Lincoln Nautilus Transmission Fluid Capacity

Launched in 2019, the Lincoln Nautilus swiftly carved its niche in the luxury midsize SUV market. A rebirth of the brand’s previously named MKX, the Nautilus is emblematic of Lincoln’s commitment to blend luxury with power, offering a seamless driving experience that has come to define the brand’s new generation of vehicles.

Positioned comfortably in Lincoln’s lineup between the smaller Corsair and the larger Aviator, the Nautilus captures a blend of sophistication and versatility. Its design is both modern and timeless, reflecting the brand’s pursuit of quiet luxury.

Beyond its aesthetics and powerful drivetrain, the longevity and smooth operation of the Nautilus, as with any vehicle, hinges significantly on regular maintenance—particularly of the transmission system.

The transmission fluid plays a pivotal role, acting not only as a lubricant for the intricate parts within the transmission but also as a coolant to prevent overheating.

Proper maintenance and understanding of this vital fluid can drastically impact the Nautilus’s performance, ensuring that the vehicle runs optimally and reduces the risk of premature wear or costly repairs.

For the Lincoln Nautilus owner or enthusiast, this guide is crafted to provide insights into the vehicle’s transmission fluid needs, emphasizing the importance of proactive care in preserving the refined performance that the Nautilus promises.

2020 Lincoln Nautilus

2019-Now Lincoln Nautilus Transmission Fluid Capacity And Transmission Fluid Type

The 1st Generation Lincoln Nautilus, introduced in 2019, showcases the brand’s pivot towards luxury SUVs tailored for an elevated driving experience. A vital part of ensuring this seamless experience revolves around understanding the transmission system intricacies.

Transmission Fluid Capacity: The Lincoln Nautilus’s transmission system is designed to hold approximately 12.2 quarts of transmission fluid, though this can vary slightly based on the specific model and optional equipment.

GearboxFluid capacityFluid type
2.7/2.0 L 8-speed 8F57Total fill: 12.2 quarts (11.5 liters)ULV

Recommended Fluid Type: For the 1st Generation Lincoln Nautilus, Lincoln recommends using the Mercon® ULV Automatic Transmission Fluid.

Mercon Ultra Low Viscosity Fluid Automatic Transmission Fluid for 2017 F-150
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Mercon Ultra Low Viscosity Fluid Automatic Transmission Fluid for 2017 F-150
  • Designed to deliver trouble-free, consistent performance
  • Right for your vehicle and lifestyle
  • Made from high-quality materials for ultimate durability
  • Manufactured to meet or exceed strict quality requirements

This fluid has been engineered to provide optimal protection against wear, resist thickening over time, and ensure smooth shifts, especially in the demanding start-stop urban environment.

Observations and Nuances about the 1st Gen Transmission System

  1. Advanced Automatic Transmission: The Nautilus boasts an 8-speed automatic transmission, providing a smooth drive and efficient power distribution across various driving conditions.
  2. Adaptive Capability: The transmission system is equipped with adaptive capabilities, adjusting the shifting dynamics based on the driver’s habits, ensuring a more personalized driving experience.
  3. Electronic Precision Shift: Unlike traditional gear levers, the Nautilus employs an electronic precision shift system, providing a more intuitive and ergonomic way to select drive modes.
  4. Cooling System: To manage the generated heat, especially in demanding conditions, the Nautilus transmission comes with an advanced cooling system. Regular checks on the transmission fluid can ensure that this cooling function remains optimal.
  5. Sealed System: The Nautilus’s transmission is designed as a nearly sealed system, implying fewer routine fluid changes than older models. However, this doesn’t negate the importance of periodic checks, especially if you notice any anomalies in transmission behavior.

Understanding these nuances ensures that you can cater to the unique needs of the Nautilus’s transmission system, offering the vehicle the care it deserves to function at its best.

