Transmission Fluid

I was losing transmission fluid. I noticed this while driving uphill – the climb power just didn’t feel right. The Kia calls for SP-III fluid. While in a hurry, I took a guess and bought Dextron-III from the store, thinking that the “III” probably means it is equivalent to SP-III. I was wrong. This is very confusing because there are so many trade names. However, the back of the bottle should list all the compatible types.

The leak, however, was easy to identify. It was coming out of a flare fitting at the bottom of the radiator that somehow had come loose. But now I had to deal with that one quart of wrong fluid mixed in. It might not be serious, but just to be safe, I decided to drain as much of the fluid as possible to fill with the correct type.

On the Kia Rio, there is no drain plug on the oil pan. The recommended method is to remove the oil pan. But that was going to be a big pain. The simpler method, which I believe is just as effective, is to insert a plastic tube through the dip stick tube until it hits the bottom of the pan, and use suction to pull the fluid out. Using a hand pump, I got 3 quarts out. The capacity is 5.2 quarts. Even if you drop the oil pan, I don’t think it would have been possible to get more out, since about half of the oil is in the torque converter.

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