Type A transmission fluid vs Dexron: A Detailed Comparison

Both Type A and Dexron, as the name suggests, are types of transmission fluid that most people use in their vehicles. They are also the most popular and most common types of transmission fluid that are used worldwide. 

Choosing the right transmission fluid for your vehicle is a complicated process, but a decision that is not to be taken lightly. It is not really a clear choice all the time because both these types of transmission oils are both very well-received by users and mechanisms.

At the same time, picking the wrong transmission oil can ultimately lead to damaging your entire transmission. 

When it comes to choosing the right transmission oil for your vehicle, it is very important that you know how exactly they are different and what makes them the right one (or the wrong one) for your transmission. 

When it comes to quality, there is one important difference between Type A and Dexron transmission fluids: Type A transmission fluid was used in cars in the middle of the 1950s, whereas the Dexron type transmission fluids were first used in the mid-60s. Therefore, it can be said that Dexron is a newer type of transmission fluid that belongs to the first generation of automatic transmission fluids. 

However, both these types of transmission fluids are used for cards and vehicles that are equipped with the conventional automatic 4/6 speed transmission. These are not fluids that are suitable for other types of transmission including Dual Clutch and CVT transmissions. 

Another important difference between Type A transmission fluid and Dexron is that the latter is more stable comes with a hydrotreated base oil and is less reactive than the former. 

Type A Transmission Fluid vs. Dexron: A Detailed Comparison

To know how these two types are truly different from each other, we need to first know it details 

What is Type A Transmission Fluid?

Type A Transmission Fluid is more used in vintage cars, i.e. in cars that were made before the 1950s.

Owners and drivers who want to restore vintage cars from the 1950s are constantly on the lookout for this kind of transmission fluid which isn’t very easy to find. 

Type A transmission fluid was actually manufactured from whale oil, which is the reason that it is no longer used in newer models. This fluid routinely broke down when the engine reached a high temperature, which is both dangerous and harmful for the car. 

This is also the reason that manufacturers stopped making Type A transmission fuel for something more eco-friendly and environmentally-safe back in the 1970s that were also different versions of automatic transmission fuel. 

Type A transmission fuel is only used to restore vintage cars built before the 1950s these days and is very hard to find. 

What is Dexron?

Dexron, as well as some other names in the market such as Type “F” and Castrol, is one of the modern versions of transmission fluid.

In fact, the Dexron (B) is one of the first automation transmission fluids that was manufactured after Type “A” was discontinued because of being harmful to the environment and the engine of vehicles in the mid 1960s.

Dexron (B) is usually known to be more stable than Type “A” transmission fluid, as well as less reactive and is manufactured from a hydrotreated base oil.

This also makes it more resistant to anti-oxidation and heat than Type “A” transmission oil, which was one of the most pressing problems with the previous types. 

Since then, Dexron has been improved several times with the manufacture of “Dexron II” in the 1970s, “Dexron III” in 2000 and “Dexron IV” in 2007. 

Type A Transmission Fluid vs Dexron: A Detailed Comparison 

“Dexron” was used in cars after the manufacture of Type “A” transmission fluid was discontinued after the 1950s, which means there are a lot of dissimilarities between them. 

Type “A” Transmission Fluid  Dexron Transmission Fluid 
Use  Used in vintage cars Mostly used in the vehicles manufactured by General Motors
Properties  More Stable Less Reactive  Less Stable More Reactive 
Materials  Manufactured from whale oil  Manufactured from hydrotreated base oil 
Availability  Discontinued after the 1950s  Improved over time 
Types  Only one type is available  Improved into Dexron “II”, Dexron “III” and “Dexron IV” 

Even after Type “A” transmission fluid was discontinued and Dexron was improved, there have been many other newer and modern versions of transmission fluids that are in circulation and popular. However, compared to these two, Dexron is a clear winner. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

  • Is Type A transmission fluid the same as Dexron?

Type “A” transmission fluid is completely different from Dexron in every possible way. Type “A” is manufactured from whale oil and was discontinued in the 1950s whereas Dexron in manufactured from the hydrotreated base wall and has been improved a lot since its first type. (curlygirldesign.com)  

  • What is a substitute for Type A transmission fluid?

Dexron “B” can sometimes be used instead of Type “A” transmission fluid, but they are still different from each other. Type “A” is mostly used in vintage cars and is only searched for by people who restore these cars from before the 1950s. 

  • Is Type A transmission fluid same as ATF?

ATF is a kind of economic transmission fuel that is also of good quality. Although the names are similar, ATF and Type “A” aren’t the same transmission fluid, but they are both automatic transmission fluids. 

  • Are Mercon and Dexron the same?

Mercon and Dexron aren’t the same kinds of transmission fluid, but their properties and manufacturing procedure are extremely similar. In fact, the fluids themselves are so similar they can be almost interchangeable. 

  • At what mileage should you change your transmission fluid?

It is recommended by different manufacturers that transmission fluid needs to be changed and filtered every 30,000 miles that the vehicle has traveled. 

  • Can dirty transmission fluids cause shifting problems?

Dirty transmission fluid needs to be filtered and changed as soon as it’s necessary. This is recommended because it can end up blocking a filter.

If that happens, the internal components of the car won’t have the lubrication its parts need to function properly. This could further lead to problems in shifting or in grinding the gears, as well as slipping transmission. 


While Type “A” transmission fluid has been discontinued for different problems, Dexron is one of the most popular types of transmission fuel till date.

Though many other better-quality transmission fluids have been manufactured after that, both Type “A” and Desron are still popular brands, despite being so different from each other. 

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