How to Change the Transmission Fluid in a 2006 Nissan Altima

by Justin CuplerUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Measured drain pan

  • Ratchet

  • Socket set

  • Thick shop cloth

  • New washer

  • Clean, lint-free cloth

  • Funnel

  • Genuine Nissan Matic D ATF

As Nissan began moving toward the future in the early 1990s, one of its crowning achievements was replacing the decrepit Stanza with the more modern-looking Altima. In 2002, the Altima received a dramatic restyling, as Nissan dropped the classic bubble look in favor of sweeping body lines and hard angles. The 2006 Altima – the last of this newly redesigned generation – used an RE4F04B automatic transmission, or in non-Nissan-lingo, a four-speed automatic. Changing the fluid in this transmission is, in some ways, simpler than changing the engine oil.

Start the Altima’s engine and allow it to idle until the temperature gauge is about halfway up. Stop the engine. Raise the front of the vehicle with a floor jack and slide jack stands under the Altima’s subframe. Lower the Nissan onto the jack stands.

Crawl under the front of the vehicle on the driver’s side and find the transmission drain plug on the bottom of the transmission.

Slide a measured drain pan under the drain plug and loosen the drain plug with a ratchet and socket. Wrap your hand in a thick shop cloth to prevent being burned by hot transmission fluid and remove the drain plug by hand. Pull the washer off the drain plug and discard it.

Allow the fluid to drain into the drain pan. Slide a new washer onto the drain plug once the fluid stops draining. Hand-thread the drain plug into the transmission and tighten it with a ratchet and socket.

Raise the vehicle off the jack stands with a floor jack and remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle to the ground.

Look in the measured drain pan and see how much fluid you drained from the transmission. Ideally, there should be almost 9 3/4 quarts of fluid in the drain pan. Remove the automatic transmission dipstick, wipe it off with a clean, lint-free cloth and set it aside. Insert a funnel into the ATF dipstick tube. Pour 9 3/4 quarts of Genuine Nissan Matic D ATF into the transmission.

Remove the funnel from the dipstick tube and reinsert the dipstick.

Start the engine and allow it to idle until the temperature gauge is about halfway. Shift through each gear in the transmission, pausing for about five seconds at each gear, then put the transmission back into “Park.” Stop the engine and wait about two minutes for the transmission fluid to settle.

Remove the transmission dipstick and wipe it off with a clean, lint-free cloth. Reinsert the dipstick and remove it again. Verify the fluid level is within the crosshatched area on the “Hot” side of the dipstick. Add more Genuine Nissan Matic D ATF as needed.

Insert the funnel into an empty bottle of transmission fluid and fill the bottle with oil from the drain pan. Remove the funnel and tighten the cap onto the fluid bottle. Repeat this step until you transfer all of the fluid into the empty bottles. Take the now-full bottles to a used-automotive-fluid recycling plant. Many auto parts stores take old transmission fluid for free.

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