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Do You Have to Use Only Honda Transmission Fluid?

When it comes to transmission fluid, many of us just grab the first bottle we see in the store. 

But is this the best idea?

Or do we actually need transmission fluid made for our specific car?

You do not have to use Honda brand transmission fluid in your Honda vehicle. However, you should keep in mind that Honda specifically designs its transmission fluid for its cars, making it your best chance of minimizing the risk of corrosion. 

In this article, I will discuss how important it is to use Honda transmission fluid, how to identify Honda transmission fluid, and the price of a one-quart bottle. 

I will also detail what type of Honda transmission fluid you need and how often you should change it. 

Finally, I will end this article by explaining the steps to check the transmission fluid in your Honda. 

How Important Is it to Use Honda Brand Transmission Fluid?

Overall, you should use Honda brand transmission fluid in your Honda, especially if you have a newer model. 

You see, because of advancements in the auto industry, many manufacturers use very specific alloys in their cars to give you the absolute best performance. 

But, all these differences in the make-up of vehicles mean your car’s components are becoming more and more particular to their brand. 

This exactitude means it is best to use the fluids made by your vehicle’s manufacturer. 

Specifically, in regards to transmission fluid, using a different brand can result in corrosion because those fluids are not the best for the alloys in your vehicle. 

Basically, in conclusion, using Honda’s transmission fluid in your Honda car will cut down on the risk of damage. 

What Does the Honda Transmission Fluid Bottle Look Like?

In most cases, Honda’s transmission fluid bottle is gray with a red top. 

The bottle’s sticker is green with a red stripe that reads “HONDA GENUINE HG.”

What Color Is Honda Transmission Fluid?

Just like other transmission fluids, Honda’s liquid is red. 

If the transmission fluid is brown, it is old, dirty, or contaminated. 

If it is pink, it has mixed with something else, likely coolant or water. 

How Much Does Honda Transmission Fluid Cost?

You can expect to pay between $8 and $20 for 1 qt (0.9 L) of Honda automatic transmission fluid. 

For manual Honda transmission fluid, you will likely pay between $9 and $30 for 1 qt. 

What Type of Honda Transmission Fluid Do I Need for My Car?

There are two types of Honda transmission fluid. 

One is for automatic transmission cars and will say “ATF DW-1” in big letters across it. 

The other is for manual transmission vehicles and will say “MANUAL.” 

But, you should keep in mind that some newer manual transmissions actually take automatic transmission fluid. 

To find out what kind of transmission fluid your manual vehicle needs, check your Honda owner’s manual. 

How Often Do I Need to Change the Transmission Fluid in My Honda?

In general, you should change the transmission fluid in your Honda every 30,000 miles (48,280 km) to 60,000 miles (96,561 km). 

However, if you tow heavy loads, have a manual transmission, often drive in adverse conditions, or spend a lot of time in traffic, you will need your transmission fluid changed more frequently. 

How to Tell if You Need More Transmission Fluid

If you ever experience any of the following problems, you should add or change the transmission fluid in your Honda as soon as possible. 

How to tell if you need to add or change your transmission fluid: 

  • Your transmission overheats 
  • Your gears slip 
  • Your RPM runs high 
  • You find red or brown puddles of fluid under your vehicle
  • Your transmission fluid is brown 
  • Your car shifts gear too quickly or slowly 
  • Your car gives off a burning smell 
  • You hear a roaring sound when you accelerate 

How to Check Your Honda’s Transmission Fluid 

The best way to ensure you have enough transmission fluid in your Honda is to check the level periodically. 

So, in the following sections, I will detail the steps to check the transmission fluid in your Honda. 

Step One: Park Your Honda on a Level Surface 

First of all, you should park your Honda on a level surface so that you can get an accurate reading of your transmission fluid level. 

And during this time, you should leave your car in park with the engine running. 

You need to leave the engine running while you check the transmission fluid unless your owner’s manual advises you not to do so. 

Step Two: Take Safety Precautions 

Now, you should engage your emergency brake to ensure your car does not roll while you’re standing in front of it. 

Additionally, you should secure any loose clothing, dangling jewelry, or long hair so that they do not get caught in a moving fan or belt. 

Step Three: Open the Hood 

You now need to open your hood so that you can get to the transmission dipstick. 

Typically, you will find the hood release lever near the driver’s side door under the dashboard. 

When you pull this lever, the hood should spring up a bit. 

Next, go to the front of the car, and right underneath the hood, you will find the hood latch. 

In Hondas, it’s usually a bit left of center. 

Slide the lever to the right, and the hood should unlock. 

If you can’t get the hood open with these instructions, check your owner’s manual for more specific directions about opening the hood on your vehicle. 

Step Four: Find the Transmission Dipstick 

To check the transmission fluid level, you must first locate the transmission dipstick. 

Generally, in front-wheel drive cars, you will find the transmission dipstick near the oil dipstick. 

For rear-wheel drives, it will normally be near the back of the engine. 

The part of the dipstick you will see sticking out of your car will typically have a handle on the end, which is often in the shape of a hook or loop. 

This hook or loop is usually yellow but might be orange or black. 

If you can’t find the transmission dipstick in your Honda, consult your owner’s manual. 

Step Five: Pull Out the Dipstick, Wipe it Off, and Re-Insert

For this step, you will need to remove the transmission dipstick from its tube. 

Then, you should wipe it clean with an old rag or a paper towel. 

Next, re-insert the dipstick all the way back into its tube. 

Step Six: Check the Fluid Level 

Pull the dipstick back out and check to see how far the fluid level comes up the stick. 

If you have the engine running in your car, the transmission levels should reach the line that says “HOT.”

Or, if the engine is off, it should reach the line that reads “COLD.”

If the fluid doesn’t reach the appropriate line, you need more transmission fluid. 


You do not have to use only Honda transmission fluid in your Honda vehicle. 

However, this brand of transmission fluid will reduce the risk of corrosion in your car, so you should use it whenever you can.

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