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How To Spring Car Maintenance

Between bad road conditions and long idling times, winter driving causes a lot of wear and tear on your vehicle. Spring Maintenance is the best way to help your car recover. That's why we're providing step-by-step instructions for all the things you can do to get your baby back in shape:

  • Differential Fluid Change
  • Auto Transmission Fluid Change
  • Manual Transmission Fluid Change
  • Tune Up

If you have any questions or if you're unsure of anything, feel free to contact the Parts King. 

Getting started

Tools you'll need:

Differential Fluid Change

  • Drain pan
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Suction pump
  • Torque wrench
  • 3/8 ratchet
  • 3/8 extension
  • 3/8 socket set
  • Gasket scraper

Automatic Transmission Fluid Change

  • Drain pan
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Torque wrench
  • 3/8 ratchet
  • 3/8 extension
  • 3/8 socket set
  • Gasket scraper

Manual Transmission Fluid Change

  • Drain pan
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • 3/8 ratchet
  • 3/8 extension
  • 3/8 socket set

Parts you'll need

Differential Fluid Change

  • Specified fluid
  • Differential gasket
  • RTV silicone
  • Differential additive
  • Gasket remover

Auto Transmission Fluid Change

  • Transmission filter kit
  • Specified fluid
  • Gasket remover

Manual Transmission Fluid Change

  • Specified Fluid
  • Tune Up

Everything you need for this job can be found at Parts King.  It's better to have extra spare parts ready for anything that might need to be replaced. The last thing you want to do is go shopping when you have the car up on the jack.


When taking parts apart, be organized. Keep similar parts together in a safe place where they won't get lost and lay out parts in a way that will allow you to put them back in the same order.

Safety comes first


Every vehicle is different. When it comes to maintenance and repairs always follow the vehicle's owner's manual.


Make sure you have all of your tools and supplies before you begin – the last thing you want to do is go shopping when you have the car on the jack.


Safety should be your number one priority. Don't smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, or wear a necktie while working on the car. And watch out for hot objects, sharp instruments, hazardous materials and other potential safety hazards in and around your workspace. Always wear your safety glasses, a dust mask and latex gloves.


Don't work with a Philips when the job calls for a flat. Substituting tools can compromise your safety or your vehicle's performance.


Finally, when the fun turns to frustration or if the job requires specialized knowledge beyond your abilities, seek the assistance of a professional mechanic or installer. The last thing we want is someone getting hurt.

  1. Raise and support the vehicle securely, using jack stands.
  2. Position a drain pan under the differential. 

Remember - Grab all the tools, parts, rags, and other items that you'll need for the job before you climb under the vehicle.

  1. Drain the differential fluid. Some vehicles have drain plugs located on the differential; others don't. For a clean and easy way to drain the fluid from these vehicles use a suction pump and drain the fluid from the filler hole. On vehicles using a drain plug, once the fluid has completely drained, install a plug and securely tighten.
  2. If the differential has no leaks, and you have checked the drain hole for metal filings and have found none, skip to step 9.
  3. If a suction pump is unavailable, remove the differential cover plate. Start by removing the cover bolts on the lower half only, then loosen the cover bolts on the upper half. This will prevent the cover from coming off and oil from spilling all over. Pry the cover plate away from the differential at the bottom end. Let the fluid completely drain.
  4. Remove the differential cover plate and clean it free of all old gasket material. You will need a gasket scraper.
  5. Spray old gasket material with gasket remover and leave it on the cover and differential case. This will make the gasket much easier to take off.

NOTE - While the cover is off, check for any chipped gears or metal shavings in the gear oil.

  1. Wipe the cover plate flange and differential case flange with brake clean. Apply a thin coat of RTV sealant on the cover plate and press on the new gasket.
  2. Line the cover up to the differential housing and install the cover bolts. See your local PartSource for torque specifications.
  3. Fill the differential with the specified fluid until the fluid is level with the bottom of the plug hole. For limited slip differentials, the addition of limited slip differential additive to the gear oil will ensure the gear oil maintains the proper characteristics to allow the clutch plates to lock together under load and to release when the load is released. A hand pump works great for filling the differential.

NOTE - Ask the Parts King if you're not sure what fluid your vehicle takes, vehicle-specific print-outs show fluid specifications and capacities. 
Securely tighten the filler plug.

Before you start:


Remember that just like oil, your transmission fluid needs to be changed at specified km's.

  1. Make sure the engine is completely cooled. Transmission fluid stays hot just like engine oil.
  2. Raise and support the vehicle securely, using jack stands.
  3. Position a drain pan under the transmission.

Remember - Grab all the tools, parts, rags, etc, you'll need for the job before you climb under the vehicle. 


NOTE - On some vehicles, mounts or other hardware may have to be removed to gain access to the transmission oil pan.

  1. Remove the pan mounting bolts at the lowest point and then loosen the remaining bolts.
  2. Pry the transmission oil pan loose and drain the fluid.
  3. Remove the remaining pan mounting bolts.
  4. Clean the transmission oil pan. Make sure you get all of the old gasket material off the pan and transmission flange.
  5. Spray old gasket material with gasket remover and leave it on the pan and transmission flange. This will make the gasket much easier to take off.
  6. Remove the filter. There are a few different ways filters are mounted, see your local PartSource for free vehicle specific instructions.

NOTE - Make sure the gasket on the neck of the filter came off and is not still in the transmission.

  1. Install the new filter with a new seal on the filter neck (supplied in the filter kit).
  2. Wipe the transmission pan flange and transmission case flange with brake clean. Apply a thin coat of RTV sealant to the transmission pan and press on the new gasket.

  3. Line the transmission pan up with the transmission. Working around the pan, tighten the bolts a little at a time until the specified torque is reached. See your local PartSource for free print outs of vehicle specific torque specs.

  4. Remove all of the tools and other items from under the vehicle.

  5. Remove the jack stands and lower the vehicle.

  6. Fill the transmission with specified fluid and capacity.

NOTE - Ask the Parts King if you're not sure what fluid your vehicle takes.

  1. Start the vehicle. Run the gear selector through all gears and back to park.
  2. Check fluid level, fill to the cold mark.
  1. Raise and support the vehicle securely, using jack stands.

  2. Position a drain pan under the transmission.

Remember - Grab all the tools, parts, rags, etc, you'll need for the job before you climb under the vehicle

  1. Remove the drain plug located at the bottom of the transmission.

  2. Let all of the fluid drain from the transmission. Install the drain plug and tighten.

  3. Remove the filler plug from the side of the transmission. Fill the transmission with specified fluid until it drips out the filler hole.

    A hand pump works great for filling the transmission.

NOTE - Ask the Parts King if you're not sure what fluid your vehicle takes. Vehicle-specific print-outs show fluid specifications and capacities.

  1. Securely tighten the filler plug.

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