How to Change Transmission Fluid for Ford Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Your Ford car is a durable, tough truck that can handle long miles on the road and heavy payloads. Although the Ford car is built to be a hard worker, its parts are subject to wear and tear and do need to be serviced regularly. One such vital organ on your Ford car is its transmission. The transmission is responsible Ford car shifting gears. Transmission fluid is a lubricant that is circulated throughout your Ford car transmission to keep its parts moving smoothly.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change Transmission Fluid for a Explorer

Removing the Transmission Fluid

Warm up the transmission oil to operating temperature. Go for a 20-minute drive on the highway, or run some errands that require a 30-minute city drive.

Park your Explorer on a level surface.

Raise the front of your SUV, using a floor jack, and support the vehicle on jack stands.

Put on your goggles, get under the Explorer, and clean the flange and edge of the transmission oil pan of dirt and grime with a soft brush.

Position a large drain pan under the transmission oil pan.

Remove the side and front oil-pan mounting bolts using a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Loosen the rear-pan mounting bolts with the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket and allow the transmission oil to drain. If necessary, separate the pan from the transmission with a wooden wedge.

Support the oil pan in place by hand, using one or two shop towels to shield yourself from the hot surface, and finish removing the rear-pan bolts using the ratchet extension and socket.

Lower the pan carefully over the drain pan and tilt the transmission pan to drain the rest of the oil. Then remove the transmission pan and gasket from the Ford Explorer.

Unbolt and remove the filter from under the transmission using a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket. Also, remove the O-ring from the filter fitting if equipped with it.

Adding New Transmission Fluid

Scrape the traces of old gasket from the transmission pan and transmission sealing surfaces using a plastic scraper, and clean the transmission sealing surface and transmission pan with solvent. Let the transmission pan air-dry.

Install a new transmission-filter O-ring to the fitting.

Install the new transmission filter and tighten the bolts using the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Apply a light coat of silicone adhesive sealant to the new transmission pan gasket and set the gasket on the transmission pan.

Hold the transmission pan in place, and install the pan mounting bolts hand-tight.

Tighten the transmission-pan bolts gradually, following a crisscross pattern, using the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Torque the transmission-pan bolts to 71 to 119 inch-lbs. using a torque wrench.

Add 3 qts. of the recommended automatic transmission fluid for your particular Explorer model through the dipstick tube, using a funnel.

Lower your Explorer, then start the engine and move the transmission shift selector through every gear and back to "Park." Then let the transmission reach operating temperature.

Apply the parking brake, and block the front wheels with chocks. With the engine still running, check the transmission oil level. Pour more transmission oil so the level reaches the “Full” mark on the dipstick, and turn off the engine.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • 2 jack stands

  • Goggles

  • Soft brush

  • Large drain pan

  • Ratchet

  • Ratchet extension

  • Socket

  • Wooden wedge, if necessary

  • Shop towels

  • Plastic scraper

  • Solvent

  • Filter O-ring

  • Silicone adhesive sealant

  • Torque wrench

  • Automatic transmission oil

  • Funnel

  • 2 wheel chocks

 How to Change the Transmission Fluid on a '95 Ford E350

Draining the Old Transmission Fluid

Drive your E350 van for 20 minutes at highway speeds and than park it on level ground. This will help to get rid of most loose particles inside the transmission.

Set the transmission to "Neutral" and release the parking brake.

Raise the front of your E350 van using a floor jack, support it on jack stands and chock the rear wheels.

Put on your goggles, get under your van and set a large drain pan under the transmission oil pan.

Remove the drain plug from the transmission oil pan, using an adjustable wrench, if your particular transmission model is equipped with it, and continue with the next steps to remove the pan.

Unfasten and remove the side and front oil-pan mounting bolts, using a ratchet, large extension and socket. Loosen the rear pan bolts about four turns.

Separate the front of the oil pan from the bottom of the transmission to start draining the oil, if you have not done so yet. Tap the front of the pan with a rubber mallet, if necessary, to break the pan seal loose.

