How to Change or Flush Transmission Fluid VW DIY for MKIV Jetta Golf GTI Beetle

Volkswagen Transmission Flush DIY

Hello friends, this is a quick and easy diy showing you how to change out your "lifetime" VW transmission fluid. I think it was around $130 for my local dealership to do it, but including the 17mm allenhead socket you should be able to get the job done for about $20 doing it yourself. This should be the same on all manual MK4 VW or new beetles, I know my 1.8t and the 2.0slow are identical for this diy and I believe the VR6 is the same under there. This DIY will not work if your car is automatic, for automatic cars you need to warm them up to a certain temperature and do all this other special stuff (that's what you get for not learning how to drive a real car).

To change out the fluid you will need your car to be level, which can be accomplished the hard or easy way to get under there. If your car is at stock height or just a little lower then you can get to the drain plug just by parking in front of a curb that drops off/slopes down. Our parking lot slopes down so I just park on a speed bump and it keeps my car level. If you feel like taking your bumper off you can get to the drain plug and your dogbone mount nice and easy if you feel like changing out your bushings as well. If you want to do it the hard way you can jack up all four corners of the car and put it on jack stands.

Tools for the job

  • Socket Wrench
  • 4" extension (optional)
  • 17mm Allenhead Socket or 16mm Tamperproof Triplesquare Socket (depending on car)
  • Transmission fluid
  • Funnel and hose

You can buy the 17mm socket in a set (4mm-17mm) for around $10 from Harbor Freight part #67880 (the 17mm on that set is a 1/2" drive). If you just want the individual socket the cheapest I've been able to find it is Autozone for $2.99 part #25285 (made for a 3/8" drive).

Some cars use a 16mm Tamperproof triplesquare socket which is a bit of a specialty socket so if your car requires one it will probably end up costing around $10-$20 from ebay. I'm not sure if there is any rhyme or reason behind what cars use what drain plug but I believe 2003 and up use this plug. The part number on the socket I have is XZN16MH. Searching "xzn 16" including shipping it will be $15 on amazon.

If you don't have a funnel and hose then you can pick up a set of funnels at the dollar store and some cheap rubber hose at Ace Hardware for about 30 cents a foot.

Transmission Fluid/Oil. Ultimately the choice is up to you. Our transmission do contain brass parts and some oils will eat them up. So you want to use an oil that is safe on the brass "yellow safe fluid". I personally recommend Pennzoil Synchromesh and have used it on all my dubs without issue. You will need to buy two bottles at about $7 each from any autoparts store. Others have also recommended Redline MT-90 which I have never tried. If you want the oem oil you can pick it up at the dealership for about $20 a liter.

Trans Flush DIY Steps

Your car should be level and ready to be worked on at this point. I like to spray a little Liquid Wrench around the drain plugs to help loosen up the build up of dirt and grim around the the treads. Then clean the area with an old (or your roommates) toothbrush.

  • Unscrew the fill plug first. The last thing you want to do is drain the oil and find out that you can't fill it back up. If you get on the ground and look up under the bumper on the drivers side you will see the fill plug. There is a curved hardline (power steering line?) that on some cars gets in the way and you will need an extension on your socket wrench on most you should be able to get to it just fine. Loosen the plug, pull it out and give it a nice clean.
  • The drain plug is located on the drivers side just next to the dogbone/pendulum mount and can be easily reached from the front of the car. Get the plug nice and loose so the fluid is dripping and get your container ready to catch the fluid. They sell low wide oil bowls at autozone for $2.99 which look like they would work great for this job but I'm to cheap to buy one. Fully unscrew the plug with your fingers and just let it drop into the container. This stuff stinks so wear gloves or try not to get it all over your hands and arms.
  • I'd give it enough time to completely drip out of there, maybe 20-30 minutes or so. Fish the drain plug out of the oil with a stick or something and give it a good clean. Screw it back it with your fingers. The bentley manual does not specify how much torque you are supposed to tighten the plug with. I tightened it till it was snug around 22 ft-lb.
  • From the top of your engine run the hose down to the fill hole and stick it in. If you have someone to help you it is best if you can look under the car while someone else pours in your oil. You can fully pour in one bottle on the second you will use about half (at least that's the case with my 32oz bottles of Synchromesh). Once it starts dripping out of the fill hole pull out the hose and screw the plug in with your fingers and tighten with your socket wrench.
  • Standard 5-speed mkiv's will use 2.1 liters, if you have a 6-speed 20th or GLI it will require 2.4 liters to fill.

Boom! Shananana! You're done! Drive that bad boy around and enjoy your smooth shifts. If you want to be polite pour some cat liter on the huge oil spill you probably just made in the parking lot.

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Comments 4 comments

michael 3 years ago

arent you supposed to jack up the car? i can't see the plug without jacking it up but then it wont be even with the floor


Writen4u profile image

Written4u 3 years ago Author

Michael- The answer is in the first section.


kev 2 years ago

where on the top of the engine do you place the funnel


Writen4u profile image

Written4u 2 years ago Author

To rest you can place the funnel anywhere. while pouring the fluid in hold the funnel in your hand.

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