each tire on the inner portion of the car's body.

Step back from the car to see if your 240SX is sitting evenly. A tipped car means that the transmission pan is also tipped, which can create a safety hazard during the fluid replacement.

Slide under the front of your car to find the transmission pan. The 240SX's transmission pan sits mounted near the driver's side floor and can be recognized by the many bolts attached to it, as well as a drain plug.

Set your drip pan under the transmission pan's plug.

Turn the drain plug counter-clockwise with your 17mm socket wrench until it releases and fluid begins to pour out into your drip pan.

Remove the transmission pan's bolts with your 17mm socket wrench after all of the fluid appears to have drained out.

Pour the old fluid from inside of the transmission pan into the drip pan.

Wash the transmission pan thoroughly by putting enough degreaser on your shop cloth to effectively clean the old fluid out.

Connect the transmission pan back into the same position it was in before you unbolted it.

Remove the jack stands so that you can lower your car with the jack.

Open your hood and find the fill port at the top of your transmission.

Disconnect the fill port cap by unscrewing it. Notice that the dipstick is attached to the cap and set this aside.

Lock the emergency brake all the way to the floor of your car.

Run your engine during the remainder of the fluid replacement process.

Place your funnel into the fill port's opening.

Pour the first 2 qts. of fluid into the fill port slowly.

Shift your car's transmission, holding each gear idle for at least five seconds. This ensures that the fluid will flow to each part of your transmission.

Place your dipstick into the fill port to check the fluid level after you have shifted into each gear of the transmission. If the fluid reaches the fill line on the dipstick, do not add more fluid. If the dipstick is not wet at the fill line yet, continue adding small amounts of the third quart of fluid until the dipstick's fill line is wet.

Close your hood, unlock the emergency brake and turn off your engine to complete the transmission fluid change in your 240SX.

Items you will need

  • 3 quarts automatic transmission fluid

  • 17mm socket wrench

  • Safety glasses

  • Protective gloves

  • Drip pan

  • Funnel

  • Car jack

  • 4 jack stands

  • Shop rag

  • Degreaser

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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