Hold the bottom of the oil pan with a pair of shop rags and finish removing the rear pan bolts, using the ratchet, large extension and socket.

Lower the pan over the drain pan and drain the remaining of the transmission oil.

Remove the pan and pan gasket from the vehicle, unscrew the transmission filter from under the transmission and take the filter off, using the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Remove any residual gasket from the oil pan flange and the transmission mating surface, using a gasket scraper; clean the oil pan and transmission mating surface thoroughly with solvent. Let the oil pan and the transmission mating surface air dry completely.

Refilling the Transmission with Oil

Install a new transmission filter along with any new seal or gasket that came with the filter. Secure the filter to the transmission, using the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Place a new gasket on the oil pan and position the pan under the transmission. Hand-tighten the pan mounting bolts first; next, tighten the bolts evenly and gradually, following a star pattern, using the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket. Avoid over-tightening the bolts to prevent gasket damage.

Replace the drain plug, using the adjustable wrench, if your particular transmission model is equipped with it.

Lower your E350 van off the jack stands, apply the parking brakes and remove the chocks from the rear wheels.

Pour three quarts of the recommended automatic transmission fluid for your particular model through the transmission dipstick tube, using a plastic funnel.

Start the engine and shift the transmission through every gear and back to "Park." Idle the engine for about 15 minutes to let the transmission oil reach operating temperature.

Pull out the transmission dipstick and wipe the oil from the tip. Insert the dipstick in its tube fully and pull the dipstick back out again.

Hold the dipstick horizontally, rest the tip on a clean shop rag and read the oil level. The oil should read between the “Full” and “Add” marks. If necessary, add more transmission oil gradually, to avoid overfilling the transmission, then turn off the ignition.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands (2)

  • Chocks (2)

  • Goggles

  • Large drain pan

  • Adjustable wrench (optional)

  • Ratchet

  • Ratchet extension

  • Socket

  • Rubber mallet (optional)

  • Shop rags

  • Gasket scraper

  • Solvent

  • New transmission filter

  • Transmission filter seal

  • New oil pan gasket

  • New transmission oil

 How to Change Transmission Fluid on a Ford Escape

Put on your safety glasses. Engage the parking brake and place the wheel chocks in the front and back of the rear tires.

Jack the front end of the Escape up carefully. Place jack stands under the subframe, one on each side. Lower the Escape gently onto the jack stands. Pull the jack out of the way.

Put the drain pan underneath the transmission pan. Then use the socket set to loosen all the transmission pan bolts about 1/8-inch.

Use the screwdriver to carefully pry the rear of the transmission pan away from the transmission, if the pan did not drop when the bolts were loosened. Use extreme care not to distort the pan or gouge the transmission sealing surface.

Slowly remove the pan bolts at the rear of the pan, allowing the transmission fluid to pour over the rear edge of the transmission pan and into the drain pan.

Remove the rest of the pan bolts. Pour the last of the fluid out of the transmission pan into the drain pan.

Lift the old transmission pan gasket off the pan and discard it. If it sticks to the pan, you made need to carefully scrape it off with a razor blade.

Clean the transmission pan by spraying it down with brake clean and then wiping it off with rags. Make sure the sealing surface is clean.

Seat the new transmission pan gasket onto the pan.

Reinstall the pan and bolt it back in place. It is easiest to hold the pan up and partially thread in a bolt in each corner to hold it up. Then, you can put in the rest of the bolts and tighten them down.

Refer to your Escape’s specific owner’s manual for transmission fluid capacity and pour that amount into the transmission dipstick tube. It is best to put a funnel at the top of the dipstick and pour the fluid into the funnel.

Start the Escape with your foot firmly on the brake. Shift it through the gears and back into park. Check your transmission fluid level on the dipstick and add accordingly if needed. It is best not to add more than ½-quart at a time before rechecking the level.

Shut the engine off and check for leaks around the pan. When done, jack the front end back up, remove the jack stands and carefully lower the Escape back onto the ground.

