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Acura RLX Transmission Fluid Capacity

Acura RLX Transmission Fluid Capacity

As an esteemed marvel in the luxury vehicle segment, the Acura RLX showcases the pinnacle of superior engineering and detailed craftsmanship. Not only is it loved for its sleek aesthetics and plush interiors, but it also stands out because of its exceptional performance, largely attributed to its highly efficient transmission system.

Ensuring the seamless operation of this system is a crucial yet sometimes overlooked component – the transmission fluid.

Transmission fluid in an Acura RLX, or any automobile for that matter, plays a pivotal role in maintaining the car’s health and longevity. It serves multiple purposes, such as lubricating moving parts to minimize friction and wear, cooling the transmission by carrying away heat and acting as a hydraulic fluid to enable gear shifts.

Keeping this fluid clean and at the right level helps in the smooth functioning of the transmission system, ensuring seamless shifts and optimum fuel efficiency.

However, like any other fluid in a car, transmission fluid is not impervious to degradation. Over time, the fluid can break down and lose its effectiveness due to heat, debris, and moisture. When this happens, the transmission can suffer from increased wear, erratic shifting, overheating, and in severe cases, complete failure. This underscores the importance of changing the transmission fluid regularly.

Acura, understanding the importance of maintaining optimal transmission fluid quality and levels, provides clear guidelines for their RLX model. The transmission fluid type, replacement intervals, and fluid capacity are meticulously outlined to help owners keep their RLX performing at its peak.

Regularly changing the transmission fluid, as per these guidelines, can help maintain the performance, fuel efficiency, and longevity of the car, ensuring a smooth and luxurious ride every time.

Acura RLX Transmission Fluid Capacity And Transmission Fluid Type

The Acura RLX requires genuine Acura ATF-DW1 or equivalent fluid. This fluid is specifically designed for use in Acura transmissions and will help to keep your transmission running smoothly and efficiently.

Acura RLX owner's manual

Synthetic fluid is also recommended for the Acura RLX. Synthetic fluid is more resistant to heat and oxidation than conventional fluid, and it can help to extend the life of your transmission.

2014-2017 Acura RLX Transmission Fluid Capacity

The Acura RLX, in its first generation, spanning the model years 2014-2017 (before restyle), boasts an impressive 6-speed automatic transmission. This finely-tuned system was designed to offer both efficiency and performance, achieving a delicate balance between the two. To keep this transmission functioning at its optimal level, it’s crucial to be aware of its transmission fluid capacity and to maintain the fluid at the recommended levels.

For the first-generation Acura RLX, the transmission fluid capacity is 3.3 quarts (3.10 liters) for a standard drain and fill procedure. This figure, however, does not reflect the total fluid capacity of the transmission system, which is about 7.6 quarts (7.19 liters).

The difference is that a typical drain and fill procedure will not remove all of the fluid in the system. Some fluid remains in the torque converter and the cooler lines, which is why the drain and fill capacity is less than the total capacity.

2014 Acura RLX

It’s important to note that while these are the recommended capacities, it is always crucial to use the vehicle’s dipstick to check the fluid level after a fluid change and before driving. Too much or too little fluid can harm the transmission, so it’s always best to confirm the level manually.

The fluid should also be inspected for color and smell. Fresh transmission fluid is typically clear red and has a slightly sweet smell. If the fluid is dark or has a burnt smell, it may need to be changed, even if it’s not yet time for the recommended change interval.

2018-2020 Acura RLX Transmission Fluid Capacity

In 2018 Acura stepped up its game with an RLX re-style that came fitted with a more advanced 10-speed automatic transmission. This upgrade not only brought improvements to the driving experience with smoother gear shifts and improved fuel efficiency, but it also changed the transmission fluid capacity.

In contrast to its predecessor, the new Acura RLX has a larger transmission fluid capacity due to the more complex transmission system. A standard drain and fill operation requires approximately 4.5 quarts (4.26 liters) of transmission fluid. For a total change, you would need 8.8 quarts (4.3 liters).

2020 Acura RLX

Yet, much like the first generation, not all fluid can be replaced in one go. Some fluid inevitably remains in parts of the transmission system such as the torque converter and the cooler lines.

When you consider the full transmission system, including these parts, the total transmission fluid capacity of the second-generation RLX is around 9.5 quarts (8.99 liters). Therefore, even though a typical fluid change might replace 4.5 quarts, there’s a larger amount of fluid in the system.

As always, it is crucial to validate the fluid level after a fluid change using the dipstick, before taking your RLX out on the road. Accurate fluid levels are vital for the optimal operation of your transmission. Furthermore, keep an eye on the fluid’s color and odor. Fresh fluid usually has a clear red color and a slightly sweet smell, while older fluid can darken and develop a burnt odor, indicating the need for a fluid change.

Transmission Fluid Type and How to Check Levels

Transmission fluid isn’t just a one-size-fits-all solution; each vehicle manufacturer often has a specific type of fluid that is optimized for the operation of their vehicles. For the Acura RLX, the recommended transmission fluid is the Acura ATF DM-1. This high-quality synthetic fluid is specially formulated to ensure optimal performance, longevity, and fuel efficiency.

