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Old 08-06-2017, 08:44 AM   #1
DF Sales&Marketing
Oil Tech Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2007
Member Number: 207
Posts: 275
Default Keeping up with ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluids)

Misleading labels are one of several factors interfering with the proper use of adequately performing automatic transmission fluids, according to the results of a survey released by the Petroleum Quality Institute of America.

Among the problems it cited was the frequent use of terms such as universal and multi-purpose, leading fluids to be used in transmissions for which they do not provide adequate performance. PQIA said itís survey found strong sentiment that the ATF market in the United States is also hampered by the plethora of ATF specifications, insufficient knowledge of ATFs on the part of consumers and even installers, and the presence of off-spec products.

Prior to 2000, about 80% of the ATF market was covered by General Motors Dexron III, Fordís Mercon or Chryslerís ATF +4 standards and specifications. It was easy for an installer, mechanic, or do-it-yourself person to figure out which fluid to use for make-up or replacement fluid. Lubricant marketers only had to carry a couple of aftermarket fluids to meet a majority of the demands. Today Dexron III/Mercon fluids account for less than 40% of the aftermarket use and falling. OEM specific fluids with special requirement are in place and growing.

Products such as Mercon V, Mercon LV, Dexron VI, ATF T-IV, SP-IV, Matic -S, and Matic-D, Toyota ATF-WS, Honda DW, Diamond SP-IV and others are all designed for specific transmission requirements and unique configurations. Even Eaton has specific fluids for their bus and truck automatic transmissions.

So why are there so many ATFís now? Blame it all on the Clean Air Act, all the different transmissions and corresponding fluids are a result of an effort to improve fuel economy and comply with the government regulations. Now there are a number of new transmission configurations and each has their own fluid requirements. Designs such as Dual Clutch, Continuously Variable, Semi-Automatic, Clutch Free and others, all require different fluid formulations to work properly. Most of these new transmissions are on cars, small trucks, and hybrids.

There are several marketers that claim to have a Universal ATF that will work in any transmission. These fluids may not provide adequate protection and could do more harm than good. Additionally, different transmissions have different viscosity and shear stability specifications, one fluid cannot meet them all. For example, Dexron VI has a 6.4 cSt at 100C max., while ATF +4 has a 7.3 to 7.8 cSt at 100C range and Mercon V has a 6.8 cSt at 100C min. ergo one fluid cannot work in all three of these applications.

There is also a concern that fast lube and independent repair shops may not have current knowledge as to the needs and requirements of modern equipment. The SWEPCO Sales Brochure for 711 and 712 indicate what application it can be used in, specifications it meets or exceeds, and what fluids it can replace. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that different transmission fluids are not mixed as the additives may not be compatible, ergo may cause more harm than good, and always follow label directions. SWEPCO 714 can be used in vehicles older than 2000 (except where Ford type ďFĒ fluid is required) and in current off-highway equipment.
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