Items you will need

  • Safety glasses

  • 4 wheel chocks

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Drain pan

  • Socket set

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • Brake clean and rags

  • Razor blade (optional)

  • Transmission pan gasket

  • Funnel

  • Mercon V transmission fluid

 How to Change the Transmission Fluid in a Crown Victoria

Draining the Fluid

Warm up your engine and transmission to operating temperature. If you prefer, you may run some errands and drive your vehicle for about 15 minutes prior to the oil change. This will help the fluid flush most of the metal, friction and dirt particles in the oil.

Park your Crown Victoria in a level surface and shift the transmission to Neutral (N).

Lift the front of the vehicle using a floor jack and support it on two jack stands.

Block the rear wheels with a couple of wood blocks.

Place a large catch pan under the transmission oil pan.

Start loosening the mounting bolts on the sides and front of the oil pan using a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Loosen about four turns the mounting bolts at the rear of the oil pan using the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket. Let the oil start draining on the catch pan. If necessary, lightly strike the oil pan with a rubber mallet to detach the pan from the bottom of the transmission.

Continue loosening the back mounting bolts as you let the oil drain. When you are ready to remove it, hold the bottom of the oil pan with a shop rag and finish unscrewing the rear mounting bolts. Then carefully lower the pan over the catch pan and tilt it to drain the remaining of the oil.

Remove the oil pan and pan gasket from the vehicle.

Refilling the Transmission

Clean thoroughly the oil pan, transmission mating surface and the magnet inside the pan.

Place a new pan gasket on the pan and set the oil pan and gasket in place at the bottom of the transmission. Make sure the magnet is inside the pan.

Start the pan mounting bolts by hand using the ratchet extension and socket only.

Begin to tighten the bolts gradually following an even and crisscross pattern. The bolts should be tightened just enough to allow the gasket form a seal between the pan and bottom of the transmission without distorting or damaging the gasket.

Add 5 quarts of new transmission oil to the transmission through the transmission dipstick using a funnel. If necessary, check your car owner’s manual for the recommended transmission oil for your particular vehicle year and model.

Start the vehicle and let the engine and transmission reach operating temperature checking for oil leaks around the transmission pan.

Turn off the engine and lower your vehicle.

Check the oil level and add more new transmission oil to bring the level up to the Full mark. Consult your car owner’s manual for the correct amount of oil and procedure to check oil level for your particular vehicle year and model if necessary.

Remove the wood blocks from the rear of the tires.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • 2 jack stands

  • 2 wood blocks

  • Large catch pan

  • Ratchet, ratchet extensions and socket

  • Rubber mallet, if necessary

  • Shop rags

  • New transmission oil

  • Funnel

 How to Change Transmission Fluid in a 1995 Ford F150

Slide the jack under your F-150's rear and and crank its handle to raise the jack up. Jack the rear end up and place jack stands beneath your rear frame. The rear frame on your F-150 is very durable and makes the perfect spot to set jack stands. Lower the F-150 onto the jack stands and make sure your emergency brake is on. It is recommended that you change your F-150 transmission fluid once every 40,000 miles.

Locate the transmission fluid drain plug. Slide your drain pan under the plug. On your F-150 it is located at the rear bottom of your transmission's crank case. Remove the plug with a socket set.

Allow all the fluid to empty into the drain pan. Replace the transmission fluid drain plug by tightening it to the right with your socket set.

Open the hood of your F-150 and pull the transmission fluid dipstick out. Place along, skinny funnel into the transmission fluid dipstick hole. Add 5 quarts of transmission fluid. Replace the dipstick, start your engine and check the fluid level agaim. Add an extra quart if it still reads low on the dipstick.

Jack truck up slightly and remove the jack stands. Lower your F-150 from the jack.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Drip pan

  • 5 quarts of automatic transmission fluid

  • Funnel

 How to Change Transmission Fluid in a 2002 Ford Ranger

Prop the front of the vehicle up on a pair of jacks to reach the underside of the engine easily. Slide underneath the truck and locate the transmission drain pan in the center of the engine, just off to the driver's side. It looks like a large metal box surrounded by bolts. Place a pan with a minimum 4-qt. capacity underneath the drain pan to catch transmission fluid as it drains.

