How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid in a Dodge Caravan


If you drive the Dodge Caravan under severe driving conditions, then you should change the automatic transmission fluid every 15,000 miles. However, you don't have to change the fluid as frequently if the car endures only average driving conditions. Check you owner's manual to confirm the maintenance schedule.

Things You'll Need

  • Jack stands or ramps
  • Drain pan
  • Socket wrench
  • Rubber hammer
  • Scraping tool
  • T25 Torx bit
  • New fluid filter and gasket
  • RTV sealant
  • Torque wrench
  • New transmission fluid

Drain the Transmission Fluid and Replace the Filter

  • Raise, support and level the van on jack stands or ramps. Place a drain pan that can hold at least 4 quarts of fluid beneath the transmission.

  • Employ a socket wrench to remove the retaining bolts on the fluid pan, except for the two on either end. Loosen the two bolts on the lower end of the pan. Gently pull down on the edge of the pan so that it separates from the transmission case. Let the fluid drain. You may need to tap the pan with a rubber hammer to separate the pan from the case.

  • Remove the last four bolts and the pan when the fluid finishes draining. Loosen the bolts a little at a time, allowing the remaining fluid to drain. Clean the pan and the magnet inside.

  • Scrape the old sealant from the pan flange with an appropriate scraping tool. Do the same on the mating surface of the transmission case.

  • Remove the two screws that hold the filter on the transmission with a T25 Torx bit and remove the filter. Look for the rubber filter or O ring between the filter and valve body and remove it.

  • Install a new transmission fluid filter and gasket. Using a torque wrench, tighten the mounting screws to 40 inch pounds.

  • Apply a thin, 1/8 inch bead of RTV sealant on the mounting flange of the fluid pan. Replace the fluid pan on the transmission and tighten the bolts to 165 inch pounds with a torque wrench. Return the van to the ground.

Replace the New Transmission Fluid

  • Pour 4 quarts of ATF PLUS 3 Type 7176 fluid into the filler tube using a funnel. Start the engine and let it idle for a minute or two. Apply the parking brake and the service brake. Move the gear selector through the gears and stop at "Park" or "Neutral."

  • Add enough fluid to bring the level to 1/8 inch below the "Add" indicator, if needed. Let the van run for another 10 to 20 minutes to allow the engine and transmission to reach a normal operating temperature.

  • Check the fluid level again to ensure it reached the "Hot" indicator on the dipstick. Add more fluid if needed and replace the dipstick in the filler tube. Turn off the engine.

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