engine oil vs transmission fluid

Engine Oil vs Transmission Fluid: What’s the Difference?

Engine oil and transmission fluid are crucial for a vehicle, each playing a unique role. Engine oil lubricates its parts for better performance and fuel efficiency. Transmission fluid acts as a hydraulic fluid, powering the transmission and hydraulic parts. Despite looking alike, these fluids have different functions and can’t be swapped. Understanding their roles is key for effective vehicle maintenance. Let’s now detail the differences between them.

Appearance Of Engine Oil

  • They are generally translucent in color with a slight amber shade.
  • Has a lower viscosity. It flows better between the components.
  • Overtime, it darkens. Eventually appearing muddy when old and expired.

Appearance Of Transmission Fluid

  • ATF tends to be red.
  • Manual transmission fluid is normally dark green.
  • CVT fluid is green and translucent.

Engine Oil Applications And Functions

  • It provides protection against wear and friction.
  • Additionally, it helps in maintaining the temperature. Acts as a coolant and assists with heat transfer.
  • It keeps the engine free of sludge.
  • Furthermore, it protects from contaminants and impurities.
  • Lastly, it protects against damage from water and corrosion.

Transmission Fluid Applications And Functions

  • Manual transmission fluid is used for manual gearbox equipment.
  • ATF main use is to work with a torque converter.
  • Additives are often added such as friction modifiers and coolant improvers.
  • Transmission oil supports the smooth functioning of hydraulic parts.

Engine Oil Mileage

The oil should be replaced based on whichever comes first: every 5000 kilometers or 3 months from the last oil change. Additionally, excessive use may affect performance and lead to damage to the components.

Transmission Fluid Mileage

It lasts longer and doesn’t require changing until reaching 30,000 to 50,000 kilometers. Additionally, ATF lasts even longer, typically around 60,000 to 100,000 kilometers.

Hydraulic Oil Reservoir Tank

The hydraulic reservoir is a tank that holds the fluid needed for the system. It also has extra fluid to make up for any small leaks or evaporation. The reservoir can also be made to allow for the fluid to expand, let air out of the fluid, and help cool it down.

Best Performance Engine Oil

  1. Dezon Super Deluxe
  2. Taglon
  3. Petron
  4. Petron Plus

Engine Additives To Stop Oil Burning

Is your car burning oil? If it’s consuming it quickly or producing white smoke, it may be time to add an additive to stop the leak. These additives can seal your car’s engine and reduce leakage through the gaskets. Additionally, they offer benefits like increased engine performance, better fuel efficiency, and a quieter engine. We’ve compiled a list of additives to help you reduce burning and excess consumption.

  1. Engine oil Stop Leak
  2. Liqui Moly 2037 Pro-Line Engine Flush
  3. Lucas 10001 Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer
  4. Fuel additives
  5. Octane Booster
  6. Motul Engine Flush
  7. Fuel System Cleaner

Engine Oil Fully Synthetic Vs Semi Synthetic

Synthetic base

  • Enhance low-temperature performance.
  • Enhance thermal stability or heat resistance.
  • Improve burn performance or reduce volatility.
  • Enable formulation of lighter viscosity.
  • Improve shear stability or resistance to viscosity breakdown.

Generally, the more synthetic base, the better its performance. Consequently, a full synthetic formulated with a robust additive system will always outperform synthetic blends.


While both fluids may seem similar, they have distinct roles to play. Regular maintenance and servicing are recommended for both to work efficiently, depending on the vehicle’s needs.

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