How to Replace the Transmission Filter in a Kia Optima

by Lee Sallings
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The transmission filter in your Kia Optima removes particles from the transmission fluid that might cause damage to the internal transmission parts and premature transmission failure. Replacing the transmission filter and fluid is a maintenance project that should be performed about every 30,000 miles to keep the transmission protected and last longer. This project can be completed by the average home mechanic in a couple of hours using basic hand tools.

Step 1

Place wheel chocks behind the rear wheel and set the parking brake. Raise the front of the Kia with a floor jack positioned under the front sub-frame. Place jack stands under the sub-frame and lower the car onto them. Remove the floor jack and slide a drain pan under the car.

Step 2

Position the drain pan under the transmission pan located under the car on the driver's side. Remove the transmission fluid drain plug, if equipped, from the pan using a socket and ratchet. Allow the fluid to completely drain into the pan.

Step 3

Remove the 10 mm pan bolts that attach the transmission pan to the transmission. If your Optima is not equipped with a drain plug, remove the bolts slowly to avoid spilling transmission fluid as the pan is loosened. Remove the bolts starting at one corner and allow the fluid to drain into the pan before removing the final bolt. Lower the pan from the transmission and drain it into the drain pan.

Step 4

Clean all traces of the old gasket from the transmission and the transmission pan. Remove the three screws, using a screwdriver, that attach the transmission filter to the transmission and lower the gasket into the drain pan.

Step 5

Install the new gasket onto the transmission and tighten the screws securely. Install the new pan and gasket onto the transmission and tighten the 10 mm bolts snugly. Avoid over-tightening the bolts and crushing the gasket. Tighten the bolts until they are secure and then 1/4 turn further.

Step 6

Slide the drain pan and all tools out from under the car. Lift the car off the jack stands with a floor jack and remove the stands. Lower the car to the ground. Insert a funnel in the dipstick tube and add 3.5 quarts of SP3 transmission fluid. Test-drive and recheck the fluid level with the engine hot. The level should be in the crosshatch area on the dipstick.

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