Loosen and remove the drain bolt located on the pipe in front of the drain pan using a 1/2-inch socket wrench. Wait for the transmission fluid to finish draining into the pan below, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Remove all the bolts but one around the drain pan and wait for the fluid to stop running into the pan. Place a hand to steady the drain pan and remove the final bolt. Tip the remainder of the fluid into the drain pan. Wash the drain pan and bolt.

Remove the transmission filter located beneath the drain pan by loosening the three bolts with the 3/8 inch socket wrench. Place the new filter in its spot. Reattach the drain pan and the drain bolt. Lower the truck from the jacks.

Pop the hood by pulling the engine release lever underneath the steering column. Locate the yellow dipstick that rests above the drain pan. Pull out the dipstick and place a funnel in the tube. Pour in 3 qts. of type H transmission fluid. Replace the dipstick and close the hood.

Run the car for 5 to 10 minutes and open the hood again. Pull out the dipstick and check the level. It should be at the maximum line. Add any transmission fluid needed with the funnel until the level on the dipstick reads correctly.

Items you will need

  • Jacks

  • 1/2-inch socket wrench

  • 4-qt. pan

  • 3/8-inch socket wrench

  • New transmission filter

  • Funnel

  • 3 qts. type H transmission fluid

 How Do I Change Transmission Fluid in a Ford Ranger?

Changing the transmission fluid on a Ford Ranger should be done when the transmission fluid has changed color from red to a brownish color, indicating clutch material in the fluid, or at regular intervals of 30,000 miles. To change the transmission fluid in a Ranger, you will need one case of transmission fluid and a transmission service kit. The service kit includes a pan gasket and filter.

You will also need some common tools: ¼-inch drive socket set, ¼-inch drive ratchet with extension, common screwdriver, oil catch can, floor jack and jack stands. Raise and support the vehicle on the jack stands, making sure it is high enough to work underneath easily. Place the catch pan underneath the transmission.

Take the bolts out of the bottom of the transmission pan but leave two bolts in the front engine side partway in to keep the pan from falling. Remove the last two bolts while holding the pan and tip it slowly in the rear to pour out the oil. Once the oil is out, clean the pan and the magnet inside the pan with carburetor cleaner and a soft rag. Take the bolts out of the transmission filter and remove the filter and the rubber o-ring. Replace it with a new o-ring and tighten the bolts. Make absolutely sure that there is no lint or anything else left in the pan. The smallest piece of material can block a port in the valve body and cause it to malfunction.

Install the transmission gasket on the pan. If an adhesive is desired then use weatherstrip adhesive. Use a small amount, just enough to hold it in place. Do not use RTV silicone since that will squeeze into the oil pan and cause a malfunction. Lift the pan into place and install the bolts. Let the vehicle down.

Using a funnel, fill the transmission with 7 quarts of transmission fluid to start. Start the truck and let it run for 2 minutes and then, holding the brake, shift it through reverse and drive, hesitating for 30 seconds in each position. Put the transmission back into neutral. With the engine running and the transmission in neutral, check the fluid and fill as needed.

 How to Change Transmission Fluid in a F150

Drive your Ford F150 forward up onto car ramps and then put the transmission in park and set the emergency brake. Place a 4 by 4 inch wood block behind one of the rear tires to help prevent the truck from rolling backward.

Place a drain pan below the transmission pan at the bottom of the vehicle toward the back of the engine. The transmission pan will have a plug located on the bottom of the pan and sits behind the engine, just below the firewall.

Unfasten the drain plug on the bottom of the transmission pan with a socket wrench and allow the transmission fluid to drain from the pan completely. Reattach the drain plug to the bottom of the transmission pan and then locate the transmission cooler lines that run from the transmission to the bottom of the radiator.

