ATF 4 Vs. Dexron III: What’s The Best Transmission Fluid?

Are you wondering which transmission fluid is better at ATF 4 vs. Dexron III? Don’t worry; here we will give the best information about them. Basically, these are two different transmission fluids that come with different purposes and uses.

Transmission systems require different kinds of liquid for different conditions. For cold weather, you need to use low-viscosity fluid, while for high temperatures, you need compatible transmission fluid. However, please read this article attentively to learn more about ATF 4 and Dexron III. It’s because here, we will compare them so you can know them perfectly.

ATF 4 Vs. Dexron III

What Is ATF 4?

ATF 4 is a new type of ATF developed in the early 2000s. Also, it delivers a significantly improved performance over Dexron III and IV. Besides this, it’s compatible with a ton of GM automobiles. So, if your car isn’t compatible with Dexron III or Dexron IV, you can use ATF 4.

What is Dexron III?

Dexron III is a type of ATF developed by General Motors in the 1970s. It has since become the most popular ATF and is often utilized as a catch-all term for any automatic transmission fluid.

Dexron III is compatible with various vehicles, making it an excellent choice for those who need help deciding which ATF to use.

Check: Dexron 2 Vs 3

Comparison Between ATF 4 Vs. Dexron III

Let’s compare these two excellent fluids to know in detail:

  • Flushing Requirements:

ATF 4 and Dexron III are automatic transmission fluids; however, they differ in viscosity and the number of friction modifiers they contain.

Mainly, ATF 4 is a fully synthetic formulation explicitly designed for Chrysler vehicles. As a result, this fluid needs frequent slighter replacement. Subsequently, Dexron III transmission fluid contains a synthetic blend often found in GM automobiles.

Nevertheless, it contains a lower boiling point than ATF 4, although it delivers outstanding safety against wear and tear. As a direct result, you should change this oil more frequently.

  • Cold Weather Performance:

In short, Dexron III is a standard type of automatic transmission fluid, while ATF 4 is a synthetic fluid. For starters, Dexron III has a lower freezing point than ATF 4. This means that Dexron III is more likely to freeze in cold conditions, which can lead to infection problems.

If you are wondering about ATF 4 vs. Dexron III viscosity, then the ATF 4 viscosity is higher than Dexron III. For this, it flows more slowly, and the risk of it leaking when it’s cold outside is reduced. Yet, ATF 4 works more effectively in low-temperature because of its more significant flash point.

The corrosion resistance provided by ATF 4 is exceptional to that of Dexron III. ATF 4 gives the best performance in cold conditions. Moreover, it has less risk of freezing, rusting, fire, and leaking.

  • Hot Weather Performance:

Compared to ATF 4, Dexron III outperforms it in hot weather conditions. Ergo, Dexron III specifically comes for high temperatures.

As a result, Dexron III can typically handle higher temperatures than ATF 4 in warm climates. For that reason, Dexron III is better than ATF 4 in keeping performance levels stable during high temperatures.

  • Price:

There is a significant disparity between the purchase costs of ATF 4 and Dexron III. Dexron III costs slightly less than ATF 4. That means Dexron III is a low-quality oil and only lasts for a short time.

Usually, ATF 4 is a higher-grade oil, and its effect can last longer. Hence, you can choose Dexron III as a more affordable option. Products to use ATF 4; However, if you wish for high-quality oil that will last a long time.

  • Service Life:

The life of ATF 4 is significantly longer than Dexron III. The reason is that ATF 4 is a Fully synthetic base or synthetic blend, and Dexron III is generally a mineral-based fluid.

Notably, ATF 4 is a thermal breakdown resistance and chemical degradation. In general, this fluid is suitable to use in modern engines. It can operate at high temperatures and place high pressures on its liquids.

Which Is Better Between ATF 4 Vs. Dexron III?

If you go to the comparison part, ATF 4 is a winner. You can get three things from this fluid better than Dexron III: cold weather support, boiling point, and service life. Though the price is high from Dexron III, ATF is best for your car’s transmission.

It contains high-quality additives and synthetic compounds to keep your transmission system better than Dexron III. Plus, you’ll get better cold-weather performance by using ATF 4 rather than Dexron III. These are why we declare that ATF 4 is the best and wins.

ATF 4 Vs Dexron III Vs Dexron VI:

Choosing the best ATF for your vehicle depends on several factors, including the make and model and the type of performance.

