Automatic Transmission Fluid FAQs

We answer frequently asked questions about automatic transmission fluid, like, when does it need to be changed in my VW?


Does it matter which fluid I use?

Yes. Transmission fluid has very specific requirements. It needs to function at widely varying temperatures without changing viscosity; it needs to not wear down the clutch components; and it needs to maintain lubrication over a long period of time (while simultaneously not allowing the clutch to slip). If you use a different fluid that doesn’t meet specifications, you could risk damaging your transmission.     For example, the fluid that works in the older 01M transmission is unsuitable for the DSG (direct-shift gearbox). The newer components are too sensitive, and the older fluid is essentially too coarse and viscous.


Which fluid is the best for my car?

The fluid that meets VW specification for your transmission. If you’re using off-brand transmission fluid (not OEM), be absolutely sure it meets the specification. If it doesn’t, or you can’t find the necessary info, don’t risk it. When in doubt, buy OEM.


Are OE and aftermarket fluids the same?

Sometimes they are, and sometimes they’re not, and it’s difficult to tell. Often times the same fluid is rebottled under different brands. Fluids generally are bottled with listed specifications, such as MERCON specification, which requires listing characteristics such as color, viscocity, oxidation, etc. Sometimes, though, that rebranding doesn’t include all the necessary details, and it becomes difficult to figure out exactly how a fluid will interact with your transmission. There may not be any indication if the manufacturer changed something important about the fluid to accommodate their particular transmissions.


Why does the DSG Transmission have a specific change interval?

The Direct-Shift Gearbox contains two clutch packs with four, interwoven clutches in each. Because of the sensitivity of these clutches and other small components, all in a limited amount of space, the fluid used needs to be very clean and fresh. So the change interval is a lot shorter than you see in other automatic transmissions. 


What is a “Lifetime” Fill? Does that really mean I don’t need to change my fluid for the entire life of the car?

Fluids wear out and lose integrity over time. Transmission fluid is no different. If you want to ensure that the transmission on your vehicle continues to function well, it’s in your best interest to change the fluid. Many TDI drivers have reported costly transmission problems caused by not changing the fluid. Also, TDIs end up lasting much longer than other cars on the road. It’s likely that VW never anticipated their cars to last this long, and simply designed their service intervals with the type of original owner in mind who only keeps a car for around 100,000 miles and then trades it in. Many people recommend changing the fluid every 40,000 miles, regardless of what the manual says.


What is Tiptronic?

Tiptronic transmissions are automatic transmissions that allow you to shift gears as though the car were a manual, using paddle shifters on the wheel or a modified shift lever. Some VW TDIs and Audis came with this transmission as an option. They require a special type of fluid.


When should I replace my transmission fluid?

This varies. See the list below, which contains information about proper fluid and fluid change intervals for all the VWs and Audis we service:

Volkswagen and Audi Diesel Automatic Transmission Fluid Change Intervals



Replacement Interval

Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF)

OE Part Number: G052162A2

VW Spec  TL 52162


  • - Golf TDI MkIV (A4 chassis) w/ ALH engine (1999-2003)
  • Jetta TDI MkIV (A4 chassis) w/ ALH engine (1999-2003)
  • New Beetle TDI (A4 chassis) w/ ALH engine (1998-2003)
  • Passat TDI (B5.5 chassis) w/ BHW engine (2004-2005)


Lifetime Fill.

 Equivalent to Esso (now Mobil)  LT 71141.


Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) For Tiptronic (electronic gear shifting).

OE Part Number: G052990A2


  • Golf TDI MkIV (A4 chassis) w/ BEW engine (2004-2006)
  • Jetta TDI MkIV (A4 chassis) w/ BEW engine (2004-2005)


Lifetime Fill.

OEM Direct-Shift Gearbox Fluid

 OE Part Number: G052182A2


DSG Fluid by Liqui-Moly

OE Part Number: G052182A2

Manufacturer's Part Number: 3640





A3 TDI (8P) w/ 2.0L CJAA Engine (2009-2014)



  • Beetle TDI w/ 2.0L CJAA (2013-2014)
  • Golf TDI MkVI w/ 2.0 CJAA engine (2010-2014)
  • Jetta TDI MkV (A5 chassis) w/ 1.9 BRM engine (2005-2006)
  • Jetta TDI MkV (A5 chassis) w/ 2.0 CBEA/CJAA engine (2009-2010)
  • Jetta TDI MkVI w/ 2.0 CJAA engine (2011-2014)
  • New Beetle TDI (A4 chassis) w/ BEW engine (2004-2006)

Passat TDI (NMS Chassis) w/ CKRA Engine (2012-2014)

Every 40,000 miles.

Automatic Transmission Fluid ATF (6-Speed Touareg)

OE Part Number: G055025A2


Fuchs Titan ATF

OE Part Number:  G055025A2

Manufacturer's Part Number: ATF 4400






  • Touareg TDI (7L Chassis) w/ 225HP 3.0L CATA Engine (2009-2010)
  • Touareg TDI (7L) w/ V10 BKW Engine (2004-2005)
  • Touareg TDI (7L) w/ V10 BWF Engine (2006-2007)


Lifetime Fill.

Automatic Transmission Fluid ATF (Touareg and Q7)—For the AISIN 8 Speed Automatic Transmission


OE Part Number: G055540A2





  • Q7 TDI w/ 3.0L V6 CATA Engine (225HP) (2009-2012)
  • Q7 TDI w/ 3.0L V6 CNRB Engine (240HP) (2013-2014)


  • Touareg TDI (7P) w/ 3.0L CATA Engine (225HP) (2011-2012)
  • Touareg TDI (7P) w/ 3.0L CNRB Engine (240HP) (2013-2014)


Lifetime Fill.