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Home > News > Is there a difference between gear oil and automatic transmission fluid (ATF)?

Is there a difference between gear oil and automatic transmission fluid (ATF)?

2021-03-25

This is a problem that many car owners are confused, is there a difference between Gear Oil and automatic transmission fluid (ATF)? The simplest explanation is that gear oil is usually used in manual transmissions, while transmission oil is generally used in automatic transmissions. However, as with car lubricants, there are exceptions to this rule.

In order to fully understand the differences between them, we must first study the main differences between gearboxes and automatic transmissions.

Manual Gearbox
The manual gear is based on a two gear shaft system. After the user inputs through the clutch and the shift lever, the gears will mesh together. This means that when two moving objects are gathered together, the manual gearbox will generate a lot of heat and friction. Therefore, the gear oil must be able to make these gear transitions as smooth as possible to prevent damage to them when the components are moved.

Gear oil should have good anti-wear, load-resistant performance and suitable viscosity. In addition, it should also have good thermal oxidation stability, anti-foaming properties, water separation properties and anti-rust properties.

gear


Automatic Transmission
Compared with manual gearboxes, gears in automatic gearboxes tend to be smaller and have more moving parts. Therefore, the required lubrication is different from the lubrication of a manual transmission. Transmission oil not only needs to provide good lubrication, but also needs to be able to transfer power from the oil pump to the clutch that controls the movement of the gears.

Automatic transmission fluid is a fluid specially used for automatic transmission. Early automatic transmissions did not have special oil, but instead used engine oil. Due to the large differences in working conditions and technical requirements, the use of engine oil as an automatic transmission fluid was quickly eliminated. The special oil for automatic gearboxes used today is not only the transmission oil of the torque converter, but also the lubricating oil of the planetary gear structure and the hydraulic oil of the shifting device.

Compared with manual gearboxes, gears in automatic gearboxes tend to be smaller and have more moving parts. Therefore, the required lubrication is different from the lubrication of a manual transmission. Transmission oil not only needs to provide good lubrication, but also needs to be able to transfer power from the oil pump to the clutch that controls the movement of the gears.

Although some manual transmissions do use transmission oil instead of gear oil, the same cannot be said about putting gear oil in automatic transmissions. Gear oil is too viscous for these systems and can cause blockages between components.

automatic transmission fluid ATF

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