Slide the drain pan underneath the transmission cooler lines next to the radiator and detach the transmission cooler lines from the bottom of the radiator with an open end wrench. Allow the transmission fluid to drain into the pan until it is completely drained. Reattach and secure the cooler lines to the radiator.

Place the drain pan back under the transmission pan and remove the transmission pan by using a socket wrench to remove the bolts holding the pan in place. As you remove the bolts, allow any remaining fluid to drain into the drain pan until you have completely removed the radiator pan.

Detach the transmission filter with a socket wrench that is located at the bottom of the transmission once the transmission pan is removed. Replace the transmission filter with a new filter and secure to the transmission. Reattach the transmission pan to the bottom of the transmission with bolts.

Remove the transmission dipstick from the fill tube located on the back of the engine near the fire wall and place a funnel inside the top of the fill tube. Refer to your Ford F150 owners manual for the proper amount of transmission fluid to use when changing the fluid. Fill the transmission with fluid and check the level by placing the dipstick back in the tube and then pulling it out and then verifying that the transmission fluid is at the correct level. Put the dipstick all the way back into the tube.

Remove the wood blocks from the back tire of your vehicle and start the Ford F150 engine, allowing the transmission fluid to cycle through the transmission before trying to move the vehicle. Let it cycle for about five minutes and then back the truck off of the ramps and shut the motor off.

Items you will need

  • Car ramps

  • 4 by 4 inch wood block

  • Drain pan

  • Socket wrench set

  • Transmission filter

  • Type "F" transmission fluid

  • Funnel

 How To Change The Transmission Fluid On a Super Duty

Removing the Transmission Oil

Park your Super Duty on flat, level ground.

Start your vehicle and let the engine and transmission warm up, if you have not driven the truck just prior to the oil change. Then turn off the engine.

Set the transmission to neutral (N), raise the front of the truck with a floor jack, and support it on jack stands.

Chock the rear wheels.

Place a drain pan underneath the transmission oil pan.

Using a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket of the appropriate size, begin to loosen and remove the side and front bolts from the oil pan. Be careful, as hot oil might begin to flow out of the pan as you finish removing the bolts.

Separate the pan from the transmission, if necessary, by striking the pan lightly with a rubber mallet.

Start to loosen the pan rear bolts with the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Hold the bottom of the oil pan with a shop rag before removing the rear bolts completely. Then use the ratchet extension and socket to remove the rear bolts.

Lower the oil pan in a level position over the drain pan and gradually tilt the pan to drain the remaining oil.

Remove the pan, pan gasket and drain pan from the vehicle.

Replacing the Transmission Oil

Remove oil, dirt and grease from the oil pan and transmission mating surface using a shop rag and soft brush.

Cover one side of the new pan gasket with a light coat of petroleum jelly to help it hold to the oil pan.

Set the oil pan and gasket in place underneath the transmission and start the mounting bolts by hand.

Begin to tighten the pan mounting bolts evenly and alternately. The pan gasket should form a good seal between the pan and the transmission but should not be overtightened.

Lower your vehicle and add the type and amount of new transmission oil recommended for your particular truck year and model. Consult your vehicle owner’s manual, if necessary. Add the oil through the oil dipstick tube and use a funnel to prevent spills.

Start the engine and bring the transmission up to operating temperature, between 150 and 170 Fahrenheit (66 and 77C). Then turn off the engine.

Pull out the transmission oil dipstick and wipe the oil off the dipstick with a clean shop rag or towel.

Insert the dipstick fully again in its tube and pull it out. The oil level should be in the cross-hatched area of the dipstick. If you have to, add transmission oil in increments of a half-pint (0.24-liters) to avoid overfilling the transmission.

Remove the chocks from the rear wheels.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • 2 jack stands

  • 2 chocks

  • Drain pan

  • Ratchet, ratchet extension and socket

  • Rubber mallet, if necessary

  • Shop rags

  • Soft brush

  • New pan gasket

  • Petroleum jelly

  • New transmission oil

  • Funnel