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How to Change the Transmission Fluid in a 48RE

Luke is a college graduate and student athlete. He has been a car enthusiast since age 9 and continues to share his expertise on cars.


If you own a Dodge Ram 2500 truck, you probably know that it has a 48RE transmission in its drivetrain. A transmission is one of the essential components of the powertrain because it is what ensures your truck moves efficiently through the gears. Inside the transmission system are complex parts that move electronically and hydraulically against each other. A lubricant fluid is added to the system to ensure that these parts move swiftly and with less friction. The fluid also reduces wear and tear of the internal components, therefore extending the transmission’s lifespan.

Although most car manufacturers recommend changing transmission fluid after a specific period, it is important to check the condition of your Dodge Ram’s 48RE transmission fluid regularly. It should be at least checked every 30,000 miles and maybe even changed then depending on how much towing/ heavy hauling you do.


How to Know When to Change Transmission Fluid

You don’t need to wait until your truck is stuck in the middle of the road in order to service its transmission. Any small, unusual thing in the transmission can grow and cause too much damage to repair. Therefore, it is always good to work on the transmission fluid as soon as the first problem shows up. Signs that your Dodge Ram 2500 Truck may require a fluid change include:

  • Frequent slipping of gears
  • Delays in shifting gears
  • Grinding sounds in the transmission
  • Lunging or surging while in motion
  • Stalling out

Changing your own truck’s transmission fluid could be challenging, especially if you are doing it for the first time. This is because you may be required to lie under the car while straining to empty the transmission. Sometimes, a little mistake with the pan may get your face soaked in the black fluid. Therefore, you need to be very careful.

The benefits of changing your truck’s fluid by yourself outweigh the challenges. First, you will save a lot. Since you will be providing the labor, you will only need to spend on a new fluid. Secondly, it saves your time because you won’t have to drive to a repair shop. Carrying out the procedure won’t take you more than 30 minutes. Lastly, who doesn’t want to add some more miles to their truck’s lifespan?


Items You Need to Change Dodge Ram 2500 Transmission Fluid

Before you start changing your truck’s transmission fluid, ensure the following items and equipment are available. If you are missing any, you can borrow them from a repair shop or buy them from the nearest tools’ outlet.

  • 8mm socket, ratchet, and extensions
  • Drain pan
  • Catch pan
  • Gloves
  • Safety Glass
  • Brand-new transmission fluid
  • Rags
  • Car ramp/ Jack stands
  • Scrapper
  • Wheel locks
  • Brake cleaner

Preparing to Change the 48RE Transmission Fluid

Before kicking off the whole fluid changing process, you have to ensure your truck is raised from the ground. Car ramps offer a better elevation. However, if you lack them, you can use jack stands. After that, place wheel locks behind each tire to maintain your raised car in position.

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One mistake that most people make is proceeding to change the fluid when the temperatures of the car engine and that of transmission are still high. After raising your car, let the two parts cool to their normal temperatures. You can change the transmission fluid efficiently when it is still warm and with the engine cooled down.


How to Remove the Old Transmission Fluid

Should we say that this is the most challenging part? Of course, if you do it carefully, you will find it easier. First, you need to locate the transmission pan by checking directly beneath the engine. It is here that the fluid is kept.

After you have found the transmission pan, place a catch pan below it in readiness to collect the old fluid. Then, go ahead and loosen the bolts around the pan. Be careful not to mess yourself because the fluid starts flowing out immediately the bolts are loose. Remove only bolts from one side of the pan. Let the fluid flow out from that side completely before loosening the whole transmission pan.


How to Add New Fluid to Your Truck’s Transmission

The new transmission fluid should land on a clean pan. Therefore, use rags to wipe off any dirt and residue left by the old fluid. While doing this, you may come across some metal debris, which is normal in any transmission. However, too much metal debris could be an indicator of a severe issue within your truck's transmission system that needs checking.

After cleaning the pan, the next step should be removing traces of the old gasket from the pan’s edges. You can do this using your hand and scraper for more rigid sections of the gasket. When using the scrapper, be careful not to scrape the transmission pan’s surface. For better results, while cleaning, you can use a brake cleaner.

Finally, it is time to add the new transmission fluid. Place a longneck funnel in the dipstick tube and pour your newly bought transmission fluid. The amount should be slightly less than that of the old fluid you removed. After that, start your truck’s engine and let it stay in idle mode for about a minute.

Next, apply service brakes and shift your gear through all ranges until it ends in the park gear mode. After this process, confirm that the fluid level is at the required point of the dipstick. If it is below, add some more while taking caution not to overfill the transmission. Overfilling your truck’s 48RE transmission can result in problems such as delayed gear shifts. Finally, complete the whole procedure by running the engine until the fluid temperature comes to normal before rechecking the transmission fluid level.

Bottom Line

Knowing how to change your Dodge Ram 2500’s transmission comes with benefits that include saving your time and resources. With all the money and time you will save by performing the transmission fluid change yourself, you can spend on upgrades.

Bottom line is, if you start experiencing signs like delayed gear shifts or stalls while driving, check your truck’s 48RE transmission fluid. A dark fluid means your car needs a fresh refill. If the fluid is only dark, just follow the above procedure to change the fluid, if you are a beginner, you might find it challenging but just know it is well within your bounds to accomplish. In contrast, if there are metal particles in the transmission fluid once you drain it and you are experiencing issues with your transmission, you might need to replace your 48RE transmission. I recommend looking at for pricing information on since they have used and remanufactured transmissions available.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Luke Wilhoit

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