If you have a manual or stick-shift transmission and live in the Northern US or Canada, you may experience difficult shifting when you start out in cold weather. This common difficulty is not due to a design defect or mechanical problem with your transmission. It is due to inadequate transmission oil in your car or truck.
Why Do Conventional Transmission Oils Perform Poorly in Winter?
Most manual transmissions are filled with cheap conventional oil (otherwise known as petroleum or mineral oil) from the factory. Conventional oils tend to contain waxes and impurities that solidify in cold temperatures. That’s why your shifting performance is poor on cold mornings and normalizes as the transmission generates heat.
Synthetic Transmission Oil Fixes Difficult Manual Transmission Shifting in Cold Weather
Synthetic manual transmission oil is designed and tailor-made to strict specifications, so it does not contain components that solidify as the temperature drops. The precise design of synthetic transmission fluids creates a uniform molecular structure which also decreases friction in cold or hot weather. Oildepot’s AMSOIL synthetic transmission fluids flow in temperatures down to into the -50’s and -60’s (F), so winter gear selection is dramatically improved.
Not only does AMSOIL synthetic manual transmission oil improve winter gear shifting performance, it lowers friction for improved shifting year-round. These synthetic lubes also reduce wear, resist thinning in extreme heat and deliver long service life. Synthetic oils improve every performance characteristic over regular transmission oil.
Visit the handy Oildepot Vehicle Lookup Tool to find the correct AMSOIL synthetic transmission oil for your car or truck. Here are the most commonly specified manual transmission fluids.
This is the most commonly specified transmission oil for manual transmissions and transaxles* that require the API GL-4 specification. Despite the fact that it is a 75W-90, it boasts a stunning cold-pour-point of -54C (-65F)! Therefore, your car’s shifting will be buttery smooth on the coldest days. This a a very cost-effective upgrade to improve the operation of your manual transmission.
* A“transaxle” is a transmission that directly transmits power to the axles of the drive wheels such as in the case of front-wheel-drive cars. Manual transmissions are connected to a drive shaft that in turn transmits power to the axle of the drive wheels. This would be a common configuration in a rear-wheel-drive car. Transaxles and manual transmissions would share similar inner workings otherwise.
This synthetic synchromesh oil is a direct replacement for Honda/Acura MTF transmission fluid and is also commonly used in some GM, Chrysler, Jeep and other synchromesh transmission applications. The -46C (-51F) pour point allows for consistent wintertime shifting.
Some transmissions call for a GL-5 gear lube; the same type of gear lube used in differentials. AMSOIL Severe Gear Synthetic 75W-90 is part of AMSOIL’s high-end gear lube series and is formulated without compromise. Manual transmission service is a walk in the park for Severe Gear and a pour point of -48C (-54) means that winter shifting is effortless as well.
Many manual transmissions actually specify the use of an automatic transmission fluid. For these cars, we look to a full synthetic ATF from AMSOIL’s elite Signature Series label. The Signature Series Multi-Vehicle Synthetic ATF brings lower friction, resistance to extreme heat, long service life and a pour point down to -53C (-63F). Winter shifting difficulties will officially be a thing of the past once you switch to AMSOIL Synthetic ATF in your manual transmission.
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