Automatic Transmission Fluid Training

ATF Sales Training Part 1

Welcome to Afton's ATF Sales Training




Basic Vocabulary

Industry Vocab


  • Often confused with aftermarket fuel additive, this is a general term used by our customers to describe non-OEM business

Genuine Oil

  • This oil is usually available at the dealers and used to service an OEMs vehicle. In ATF, many OEMs do not have general service fill programs so the only place to get Honda ATF for example, is at a Honda dealer. Several of Afton ATF customers are genuine oil suppliers.

Licensed ATF

  • Many of our own customer's ATF fluids are "licensed" by certain OEMs to use their trademarks. DEXRON VI and MERCON LV are great examples. Afton's CTS team can help customers obtain these licenses for their ATF fluid.

Tier Explanation

Tier Explanation

Tier 1

  • Those companies who directly supply OEMs are often referred to as tier 1. To be a tier-1 supplier requires a very high quality standard and supply security which is often audited by the OEM. Some of Afton's oil company customers are Tier 1 suppliers.

Tier 2

  • Afton is often a tier 2 supplier as we supply tier 1 oil companies with additives used to blend factory- fill ATF. As a tied 2 supplier we adopt many of the quality and security process' exhibited by tier 1 suppliers.

Tier 3

  • ZF and BorgWarner are two examples of tier 1 suppliers who supply either parts of transmissions or even whole transmissions to the OEM's. The supplier of oil to these manufacturers are tier 2, so Afton might be considered a tier 3 supplier.

Basic Hardware

Function of Transmissions

  • The design of the transmission is dependent on a large number of factors. These include:
    • Engine design, speeds and torque
    • Cost
    • Driving conditions
    • Vehicle intended use
    • Driver comfort
    • Efficiency targets
    • Vehicle size

Variety of Transmission Designs

  • Manual
  • Automated Manual
  • Step AT
  • DCT
  • CVT


Introduction Video

ATF Training Video

This video has been tailored for specific customers with individual logos and customized commentary.

Transmission Importance

Introduction Quiz

Why do our customers have so many SKUs related to ATF?

  • Many different ATFs are used in the market. Every vehicle requires a different ATF to operate efficiently
  • Balancing the number of ATFs in a portfolio with the desire for logistic simplicity is very difficult
  • You only need 4 transmission fluids - one for each type Manual, Step, CVT, DCT

Multivehicle ATF

Multivehicle ATF Overview

Multivehicle ATF

  • This section will cover the topic of multi-vehicle ATF.
    • A few words on nomenclature 
      • Universal
      • Multipurpose
      • Multivehicle

All of these mean different things to different people.

None of them mean much at all without clarification.

Multivehicle ATF Continued...

  • Afton promotes multivehicle ATF technology which allows customers to cover the largest portion of the ATF market based upon the vehicle population
  • There are two broad viscosity grades for step ATF today. These are around 6 centistokes and around 7 centistokes. (These are the viscosities of the ATF at 100 degrees Celsius)

Multivehicle Clarification

  • It is the 7 centistoke multivehicle ATF which is confusing and complicated. Different customers take different views.
  • For older GM and Ford vehicles which traditionally carried the now obsolete specifications, DEXRON III and MERCON
    • This is the lowest sector for our customers - uses low cost additive (such as HiTEC 3421) in lower cost group II base oil.
    • Often referred to as a "commodity by our customers"
  • For these same older vehicles but also with improved friction stability and torque capacity, they are often also marketed to Japanese and other import vehicles. Afton's product, HiTEC 3418M, is often promoted for this application.
  • To complicate matters further, some customers require a MERCON V approval. This starts to raise the cost as this fluid's low temperature properties demands high levels of group III base oil.

Multivehicle ATF Dominates the USA Service Fill sector 1

GM 4-Speed Automatic Transmission

  • DEX/MERC  Multivehicle ATF
  • High Viscosity
  • Older 4-speed transmissions such as GM/Ford pre 2006
  • Data available in support of 90 ATF specs/claims
  • 2005 Focus

Multivehicle ATF Dominates the USA Service Fill sector 2

Ford 6-speed Automatic Transmission

  • Licensed Multivehicle ATF
  • Low Viscosity
  • New 6-speed transmissions including those calling for DEXRON VI & MERCON LV
  • Data available in support of 132 ATF specs/claims
  • 2014 CTS

Multivehicle ATF Dominates the USA Service Fill sector 3

Ford 5R55 Automatic Transmission

  • High Viscosity MERCON V
    • HiTEC 3401 series @ various treat rates
    • 7.0cSt group II/III
      • Low Brookfield
  • Certain older 4/5-speed Ford transmissions
  • Can be used as high viscosity multivehicle
  • Data available in support of 115 ATF specs/claims
  • 2003 Ford Explorer

A Glimpse into the Future

Wards Auto March 2017 Forecast

  • Afton OEM Positions will allow us to continue to bring our customers aftermarket solutions


CVT - Multifunctional Premium Fluid

Historically associated with small cars,

Today, Vehicles with CVT are no longer necessarily "small"

2018 Subaru Outback 175HP, CVT

2018 Honda Accord Sport 189-hp, 2.4-liter, 16-valve, DOHC I-VTEC 4-cylinder engine with Direct Injection


So it is important that the belt or chain does not slip on the pulley

  • Sustained durable & high friction is  needed (ATFs are not suitable)
  • Shorter drain intervals
  • Group III and shear stable VII bring better stability (and higher cost)

CVT Continued...

