Is It Save To Use Universal ATF Transmission Fluid?

When Getting your transmission fluid changed there are a few things to consider. Where do you get your vehicle or transmission serviced? The factory dealership, an independent specialty shop, or a quick service repair center? This decision is often made based on price. However, it's also important to confirm the quality of oils and fluids that a facility chooses to use.


Repair facilities are often limited on time and are pressured to complete the job as quickly as possible. When under a time crunch, some quick service centers and even a few independent specialists use whatever transmission fluid they have on hand. Many use a broad-range universal, transmission fluid that claims to meet and/or exceed a specification - one that goes on to list an exorbitant amount of specifications, covering nearly every vehicle type, transmission type, or brand. Stocking a generic transmission fluid makes sense from a business financial standpoint. However, these "one does all" broad-range transmission fluids do not make sense when it comes to the long-term reliability of your transmission. Why?

Each VW Audi BMW Mercedes or other transmission type is manufactured with completely different performance characteristics, functions, and component materials -- and has been engineered to use a specific fluid with an exact additive and molecular formulation. Most universal transmission fluids are formulated without key additives or contain unnecessary additives that could adversely affect your transmission, resulting in performance and reliability issues. We recommend using the exact fluid that was designed for your transmission. Using the proper high-quality fluid gives your transmission the very best performance results, longevity, and reliability.

Example: You have a vehicle that is equipped with a ZF brand 8-speed automatic transmission.

You pick up a transmission fluid bottle that claims that it is compatible with a ZF brand 8-speed transmission, as well as, an Aisin brand 8-speed transmission. These are 2 completely different transmission brands and types (ZF vs Aisin). From the factory, the transmissions require two completely different transmission fluid formulations and/or specs. It would be best to put the bottle back. We don't recommend using any fluid that says it can be used in a wide variety of transmission brands or types. Rather, choose a quality transmission fluid that clearly states that it is made specifically for use in a ZF brand 8-speed transmission.