The Dexron family is the most common and famous ATFs on the market. Usually, Dexron III and Dexron VI are two family members, and ATF 4 is another transmission synthetic fluid. So, what is the difference between them? ATF+4 and Dexron come with very different specs. They also have different friction coefficients from other clutch slips.

Older RWD transmissions have a greater tolerance for using different fluids; Using any Dexron in an FWD ATF+4 application causes shuddering. For your transmission, Dexron VI provides better performance than Dexron III.

Compared to both Dexron III and Dexron VI, ATF 4 provides a big performance. It’s also compatible with various GM vehicles, making it a great choice. So those who are looking for the best ATF fluid for their car can use ATF 4. But before using any liquid, it’s best to check the vehicle’s owner’s manual to know the recommended fluid.

Read More About: Dexron 3 Vs Dexron 6

atf 4 vs dexron iii

What’s The Difference Between ATF+4 And Dexron Transmission Fluid?

The most significant difference between them is the additives that they contain. ATF+4 comes with specific additives formulated for certain Chrysler transmissions. Additives and fluids make up the transmission to function correctly. If you use the wrong fluid, it won’t transfer properly, ruining your transmission.

Dexron transmission fluid is only suitable for Chevy vehicles. The Dexron family provides standard fluid. Dexron III is a typical traditional transmission fluid ideal for older Chevy transmissions. In contrast, Dexron VI is a synthetic fluid ideal for new vehicles.

Chevy says if your transmission needs Dexron IV, you should use Dexron V instead because it’s an excellent fluid. Ensure you always use transmission fluid as your vehicle’s transmission call can’t damage the transmission.

Toyota Type 4 Transmission Fluid

Toyota Type 4 is a high-quality ATF specifically formulated for use in automatic transmissions from car manufacturer Toyota. Generally, it fulfills the T-IV specification. Likewise, Toyota Type 4 is an authentic product of Toyota Motor Corporation. We only support the use of T for vehicles that require Toyota ATF.

Using any other brand of ATF in Toyota products will severely affect performance. So if you use another product, it can decrease acceleration and torque, clutch life, and ultimately damage your transmission. Remember that only you should use Toyota’s original Automatic Transmission Fluid in your Toyota car.

Toyota Type 4 Equivalent:

You can find many brands on the market that meet the required Type 4 ATF standards. They are safe to use for your Toyota. Nonetheless, it is recommended to do so only if your vehicle is out of warranty.

That means if your car is still under warranty, stick with OEM products. Most manufacturers can void your warranty if you use non-OEM fluids. What is the equivalent of a Toyota Type 4? The top Toyota Type 4 equivalent fluids are:

  1. Castrol Transmax Import ATF
  2. Mobil 3309 ATF
  3. Idemitsu ATF Type TLS (T-IV)
  4. Valvoline MaxLife ATF
  5. Genuine ATF Type T-IV

Dexron 4 Equivalent:

As an equivalent of Dexron 4, you can use Dexron III, Dexron II, Mercon V, and Mercon. But it’s recommended to use this equivalent if you have an emergency. And, of course, after changing your situation, it will be best to drain equivalent fluid from your vehicle.

FAQ (Frequently Ask Questions):

Q. Is ATF 4 the same as Dexron 3?

No, Dexron 3 cannot be the same as ATF+4 in all cases. The two transmission fluids have significant differences that make them incompatible in certain situations. So, it’s not a good idea to say ATF+4 is the same as Dexron 3.

Q. Can you mix Dexron 3 with ATF 4?

Since they are transmission fluids, you can mix them, but it’s a prevalent mix that won’t maintain quality. After mixing them, it will give you a worse performance than you expect. So, avoiding mixing them will be a good idea.

Q. Can I use Dexron 3 instead of ATF 4?

No, You can’t use Dexron 3 instead of ATF 4. Although they have some similarities, significant differences make them incompatible in certain situations. So, substituting Dexron 3 for ATF+4 is not a good idea.

Final Word:

We hope you understand ATF 4 vs. Dexron: Which transmission fluid is best? ATF 4 is a trademark used by Chrysler for synthetic ATF formulations. Texaco manufactures ATF 4 fluid with an extra high viscosity index.

Ultimately, we have explained both fluids clearly and shown how ATF 4 is the winner. And we also present when you can use Dexron 3 safely here. Thanks for reading this article with patience. Happy riding.


I am Engr. Z Eusuf Lubricant Specialist, Mechanical Engineer & has been working with engine lubricants for a long time and knows what makes them work best. I can help you find the right oil for your needs, and I have tips on how to keep your engine running at its best.