To ensure that your Acura RLX maintains peak performance, it’s important to regularly check the level and condition of your transmission fluid. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  1. Warm up the Car: Before you check the transmission fluid, the car needs to be warmed up. This can be achieved by driving around for a few minutes. The fluid needs to be at its operating temperature for an accurate reading.
  2. Park on a Level Surface: Once the car is warmed up, park it on a level surface and apply the parking brake. The car should be running at idle during this process.
  3. Locate the Transmission Dipstick: The dipstick is usually located at the back of the engine compartment. It’s typically marked with a colored handle.
  4. Remove and Clean the Dipstick: Pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean using a lint-free cloth.
  5. Insert and Remove the Dipstick Again: Now insert the cleaned dipstick fully back into the pipe and then pull it out again.
  6. Check the Fluid Level: There will be two notches or lines on the dipstick, indicating the optimal fluid level. The fluid should be between these two lines. If it’s below the lower line, you need to add more fluid.
  7. Check the Fluid’s Color and Smell: Fresh transmission fluid is usually clear and has a reddish hue, with a slightly sweet smell. If the fluid is dark, murky, or has a burnt smell, it may need to be changed.

Remember, transmission fluid plays a vital role in the health and longevity of your vehicle. Regular checks can help identify potential issues before they become serious problems, ensuring your Acura RLX always performs at its best.

When to Replace Transmission Fluid in Acura RLX

Knowing when to replace your Acura RLX’s transmission fluid is as crucial as knowing its capacity. While the type of driving you do can affect the frequency of necessary changes, Acura provides guidelines to help ensure your RLX’s transmission continues to function optimally.

Under normal driving conditions, Acura recommends replacing the transmission fluid every 60,000 miles or every 3 years, whichever comes first. However, if your driving habits fall under the category of ‘severe conditions’, the recommended interval is shortened.

Severe conditions can include situations like frequent short trips (less than 5 miles), extreme temperatures (below -20°F or above 110°F), mountainous driving, or towing a trailer. In such cases, the fluid should be replaced every 30,000 miles or every 2 years.

However, these are guidelines, and actual replacement needs may vary. For instance, if you often drive in heavy traffic under hot conditions, you might need to replace the transmission fluid more frequently. On the other hand, if you mainly drive long distances at moderate speeds, less frequent changes might be required.

Regardless of your driving conditions, you should always keep an eye on the condition of the transmission fluid. Regularly check the level, color, and smell of the fluid using the method outlined previously. If the fluid appears dark, cloudy or has a burnt smell, it’s likely time for a change, irrespective of the mileage or time since the last change.

How to Change Transmission Fluid

Changing the transmission fluid in your Acura RLX is a somewhat involved process, but it can certainly be done if you’re comfortable with automotive DIY tasks. It is, however, crucial to note that if you are not entirely comfortable with this task, it’s best to have a professional handle it. If done incorrectly, it can cause damage to your vehicle.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to change the transmission fluid:

You’ll Need:

  1. Acura Automatic Transmission Fluid Type 3.1
  2. Wrench
  3. Drain pan
  4. New transmission fluid filter (optional)
  5. New drain plug washer
  6. Funnel


  1. Prepare Your Vehicle: Park your vehicle on a level surface, engage the parking brake, and warm up the engine. Once the engine has reached operating temperature, switch it off.
  2. Locate the Transmission Drain Plug: Underneath the car, locate the transmission drain plug. For safety, use jack stands or ramps if you need to elevate the car. Never rely solely on a jack.
  3. Drain the Fluid: Place a drain pan underneath the drain plug. Using a wrench, remove the plug and let the old transmission fluid drain out into the pan.
  4. Replace the Drain Plug Washer: While the fluid is draining, it’s a good time to replace the drain plug washer. This helps ensure a proper seal when you reinstall the plug.
  5. Reinstall the Drain Plug: Once the fluid has fully drained, reinstall the drain plug. Do not overtighten it, as this can damage the threads.
  6. Remove the Dipstick and Insert Funnel: Locate the transmission fluid dipstick under the hood, remove it, and insert a clean funnel into the tube.
  7. Refill the Transmission Fluid: Pour the new Acura Automatic Transmission Fluid Type 3.1 into the funnel. Be sure not to overfill – you’ll want to add enough to reach the “cold” mark on the dipstick.
  8. Check the Level: Start the engine and let it reach operating temperature. With your foot on the brake, shift the transmission through all the gears and then back to the park. Check the fluid level with the dipstick. The fluid level should be between the two notches or holes on the dipstick. If it’s low, add more fluid.

Remember to properly dispose of the old transmission fluid at a local recycling center or auto parts store. Old transmission fluid can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly.


About Thomas Buck

Thomas is our expert in the field of motor oils and lubricants. He worked for more than 15 years at the dealer service station and has the vast practical experience, so he gladly agreed to be the editor and co-author of our articles about motors and motor oils.

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