How to Change the Transmission Fluid on a 94 S10

by Justin CuplerUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Drain pan

  • Ratchet

  • Socket set

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Plastic gasket scraper

  • Clean, lint-free shop cloths

  • Transmission filter and gasket set

  • Parts cleaner

  • RTV Silicone

  • Torque wrench

  • Funnel

  • 5 quarts Dexron VI transmission fluid

The first Chevrolet compact pickup was the Isuzu-built Chevrolet LUV, which lasted until the 1982 model year. In 1983, Chevrolet decided to bring compact truck manufacturing to the United States and released the U.S.-built Chevrolet S-10. The 1994 Chevrolet S-10 came standard with a 2.2-liter, in-line four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission. Chevrolet offered an optional four-speed automatic transmission for the 1994 S-10. Chevrolet recommends replacing the transmission fluid in the four-speed automatic every 15,000 miles.

Raise the front of the S-10 with a floor jack. Sit jack stands under the frame rails and lower the S-10 until only the stands support it.

Crawl under the S-10 and place the drain pan under the transmission pan. Remove the bolts from the front and both sides of the transmission pan, using a ratchet and socket. Loosen the rear bolts on the transmission pan only about four turns.

Pry downward on the transmission pan with a flat-head screwdriver to free it from the transmission, allowing the fluid to drain from the transmission pan into the drain pan. Once the fluid stops draining, hold the transmission pan up and remove the rear transmission pan bolts. Pull the transmission pan down and pour any remaining fluid from the transmission pan into the drain pan.

Remove the transmission pan gasket. Scrape any debris from the mating surface on the transmission, using a plastic gasket scraper, and wipe it with a clean, lint-free shop cloth.

Grab the transmission filter and pull it downward to remove it. Insert the new transmission filter's neck into the transmission and press upward until the filter seats into place.

Clean the mating surface on the transmission pan, using a plastic scraper and clean, lint-free cloths.

Remove the magnet from the transmission pan and clean it with a clean, lint-free cloth and parts cleaner. Hold the transmission pan over the drain pan and clean it by spraying parts cleaner in it. Wipe any heavy sludge from the transmission pan, using clean, lint-free shop cloths. Reinstall the magnet into the transmission pan.

Place a thin bead of silicone on the transmission pan mating surface. Sit the transmission gasket on the mating surface, making certain all of the bolt holes on the gasket line up with the holes on the pan. (The RTV silicone holds the gasket in place while placing it on the transmission.)

Place the transmission pan on the transmission and hand-tighten the pan bolts. Torque the pan bolts, in a crisscross pattern, to 8 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and a socket.

Raise the S-10 with a floor jack and remove the jack stands from under it. Lower the truck to the ground.

Remove the transmission oil dipstick and insert a funnel into the dipstick tube. Pour 5 quarts of new Dexron VI automatic transmission fluid into the dipstick tube.

Start the engine, hold the brake and shift through every gear. Return the gear shifter to the "Park" position.

Allow the engine to idle and pull the transmission oil dipstick from the engine compartment. Wipe the dipstick off with a clean, lint-free cloth and reinsert the dipstick. Pull the dipstick out and verify the transmission oil level is between the two dimples on the dipstick, below the "Add" mark -- this is the correct fluid level when the transmission fluid is cold. Add fluid, as needed, to reach the proper level.

Drive the S-10 for 10 to 20 miles to warm it up, then recheck the fluid level. The correct level when warm is the cross-hatched section. Add fluid, as needed, to reach this level.

Take the old transmission fluid, filter and soiled cloths to an automotive fluid recycling center. Most auto pats store perform this task free of charge.


Never attempt to repair an existing transmission problem, such as slipping, by changing the transmission fluid. Introducing new transmission fluid may actually cause more damage.

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