Maintenance: Changing Transmission Fluid

Ford suggests that the first transmission fluid change is recommended at 150,000 miles for the 2017 Ford Explorer Platinum, but I like to change my maintenance a lot sooner than the recommended. So at 55,000 miles I decided to change the transmission fluid via the drain and fill method. For Ford transmission fluid, it’s recommended to stick with the OEM so I’ll be changing the oil with Motorcraft Mercon LV.

What I used:
Step 1: Jack up the car.

Lifting the front is all that’s needed for a transmission fluid change.

Step 2: Locate and drain the transmission fluid.

I used a 7/16″ socket  to unscrew the drain plug. While I was waiting for the fluid to drain, I went to the next step.

Step 3: Remove the transmission cap to release vacuum.

In order to reach the transmission cap, part of the intake hose needs to be removed. The intake hose clamps can be loosen with a 5/16″ socket or a flat head screwdriver.

The transmission fill cap is hidden to the left of the intake filter box.

Once the intake hose is removed, I was able to reach behind the air intake box and unscrew the transmission cap. For the transmission cap, I had to twist and then give it a good pull.

Step 4: Once, it’s done draining put back the transmission drain plug.

I was able to drain a tad bit above 4.25 qt.  Once it’s all drained, make sure you install back the drain plug.

Step 5: Insert the long funnel and refill the transmission.

Since I drained 4.25 qts, I filled back the same amount. After I was done filling, I placed back the transmission cap.

Step 6: Take the car for a drive around the block.

For this step I put back the intake, shifted through all the gears for a few seconds and then took the car for a drive around the block.

Step 7: Rinse and repeat 2 more times.

Draining and filling the transmission does not remove all of the fluids since some fluids are still in the transmission. I drained and filled 2 more times to replenish majority of the fluid.

Step 8: Apply thread sealant on the drain plug in the final fill

For the final fill I applied Permatex 59214 High Temperature Thread Sealant on drain plug’s thread to stop any leaks.

Step 10. Check the transmission fluid level.

I shifted through all the gears first before checking the fluid levels. Add as needed.


2 thoughts on “Maintenance: Changing Transmission Fluid”

  1. Thanks for the detailed info…
    I did my 3x flush this morning… First drain came out brown, second had a hint of red, the third flush had more red fluid color… I did a 30 minute drive at each fluid change to warm up the fluid… Didn’t have to raise the front of the vehicle… Thanks for the info on the Permatex high temp thread sealant…
    At this point I plan on doing one flush during the Spring of every year… Ford ATF is not that expensive…

    • Hi Chuck again! It’s great to hear that your 3x flush went well, and you noticed a change in the fluid color with each round. The practice of warming up the fluid before each change sounds like a wise approach to ensure a more thorough flush. Your plan to perform an annual flush using Ford ATF seems like an excellent preventative maintenance strategy.

      Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s always helpful to hear about different maintenance routines.


Leave a Comment