  • Continuously variable transmissions bring opportunity to our customers
    • Premium fluid (high margin)
    • Short drain intervals
    • Growing market (currently around 20% of new vehicles in the USA)
  • Afton is trying to think of ways customers can increase the margin of their ATF business. One way is to launch new premium fluids such as CVT
    • Afton's additive HiTEC 3435A is used to formulate service fill CVT fluid in group III base oil
    • There are no service fill specifications for CVTs, most owners go back to the dealer for service. As these vehicles are now coming out of warranty, the service fill sector is expanding.

CVT Opportunity

How best for our customers to capitalize on the CVT opportunity?

  • Expand the number of applications that the premium CVT product may be applied to
  • If just 10% of the vehicles using lower tier ATFs use the CVT product, then the premium market for our customer would double!
  • HiTEC 3488 is the first combination ATF/CVT technology which will allow our customers to consolidate ATF volume into the premium sector


  • The number of dual clutch transmissions in the US remains very small
    • Few European imports
  • In most cases, it may not be worthwhile for NA based customers to launch a DCT product.
  • In the event they do, the product HiTEC 3460 will serve the majority of transmissions. 
  • HiTEC 3460 is used in combination with a separate VII, HiTEC 5739 in group III base oils.

DCT continued...

Application of HiTEC 3460

  • VW (Audi, Seat, Skoda) 6-speed FWD
  • BMW Drivelogic 7-speed
  • Renault EDC 6-speed
  • Chrysler Powershift 6-speed
  • Ford Powershift 6-speed
  • Mitsubishi TC-SST 6-speed
  • Peugeot/Citroen DCS 6-speed
  • Volvo Powershift 6-speed
  • Bugatti Veyron
  • Borg Warner capable (approval can be sought for finished fluids0
  • These claims will cover >95% of the wet DCT's in the market

Multivehicle ATF Quiz

How can we best help our customers make more money in the multivehicle ATF sector?

  • Lower their additive price
  • Help them launch new products in the premium sector, and maximize the number of applications for these products
  • Get the customer licenses for all their ATF products that are currently not approved

Allison TES 295

Commercial Vehicles

  • Many of our customers have business in both the light duty sector as well as the heavy duty sector
  • Heavy Duty (or commercial vehicle) ATF is often overlooked as the industry tends to focus on the larger light duty market. However, there is a good business for our customers in the commercial vehicle ATF market which is one where Afton is a major additive supplier.
  • Customers often like to offer the transmission fluid in their portfolio so that they can secure the HDEO business at the fleet or municipality.

Commercial Vehicles Continued...

  • A few basics...
    • In North America the major truck manufacturers tend to use manual transmissions. These manual transmissions often act like automatics in that there is no stick shift for the driver to worry about. The gear shift is automated by a computer and a series of solenoids.
    • This automation brings efficiency (the vehicle is always in the right gear) and durability (no bad gear changes).
    • Volvo, Daimler (Freightliner) and Eaton all manufacture automated manuals (AMTs).
      • These applications are served by Afton's gear group

Commercial Vehicles Continued...

  • There are however, some true automatic transmissions used in the commercial vehicle market. In North America, Allison is the market leader, though Voith and ZF are also players.
  • The warranty on the transmission and the drain interval is tied using licensed ATF fluid, TES 295

Allison Specifics

Allison Specifics continued...

Allison TES 295 Approval

  • For many years there was only one fluid approved
    • TranSynd from BPCastrol
  • More recently ExxonMobil became approved
    • Mobil Delvac Synthetic ATF
  • And now Shell also has an approved product

Key Point

Key Point

Allison TES 295 Approval Continued...

Allison have recently announced that other oil marketers may now obtain an approval

  • Many of our customers, while not approved, promote products for use in Allison and other heavy duty automatic transmissions
    • Cannot sell to users where there is an Allison warranty
    • Municipal fleets often demand formal approval
    • Allison may take legal action against those misusing the "TES 295" nomenclature
  • The opportunity to get a formal approval is therefore very attractive
    • Allison is requesting that interested oil marketers contact them directly. There are NDAs to sign
    • Afton's Additive HiTEC 4014 will meet all the tests in the TES 295 specification
    • The cost and timing for the approval will be extraordinarily high. We plan to work with Allison to try to bring approvals to our customers, standby for more information soon!

Allison TES 295 and our Competition

  • We are aware that our competitors also claim to have a product capable of meeting Allison TES 295
  • There are many new players in our industry that may not know the long history of Afton at Allison
    • Some misinformation seems to be circulating
  • The tests in the TES 295 specification include some long full transmission durability testing compared to a reference. The reference is Afton technology
    • Our confidence behind HiTEC 4014 is very high
    • This additive already has ZF and Voith approvals

Commercial Vehicles Quiz

Why is there so much interest in Allison TES 295 approved transmission oils from our customers?

  • This is niche area and most of our customers will just ignore this sector
  • As long as you have some data, you can promote ATF into this sector - no worries
  • There is an important market for fluids with this formal approval


Survey Question

Did you find this sales training useful?

Survey Question

What could we do to make this training more engaging?

Survey Question

Which type of ATF training would you prefer?

  • Online training
  • Webex
  • ATF Class in Richmond

Survey Question

Would you like to see a customer friendly version of this online training?

  • Yes
  • No


Thank you for completing Afton's ATF Sales Training