Maintaining your Ford Focus in top condition is essential to enjoy a smooth and trouble-free driving experience. One often-overlooked aspect of vehicle maintenance is the manual transmission fluid (MTX) change. Regularly changing the MTX fluid is vital to ensure your Ford Focus’s manual transmission system operates at its best. In this comprehensive guide, we will explain the importance of MTX fluid change, when and why you should do it, and provide you with a step-by-step tutorial to carry out this essential maintenance task.
- 1 Why Is MTX Fluid Change Important?
- 2 Signs That Your Ford Focus Needs MTX Fluid Change
- 3 The Importance of Regular MTX Fluid Change
- 4 Step-by-Step Guide for Ford Focus MTX Fluid Change
- 5 Conclusion
Why Is MTX Fluid Change Important?
Your Ford Focus’s manual transmission system relies on MTX fluid to function correctly. The primary roles of this fluid include lubrication, cooling, and maintaining the integrity of the transmission system. Over time, the MTX fluid can become contaminated, lose its viscosity, and break down, leading to various problems, including:
1. Smooth Gear Shifting:
Fresh MTX fluid is essential for smooth gear shifting. Old or contaminated fluid can result in grinding or difficulty in shifting gears.
2. Reduced Friction:
MTX fluid minimizes friction between the transmission’s moving parts. When the fluid breaks down, friction increases, causing wear and tear on the transmission components.
3. Noise Reduction:
Properly maintained MTX fluid helps reduce noise in your transmission system. Neglecting the fluid change can lead to increased transmission noise.
4. Prolonged Transmission Life:
Regular MTX fluid changes extend the lifespan of your transmission system. It prevents unnecessary wear and tear on its components.
Signs That Your Ford Focus Needs MTX Fluid Change
Before we dive into the process of changing your MTX fluid, it’s essential to recognize the signs indicating the need for this maintenance task. Be on the lookout for the following indicators:
1. Grinding Noise:
If you hear grinding noises when shifting gears, it’s a strong signal that your MTX fluid may need replacing.
2. Difficulty Shifting Gears:
If you find it increasingly hard to shift gears or the gear shifter feels stiff, your MTX fluid could be deteriorating.
3. Fluid Contamination:
Inspect the MTX fluid. If it appears dirty, contains debris, or has a burnt smell, it’s a clear sign that the fluid needs replacement.
Transmission slippage occurs when you experience surges of power without corresponding acceleration or a slipping feeling when shifting gears. This can indicate a potential MTX fluid problem.
The Importance of Regular MTX Fluid Change
To maintain your Ford Focus’s optimal performance, adhering to the recommended MTX fluid change intervals is crucial. The frequency of MTX fluid changes depends on your driving habits, but generally, it’s recommended every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Here’s why adhering to these intervals is essential:
1. Transmission Longevity:
Regular MTX fluid changes help extend the lifespan of your transmission system, preventing the need for costly repairs or replacements.
2. Enhanced Performance:
Fresh MTX fluid ensures your manual transmission system operates smoothly, providing better acceleration and fuel efficiency.
3. Prevents Costly Repairs:
Neglecting MTX fluid change can lead to severe transmission issues, which can be expensive to repair. Regular maintenance helps avoid these costly repairs.
Step-by-Step Guide for Ford Focus MTX Fluid Change
Changing the manual transmission fluid in a Ford Focus is pretty simple, just follow the procedures. This article applies to all Ford Focuses, since it is for the MTX-75 manual transmission. It should also work on other MTX-75 equipped vehicles such as the Ford Contour. The owners manual calls for this procedure to be performed every 100,000 mi. Although more frequent change intervals are not a bad idea. Through the course of the manual transmission’s life, metallic parties will build up in the fluid from natural wear, these metallic particles is what causes bearing wear and eventual failure.
Required tools & materials
- Jack & jack stands.
- Drain pan.
- 8mm hex key.
- Funnel w/ tubing (preferred).
- 2.1 quarts of your favorite, fully synthetic MTX fluid.
- The factory spec calls for XT-M5-QS.
- For this example, BG Synchro Shift II, fluid was used. It is high quality and improves the shifting of a transmission. Available online or at Mitsubishi dealerships.
- Raise the vehicle up with a jack, and place it on jack stands. Accessing the back of the transmission for draining the fluid is not possible otherwise.
- Using your 8mm hex key, check to make sure you can loosen the fill plug. Crack it loose, but don’t unscrew it.
- On the left side of the transmission, just in front of the rear motor mount, the drain plug resides. Use the 8mm hex key and unscrew it.
- After the fluid has completely drained (approx 5-10 mins), tighten the plug back on. Make sure it is pretty tight but not to the point of stripping the threads. The last thing you’d want is your manual transmission fluid leaking out, leading to failure.
- Now use the funnel and tubing to fill the transmission from the fill hole. Make sure you use 2.1 quarts. Yes, that means having to buy three.
- Tighten this plug down the same as the drain plug, lower the car.
While the factory spec used to be ATF fluid, it’s viscosity does not last very well in such an environment and it does not shear very well. Therefore it has been made obsolete for the MTX-75 transmission and replaced with XT-M5-QS which is available at Ford Dealerships. Another great alternative is Torco oil, available by order form torcousa.com. They manufacture a wide variety of lubricants for any application, and the engineering team is friendly and very helpful if any help is required on choosing the right oil.
Regular maintenance, such as changing the MTX fluid, is crucial to ensure the longevity and performance of your Ford Focus. By following this comprehensive guide, you can carry out the MTX fluid change efficiently, preserving the health of your manual transmission system.
Always refer to your Ford Focus manual for specific guidelines and use genuine Ford-recommended fluids and parts for optimal results. Stay proactive in maintaining your vehicle, and enjoy a smooth and responsive driving experience with your Ford Focus. Regular MTX fluid changes are a small investment that pays significant dividends in terms of vehicle performance and longevity.