How to Change Oiland what to pay attention to.

Automatic ZF transmissions are filled with the specially developed ZF-LIFEGUARDFLUID transmission oil. At very high operating temperatures, the oil ages faster than under normal conditions. Depending on the driving style (e.g. many drives at high speeds or sporty driving), ZF therefore recommends a transmission oil change every 100,000 km or after 8 years at the latest.

How to Change Transmission Oil on a Passenger Car Step by step

1. Before changing the oil

To ensure that you do not damage the transmission, strictly adhere to the vehicle manufacturer's instructions! For example, the engine must not be run when there is no more oil in the transmission. You should also not tow the vehicle in such a case.

2. Draining oil

First, remove all coverings necessary from the vehicle's underbody.

Use the oil drain plug on the bottom side of the oil pan to drain the oil from the transmission and collect it in a suitable container.

If the transmission oil smells burned or if it contains chips or, in the worst case, metal pieces, the transmission is damaged. In this case, please immediately contact your ZF Service Centre.

3. Removing the oil pan

Metal oil pans:
Only replace the oil filter and sealing ring. Loosen the oil pan's screws in the sequence specified by the vehicle manufacturer to avoid distortion of the pan. Afterwards, remove the old oil filter and remove residual oil from the oil pan and permanent magnet.
Next, install the new oil filter and sealing ring. Observe the specified tightening torque. If you use an oil change kit from ZF Aftermarket, the oil filter and sealing ring are included.

Plastic oil pans:
These variants are replaced completely. Oil filter and sealing ring are integrated in the new pan.

4. Installing the oil pan

Use new screws to install the new or cleaned oil pan. If you use an oil change kit from ZF Aftermarket, all necessary screws are included. When tightening down, always observe the sequence specified by the vehicle manufacturer as well as the prescribed tightening torque.

Exemplary tightening sequence

5. Fitting the drain plug

Now, fit the new drain plug with a new seal. In doing so, also pay attention to the specified tightening torque.

6. Filling ZF transmission oil

Be very careful when filling oil. If you fill too much or too little oil or if you fill oil at the wrong oil temperature, the transmission might be damaged. Open the automatic transmission's filler plug and top up the specified ZF-LIFEGUARDFLUID until it runs out of the filler hole. Do not use any supplementary additives or cleaning agents as they would alter the transmission oil's chemical composition.

7. Running the engine

Allow the engine to run at idling speed and continue to top up oil until it runs out of the filler hole.

Now, select positions R and D one after the other. Afterwards, shift gears according to the table below, depending on the transmission variant (A, B or C).

Transmission variant Gears to be selected Hold gear for Additional operations
A 1st to 3rd 3 sec. -
B 1st to 4th 10 sec. -
C all 10 sec. Keep engine speed at 2,000 rpm for 30 seconds to fill the torque converter with oil.

8. Checking oil temperature

Now, check the oil temperature. It must be between 30°C and 35°C max. (6HP) or 40°C max. (8HP). Allow the engine to warm up or cool down to regulate the oil temperature.

9. Checking the fill level

Once the oil temperature is between 30°C and 35°C (6HP) or 40°C (8HP), check the fill level. If no oil is running out of the filler hole, the filled oil quantity is too small. In this case, top up with the suitable ZF-LIFEGUARDFLUID until it runs out of the hole.

Let the engine run until the transmission temperature is at 40°C and only a few drops spill out of the filler hole. Now, close the filler plug and tighten it to the prescribed tightening torque.

10. Switching off the engine

You can switch off the engine now. The oil change is completed.

Service information on oil change kits

Further information