Understanding ATF Fluid Specifications and Grades


Have you ever wondered how your car swiftly twists and turns during off-road adventures and heavy urban traffic conditions? There are many kinds of fluids when it comes to operating different types of automobiles. However, in recent years people have started using vehicles equipped with automatic transmission systems. Therefore, opting for a suitable transmission fluid has become a necessary task for end users. Automatic transmission fluids are mainly used in vehicles with self-shifting or automatic transmissions. The extensively complex transmission system is the main component that ensures the proper functioning of vehicles by coordinating the operation of each part. To make this work easier the automatic transmission fluid is necessary. The lubricant manufacturers are constantly looking for the best ideas and innovative technologies for the formulation of automatic transmission fluids that can provide optimal performance and super efficiency.

Mainly there are four types of transmission systems: manual transmission, automatic transmission, automated manual transmission, and continuously variable transmission. The automatic transmission system is considered one of the most mechanically complex systems. A lot of pieces work together in this system. Therefore, frequent checking and maintenance is very important. If you fail to do so, it will be too expensive to repair. Choosing the suitable ATF is essential to protect the transmission system. In this blog, we will discuss more about ATF and the importance of ATF fluid specification and grades.


There are many types of fluids available for automatic transmission systems. Some of them are listed below.


These full synthetic fluids are mostly used in vehicles that require an ultra-low viscosity automatic transmission fluid such as passenger cars and light trucks. They have the highest level of fuel economy performance. It offers improved shear stability, and oxidation stability, anti-wear properties, and friction control. ULV transmission fluid is formulated with advanced additives to prevent leaks, transmission breakdown, and wear and tear. The best frictional enhancements and viscosity stability ensure smooth gear engagements.


The low-viscosity transmission fluids are also fully synthetic and can be used in passenger cars and light trucks. The first-generation low-viscosity transmission fluids are renowned for their better fuel economy characteristics. It resists the oxidation, shear thinning, and formation of sludge. The synthetic base oil ensures better performance and long fluid life while the superior quality friction modifiers ensure smooth shifts and turns. The low-viscosity transmission fluids are formulated with synthetic base oils and a high-quality additive package with anti-wear, anti-oxidant, and corrosion inhibitors.


These transmission fluids are designed to be used in vehicles with CVT transmissions such as Honda, Jeep, Mitsubishi, and Nissan. The synthetic fluid has high-temperature stability and anti-wear properties offering improved performance in adverse conditions. The additives in the CVT fluid provide excellent friction control and oxidation control. Compared to other transmission systems, CVT can change an infinite number of gear ratios. The primary function of the transmission fluid is to keep the transmission system running smoothly. Therefore it is very important to keep track of checking and changing the fluid. Because the contamination and level drop can easily affect your vehicle’s performance.


These automatic transmission fluids are specifically formulated for Chrysler automatic transmissions. It ensures optimal performance in Chrysler vehicles such as Plymouth, Dodge, and Jeep. the superior quality additive package provides the best low-temperature fluidity, excellent frictional properties, and very good wear protection.


These types of ATF fluids are well-suited for certain older Toyota, Mazda, Volvo, and other vehicles. The type F ATF fluid is formulated with high-quality base oils, antioxidants, anti-wear agents, viscosity index improvers, defoamants, and special additives. They provide dependable frictional properties to the transmission system.


If you’re looking for the best ATF fluid for your vehicle, then it is essential to consider the viscosity and performance ratings of the fluid.

Viscosity Grades

To put it simply, the viscosity of a fluid is its resistance to flow. And ATF fluids are categorized by viscosity grades. A fluid with a low viscosity grade will be thinner and it can easily flow in much lower temperatures. The viscosity grades of ATF fluids are typically denoted with numbers such as ATF10, ATF20, ATF30, 5W-30, 10W-40, etc. Here, the numbers refer to the fluid’s viscosity at lower temperatures and operating temperatures. This conveys, that the lowest number has the least viscosity and it easily flows in low temperatures. However, during normal or high temperatures, it is necessary to have a high viscosity.

Performance Ratings

The performance ratings of an ATF fluid are the specific requirements and standards the fluid meets. Some of the examples include DEXRON III, MERCON V, and ATF+4. These ratings denote many of the oil’s properties such as friction control properties, anti-wear characteristics, oxidation resistance, anti-foaming properties, and corrosion resistance. Therefore, it is essential to check the performance of an ATF fluid before selecting it for your vehicle.


The primary function of an automatic transmission fluid is to keep the system cool and transmit the power from the engine to the transmission. The ATF fluid keeps the components of your vehicle lubricated and protects the transmission from premature wear, corrosion, and friction.

However, the properties and components of each automatic transmission fluid vary from each other. Therefore, knowing the type of your vehicle and its transmission will help you select the suitable transmission fluid for your vehicle.

Check your vehicle’s manual

When you plan to choose a transmission fluid, the first thing you always need to check is your vehicle’s manual. It provides you detailed information about your vehicle, transmission fluid requirements, and fluid change intervals. The type of transmission fluid that matches your vehicle is solely dependent on the year, make, and model of your vehicle. We can get this information from the manual. Ignoring this information and opting for the wrong ATF fluid might lead to poor performance and potential damage to the transmission system.

OEM Specifications

OEM or Original Equipment Manufacturer specifications are crucial in selecting automatic transmission fluid. You can ensure the specifications by checking the labels like DEXRON, MARCON, etc.

Conventional or Synthetic

Nowadays, most lubricant manufacturers have introduced fully synthetic automatic transmission fluids. And many of the new vehicles are better compatible with synthetic fluids. Even though it is better to check whether your vehicle requires conventional or synthetic fluids.

Performance Requirements

The performance requirements of each vehicle are different from one another. Some engage in off-road trips and heavy towing while some are engaged in frequent stop-and-go traffic and drive in heavy temperatures. Therefore, it is better to choose your ATF fluid with your vehicle’s performance requirements. This will help the longevity of your transmission system.

Today there are a number of ATF fluid suppliers and ATF brands available in the market which makes it highly difficult to choose the right ATF fluid for your vehicle’s automatic transmission system, so it is crucial to understand your ATF system requirement specifications before using a well-matched ATF fluid will always ensure smooth operation, fuel efficiency, and prolonged lifespan of your transmission system. Not using the suitable ATF will cause poor performance and potential damages to your transmission system that will later lead to costly repair. requirements. Therefore, make sure that your ATF matches your vehicle’s transmission system.

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