Signs Your Transmission Fluid Needs Changing

Ensuring that your Lincoln Nautilus performs at its peak involves being vigilant about its maintenance, particularly the health of its transmission fluid. Like the lifeblood of the transmission system, this fluid can degrade over time, and its failure to be replaced or topped up can lead to costly and potentially hazardous consequences. Here are the signs to watch out for:

  1. Slipping Gears: If you find your Nautilus unexpectedly changing gears or struggling to stay in gear, it could be a sign that the transmission fluid has degraded. Fresh fluid ensures consistent pressure, enabling smooth gear shifts.
  2. Unusual Noises: A healthy transmission system should operate relatively silently. If you begin to hear grinding or clunking noises when the vehicle is in gear, it may be an indicator that the fluid levels are low or that the existing fluid has lost its lubricating properties.
  3. Darkened Fluid: New transmission fluid typically has a translucent red hue. Over time, contaminants and wear can darken the fluid. A regular check using the dipstick can provide insights into its color. If the fluid appears brownish or black and has a burnt smell, it’s a telltale sign that a change is due.
  4. Rough or Delayed Shifts: If the Nautilus doesn’t transition between gears smoothly or experiences delays, especially from a stop, it could be a symptom of deteriorating transmission fluid.
  5. Transmission Overheating: Overheated transmission can often be attributed to old or insufficient fluid. If you notice a burning smell, it’s crucial to inspect the transmission system immediately.

Benefits of Proactive Maintenance vs. Reactive Repairs

  • Cost Efficiency: Regularly checking and changing the transmission fluid is undoubtedly more cost-effective than waiting for a major issue to arise. Reactive repairs, especially concerning the transmission system, can be hefty on the pocket.
  • Extended Vehicle Lifespan: Proactive maintenance ensures that the components of the transmission system remain in optimal condition, thereby prolonging the lifespan of the entire vehicle.
  • Enhanced Performance: Fresh transmission fluid guarantees smoother shifts, better fuel efficiency, and an overall superior driving experience.
  • Safety: Preventative care reduces the risk of unexpected breakdowns, which can be not only inconvenient but also dangerous, especially if occurring in high-traffic or remote areas.

DIY vs. Professional Service

When it comes to the care of your Lincoln Nautilus, particularly concerning the transmission fluid, you might find yourself torn between taking a DIY approach and seeking professional assistance. Both methods come with their merits and potential pitfalls. Here’s a comparison to guide your decision:

DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Approach:


  1. Cost Savings: One of the main draws of the DIY approach is the potential to save money. You’ll primarily be spending on the transmission fluid and any necessary tools, sidestepping labor costs entirely.
  2. Knowledge Gain: Delving into your vehicle’s mechanics can be a rewarding learning experience. You’ll develop a deeper understanding of your Nautilus’s operations and its needs.
  3. Control: Handling the task personally means having control over the quality of materials used and the process itself.


  1. Time-Consuming: For someone unacquainted with the procedure, changing transmission fluid can be a lengthy endeavor.
  2. Risk of Errors: Without the proper expertise, there’s the potential risk of making errors, which could end up causing more harm than good.
  3. Lack of Specialized Equipment: Some tasks might require specialized tools or machinery, which the average car owner might not possess.

Professional Service:


  1. Expertise: Professionals possess the knowledge and experience to ensure the job is done right the first time.
  2. Convenience: You simply drop off your Nautilus and pick it up once the service is completed. This saves you the hassle and time of doing it yourself.
  3. Comprehensive Checks: Along with the fluid change, professionals often conduct a thorough check of related components, spotting potential issues that might be missed in a DIY context.


  1. Costlier: Professional services come with labor costs, making them typically more expensive than the DIY approach.
  2. Potential Upselling: Some service centers might attempt to upsell additional services that might not be immediately necessary.

Brief Overview of the DIY Process:

  1. Vehicle Preparation: Elevate the Nautilus using ramps or jacks, ensuring it’s safely secured.
  2. Draining Old Fluid: Locate the transmission pan and carefully remove the drain plug, allowing the old fluid to flow into a catch pan.
  3. Replace the Filter: Once drained, it’s a good practice to change the transmission filter to ensure optimal flow and cleanliness.
  4. Refill with New Fluid: Using the vehicle’s dipstick tube or designated fill port, add the new transmission fluid. Ensure you’re using the type recommended for the Nautilus and avoid overfilling.
  5. Check Levels: After refilling, start the vehicle and let it run for a few minutes, cycling through gears to circulate the fluid. Turn off the engine and check fluid levels with the dipstick, adding more if necessary.
  6. Dispose of Old Fluid Responsibly: Old transmission fluid should be disposed of at designated collection centers or recycling facilities.

