View Full Version : Are transmission fluid changes unnecessary?
11-15-2011, 12:27 PM
I have an 07 Mazda 3. One of my front struts recently needed to be replaced and after doing so the dealer told me that my transmission fluid is looking a little brown and might need to be replaced soon. I was told later by a co-worker that newer model cars are designed with transmissions that are sealed for life and do not require fluid changes.
Can anyone please shed some light here, through past experiences or otherwise?
11-15-2011, 12:29 PM
How many miles do you have on the car? I've heard both schools of thought when it comes to changing or not changing the tranny fluid, and I'd be interested to hear others' input on this.
Most manuals say the transmission oil should be changed at 30k or 60K. I had my tranny oil changed in my Infiniti 3 years ago at about 75K and it was noticeably smoother after the change - especially from 1st to 2nd gear. It's not terribly expensive, and transmissions are....
11-15-2011, 12:43 PM
My 98 ranger went 200000 without one but at 200k needed a new transmission but i did drive it hard and abused it hauling twice the weight it was supposed to.
11-15-2011, 12:47 PM
I have an '03 F250 diesel with the 5 speed auto. Requires a special synthentic transmission fluid. With what a tranny costs, I'm going to have it changed a 30,000 intervals per manual. A fluid change and two filters is lie $300.
11-15-2011, 12:55 PM
It's an automatic with 45k miles. Also, I assume there is a difference between a flush and a change?
11-15-2011, 01:06 PM
I have been told by mechanics I am friends with to change the trans fluid, but never flush the system. The flush is what kills you. They said it drives the little bits of debris into the gears. On a personal note, the transmission on my old Chevy started to slip after a flush. It was a Malibu that had 125k miles on it.
11-15-2011, 01:10 PM
I had transmission fluid changed in my 2005 Acura TSX a few months ago at around 30,000 miles. My mechanic (a guy I trust) recommended it.
I'd almost rather err on the side of doing more frequent care than risk the potential damage of not enough care.
11-15-2011, 01:17 PM
As sturgeon points out I think the difference lies between the flush and the change.
11-15-2011, 01:18 PM
Yes it does. Fluid breaks down with heat. It's just like engine oil. You can get by without it, but if you want your transmission to last, then you need to have it serviced properly.
If you plan to get rid of the car at anything less than 100,000 miles, you'll be ok most likely.
30,000 miles is a bit extreme. Most mechanic and dealer recommendations are a bit extreme. They are trying to make money.
You're at 45k, you don't NEED it right now, but it wouldn't hurt anything. I'd put it off till at least 75k to 100k.
I've never heard of a sealed transmission. Transmissions require maintenance, so I can't imagine why there would be a sealed one.
EDIT: You certainly don't need a flush. That's just a "give me more money" thing. I've been in fleet maintenance, where cost matters, for 20 years and never flushed a transmission.
11-15-2011, 01:28 PM
Generally speaking, I would avoid a power flush and just do a drain and refill, particularly on an older car where you might loosen up deposits that were previously harmless. If you like your car, don't have it serviced at a national chain. I would check with the manufacturer's recommendations. They engineered it...
On a side note, some transmissions are indeed recommended to not be refilled (applies to my car, although it is a manual which uses oil, not an auto).
11-15-2011, 01:30 PM
My owner's manual has no recommended service intervals for tranny fluid change, FWIW.
11-15-2011, 01:37 PM
All fluids eventually break down. Heat make it happen faster. There is no such thing as a sealed for life trans in an over the road car. I would recommend changing it out at 50K miles.
11-16-2011, 06:34 AM
thank you all
11-16-2011, 07:25 AM
My old subaru went 200k+ miles without a change and was fine. I'd say follow your manufacturer's recommendations on it. Most service places push you to change stuff sooner than necessary. Oil is a perfect example of this. The standard rec is 3k miles but my last couple of cars have had manufacturer recs of 5k. Yet every time the mechanics (independent or chain) repeat the 3k mantra.
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