Hydraulic Fluid Vs Transmission Fluid

If you have ever taken your car to the mechanics or the garage for maintenance, you may have noticed that there are several types of fluids required to properly maintain a car. Each and every car maintenance fluid has a different objective or role to play.

When it comes to properly maintaining a vehicle, you will have to understand the work and importance of each of these vehicles. Both hydraulic fluid and transmission fluid are important for the well-being of a vehicle and must be used and changed appropriately when needed.

Hydraulic Fluid Vs Transmission Fluid

Many people often get confused between these two fluids, and in order to know about them, it is essential to understand the differences between the two fluids. In this guide, I’ll discuss the differences between hydraulic fluid Vs transmission fluid and several other factors associated with it.

What Is Hydraulic Fluid?

In a hydraulic system, energy has to be transferred properly and efficiently to make sure that the car runs smoothly. In the process of energy transfer, hydraulic fluid is used as a halfway to make sure that this energy transfer is successful. The majority of hydraulic fluids available in the market are based on mineral oil, while there are a few products or hydraulic liquids that are based on water.

What Does Hydraulic Fluid Do?

Hydraulic Fluid

When it comes to hydraulic fluid, the main purpose of using it is to ensure that the energy transfer to the hydraulic system is successful. However, the hydraulic fluid has several other functions other than energy transfers.

One of the major functions of hydraulic fluid is heat transfer. Machinery or parts under the hydraulic system often overheat and severely affect automobile performance output along with several internal parts.

Hydraulic fluid works as a medium in the hydraulic system and transfers the heat from the warm hydraulic system to a section that is cold in order to protect the system from damage caused by overheating. Hydraulic fluid also helps to remove any sort of pollutant along with water present in the hydraulic system.

Other than these, it also helps to lubricate the sensitive parts of the hydraulic system and prevents all types of damage caused by friction between the internal parts.

What Is Transmission Fluid?

The concept of transmission fluid is quite similar to the concept of hydraulic fluid, that is, to improve the performance of the car. While a hydraulic fluid is used to improve the hydraulic system of a car, the transmission fluid helps to improve the performance of both manual and automatic transmission of a car.

In simple terms, transmission fluid is an essential element that is typically used in the transmission of a car in order to make sure that the car runs smoothly on the road. Not only that, but it also helps to cool down the overheating parts of the car.

What Does Transmission Fluid Do?

Transmission Fluid

As discussed above, you can use transmission fluid in both manual and automatic transmission. The main function of transmission fluid is to make sure that the transmission of the car performs smoothly and also allows the car to run efficiently on the roads.

On the other hand, it also allows the shifting gears to work and change the gears effortlessly while preventing any damage caused by wear and tear. It also prevents the risks that cause the breakdown of the clutch in a car.

Not only that, but it also allows the transmission of the car and other parts to prevent damages caused by overheating by cooling down the parts and protecting them from pollutants, contaminants, and many more.

Comparing Hydraulic Fluid Vs Transmission Fluid

When it comes to the comparison between hydraulic fluid and transmission fluid, there are quite a few factors that can be discussed. These factors are:


If you talk about the most basic difference between these two types of fluids, then it is the functionality. The work of hydraulic fluid is to make sure that the energy transfer from the engine to the hydraulic system is successful while preventing any damage to the hydraulic system.

On the other hand, the transmission fluid makes sure that the clutch is functioning correctly and is not breaking down due to wear and tear or overheating. It also ensures that the shifting gears of the car work smoothly and do not get jammed when you change the gears.


The viscosity of the automatic transmission fluid is less compared to the viscosity of the hydraulic fluid. This allows the transmission fluid to work more efficiently under low temperature and pressure than hydraulic fluids. The working temperature of hydraulic fluids is much higher, which means that the viscosity remains unchanged within a wider range of temperature.


The major difference between transmission fluid and hydraulic fluid is the amount of detergent present in each of these fluids. In transmission fluids, the amount of detergent present in the fluid is much higher compared to that present in hydraulic fluids. The role of detergent in a fluid is to make sure that the particles do not form together and coat the internal parts of a system.

People Also Ask

Is Hydraulic Fluid The Same As Hydraulic Oil?

No, there is quite a big difference between hydraulic fluid and hydraulic oil. Over the years, I have seen car owners use these two terms interchangeably, but these two items are not the same. While hydraulic fluid works as a medium in order to successfully transfer energy from the engine to the hydraulic system, the work of hydraulic oil is to help in that energy transferring process.

Can You Use Hydraulic Fluid In A Transmission?

Transmission fluid is considered a type of hydraulic fluid, but there are quite a few major differences between the two types. There is a huge difference in the pressure and temperature requirements of these two fluids. So, if you can ensure that the requirement is close or similar in both conditions, you can use hydraulic fluid in the transmission.

Can Hydraulic Fluid Be Mixed With Transmission Fluid?

No, Both hydraulic fluid and transmission fluid are categorized under petrochemicals, but both of these types have different roles to play in a motorized vehicle. You can mix these two chemicals easily, but the result of this mixture will change the initial properties of both of the fluids and turn out to be a completely new or different chemical.

However, there is no certainty about whether this mixture will be good for your car or push it towards destruction.

Is tractor hydraulic fluid and transmission fluid the same?

No, tractor hydraulic fluid and transmission fluid are not the same. Transmission fluid is a lubricant that helps to protect the transmission from wear and tear, while tractor hydraulic fluid is a fluid that helps to power the tractor hydraulic system.

Can I Use Transmission Fluid for Hydraulic Fluid?

Yes, Transmission fluid can be used as a hydraulic fluid in some cases, but it is not recommended as a long-term solution. Transmission fluid is designed to lubricate and protect gears, not hydraulic components. Hydraulic fluid is designed to withstand high temperatures and pressures, and it will not break down or degrade as transmission fluid can.

Is Dexron 3 the Same as Hydraulic Fluid?

Yes, Dexron 3 is a type of hydraulic fluid that is commonly used in vehicles. It is similar to other types of hydraulic fluids, but it has a few specific characteristics that make it ideal for use in a vehicle transmission. For example, Dexron 3 is designed to resist foaming, so it can maintain its lubricating properties even when the system is under high pressure. Additionally, Dexron 3 has good anti-wear properties, so it can help extend the life of your hydraulic system.

Hydraulic Fluid Vs Transmission Fluid: Which Is Better?

The main difference between hydraulic fluid and transmission fluid is that the hydraulic fluid is used to transfer energy to run the hydraulic system successfully. On the other hand, transmission fluid is used to run the vehicle’s transmission system smoothly and perfectly.

As discussed in the guide above, there are quite a few differences when it comes to comparing hydraulic fluid vs transmission fluid. Both of these fluids are extremely important when it comes to the well-being or performance of an automobile.

While transmission fluid is categorized as a type of hydraulic fluid, it cannot be used entirely instead of hydraulic fluid. You do not have the option of choosing anyone when it comes to these fluids, as each of these fluids has its own role to play in a car.

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