Remember, while DIY can be rewarding, it’s crucial to be aware of your comfort and expertise levels. If you’re ever in doubt, seeking professional advice or assistance is always a good idea.

Cost Implications

Maintaining the Lincoln Nautilus involves costs, especially when considering the transmission system’s well-being. Here’s what you can expect when considering a transmission fluid change:

Average Costs: For the Lincoln Nautilus, the average cost for a transmission fluid change can range between $150 to $250. This price typically includes the fluid itself, a new filter if needed, and labor.

Variables That Might Affect the Overall Price:

  1. Location: Depending on where you live, prices can vary. Larger cities or areas with a high cost of living might charge more for services.
  2. Dealership vs. Independent Mechanic: While dealerships offer specialized knowledge and genuine parts, they might charge a premium compared to local mechanics.
  3. Type of Fluid Used: Premium or specialized transmission fluids can be pricier than generic or multi-use ones.
  4. Additional Services: While you’re getting the transmission fluid changed, mechanics might suggest other maintenance services. While some might be necessary, always ensure they’re not superfluous add-ons to hike up the bill.

Lincoln vehicles, including the Nautilus, have been engineered to specific standards, ensuring optimal performance and longevity. This precision extends to the transmission fluid used.

Importance of Adhering to Lincoln’s Fluid Specifications:

  1. Optimal Performance: Lincoln has selected the transmission fluid type for the Nautilus based on extensive research and testing. Using the recommended type ensures that the vehicle operates as intended, offering smooth shifts and reliable performance.
  2. Increased Longevity: Using the correct fluid can significantly extend the lifespan of the transmission system, decreasing wear and tear on its components.
  3. Warranty Compliance: If your Nautilus is still under warranty, using non-recommended fluids might void it, leaving you without the safety net of covered repairs.

Risks Associated with Alternative, Non-recommended Fluids:

  1. Reduced Efficiency: Non-specific fluids might not provide the same level of efficiency, leading to rough shifts or decreased fuel economy.
  2. Increased Wear: The wrong fluid can accelerate wear on the transmission’s internal components, potentially leading to costly repairs or replacements.
  3. Potential Damage: In worst-case scenarios, using the wrong fluid can cause significant damage, resulting in total transmission failure.
  4. Contamination: Mixing two different types of fluids can lead to contamination, compromising the transmission system’s integrity.

Transmission Fluid Change Intervals

The transmission fluid is a crucial component in ensuring that your Lincoln Nautilus runs smoothly, transferring power from the engine to the drive wheels. But like all vehicle fluids, its effectiveness can diminish over time, making it essential to know when it’s time for a change.

The Lifespan of the Transmission Fluid in the Nautilus:

On average, the transmission fluid in modern vehicles like the Nautilus can last anywhere between 30,000 to 60,000 miles. However, the exact duration can vary based on several factors, such as driving habits, conditions, and the specific fluid used.

Manufacturer-recommended Change Intervals:

Lincoln recommends checking the Nautilus’ transmission fluid levels regularly, roughly every time you have an oil change. As for a complete fluid change, it’s typically advised every 30,000 to 50,000 miles, though you should always consult the owner’s manual or dealership for model-specific recommendations.

How Driving Conditions Can Alter These Intervals:

  1. City Driving: Regular city driving, with its frequent stop-and-go situations, can put more stress on the transmission, potentially leading to the fluid degrading faster.
  2. Towing or Hauling: If you use your Nautilus for towing or carrying heavy loads, it increases the strain on the transmission. This additional workload can cause the fluid to heat up more and degrade quicker.
  3. Frequent Short Trips: Driving for short distances doesn’t allow the transmission fluid to reach its optimal operating temperature. Over time, this can contribute to faster fluid breakdown.
  4. Extreme Climates: Driving in very hot or very cold conditions can also influence the lifespan of the transmission fluid. For instance, consistently high temperatures can cause the fluid to thin out more rapidly, reducing its effectiveness.
  5. Mountainous or Rough Terrain: Driving in areas with steep inclines or challenging terrains requires more from your transmission, which can, in turn, shorten the interval between necessary fluid changes.


Last update on 2024-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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