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How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: Ammo
Date: October 07, 2011 11:55AM
I was at the dealership today for an oil change, and the service guy said Honda recommends changing the automatic transmission fluid every 30,000 miles. This seems awfully short to me, but I really don't know how often it should be done. What do you do?



Life on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the world every year.
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: October 07, 2011 12:04PM
Take a look at your owner's manual. On my Honda, I have a maintenance minder that tells which services are due based upon monitoring of driving conditions. Not unusual to see transmission fluid due around 30k. I don't remember if Honda's use standard ATF. I know that their 4wd/AWL transfer case uses a Honda specific fluid. The use of any other fluid will cause drive-ability issues and even damage. All the more reason to look at the owners manual.

Also, unless your dealer does a full flush, only about 2/3rds gets drained and replaced. This is common with most automatic transmissions as the fluid doesn't drain out from the torque converter. This is one of the reasons behind more frequent changes.
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: October 07, 2011 12:05PM
Did you RTHM (read the honda Manual) ? Typically it's 60k miles. 30K miles is probably 'inspect'.

If the guy is lying to you, avoid 'em in the future. A lot of these little shops will do that.. bamboozle you into 'extras' . Air filter changes and window wiper changes are a popular 'upsell'. I remember on goon tried to convince me that my air filter was 'dirty and worn out'. I had just put a new one in that morning.
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: Rolando
Date: October 07, 2011 12:05PM
Have you checked your owners manual?



San Antonio, TX (in the old city)

"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."
-- Edmund Burke
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt (1918)
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: October 07, 2011 12:05PM
Do what the owners manual tells you to. Generally a manual will give you different service intervals depending upon the conditions you drive your car.
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: Grateful11
Date: October 07, 2011 12:12PM
I know this sounds crazy but our '91 Explorer has something around 235K miles on it and it's never have the
transmission fluid changed, it's been checked, it's not burnt and it smells like fresh tranny fluid. I asked
a guy that rebuilds transmissions and his thinking was it depended on your type driving, the conditions, if
you tow a lot, etc. He said every 75K but our Explorer is driven about 500 miles a year for taking recyclables,
the our dog to the Vet, getting gas for the lawn mower and that's about it, the rest of the time it sits snug
it's enclosed garage, it's like part of the family, we bought it new right after Jesse was born. We've let sit
as long as 6 months and it fires right up. It's only decent Ford I've ever owned and I've owned a bunch of them.



Grateful11
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: October 07, 2011 12:13PM
Don't always trust the owner's manual!!!

I am well aware of a few cars that have never changed the trans fluid and are still shifting fine (mine with 220k) while the manual says the fluid should be changed every 70k or something. The owners that followed the manual have a huge percentage of fried transmissions.

My recommendation is to find a GOOD online forum for your model vehicle and read it extensively.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/07/2011 12:14PM by mrbigstuff.
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Date: October 07, 2011 12:14PM
Go by the owner's manual. And get the fluid changed, don't get a flush.
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: Rolando
Date: October 07, 2011 12:17PM
Quote
Grateful11
I know this sounds crazy but our '91 Explorer has something around 235K miles on it and it's never have the transmission fluid changed, it's been checked, it's not burnt and it smells like fresh tranny fluid. I asked
a guy that rebuilds transmissions and his thinking was it depended on your type driving, the conditions, if
you tow a lot, etc. He said every 75K but our Explorer is driven about 500 miles a year for taking recyclables, the our dog to the Vet, getting gas for the lawn mower and that's about it, the rest of the time it sits snug it's enclosed garage, it's like part of the family, we bought it new right after Jesse was born. We've let sit as long as 6 months and it fires right up. It's only decent Ford I've ever owned and I've owned a bunch of them.

You must be lying! EVERYBODY knows American cars commit suicide at the end of warranty plus 5 miles! Especially Fords! All my Fords have done well, even my Mid 80s Mustang that I beat the @#$%& out of for 10 years!



San Antonio, TX (in the old city)

"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."
-- Edmund Burke
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt (1918)
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: October 07, 2011 12:24PM
They're trying to rip you off. It's extremely unlikely that you'd need a transmission fluid change at 30K. 65K or 70K maybe, but no way at 30K.

Honda dealerships (really any dealership, but Honda is particularly bad) will rip you off of your last cent recommending unnecessary maintenance. I took my wife's Accord in a couple of days ago to get a recall job done, and the crook service writer (Ed Voyles in Marietta, GA, don't go there) tried to upsell me on $500 worth of completely superfluous "service," including $118 (yes, really) for a new air filter. That car is meticulously maintained (the wife is as German as you can get for somebody whose family has been in the US for hundreds of years--Pennsylvania Dutch) and didn't need any of the stuff he was pushing, even if it had been reasonably priced. Which it wasn't.

I bet the jackass gets plenty of nice commissions with that kind of fraud. Didn't get anything but a chewing-out from me.

Never go to a dealership service department for any work you have to pay for. Warranty and recalls only.
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: DRR
Date: October 07, 2011 12:38PM
It depends on the car, but 30k seems unnecessarily short. mrbigstuff was spot on with the online forum recommendation; my ATF is designed to be "lifetime" (never needs changing) but what that really means is do it ever 100k.
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: October 07, 2011 12:59PM
.....before the car blows up....?????



____________________________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: October 07, 2011 01:05PM
Ammo,

Ditto on checking the manual. One thing I've learned about dealers is that they often follow their own guidelines as to how your car should be serviced. They might say change X after Y miles, while the manufacturer itself says change X after X miles. Personally, I stick with the manufacturers guidelines unless something out of the ordinary dictates otherwise.

For example... I use synthetic oil in my '09 Mazda CX-7. The manufacturer normally recommends changing the oil after X miles but for normal oil. Synthetic changes that interval. So, I follow my own interval instead. However, for something like the transmission fluid, I'd follow the manufacturers guidelines. I'd go otherwise only if something happened that required changing the transmission fluid sooner.

Robert
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: October 07, 2011 01:24PM
The real question is whether the warranty is still valid. If so, follow the owner's manual. Do you really want to void the warranty on the transmission?
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: MacArtist
Date: October 07, 2011 01:45PM
Most people don't worry about the transmission until it is acting up which is at the point it's probably too late and will cost $$$ soon.

Whenever we bought a car (we never bought a brand new one), first thing I do is get the transmission fluid changed.

After that, I get it changed about every 30K-50K miles. Depending on how the color looks. How it smells. Have I pulled heavy loads with the vehicle.



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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: October 07, 2011 01:54PM
Check your owner's manual. I really don't know why you didn't consider that option before posting your question here.



It is what it is.
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: tenders
Date: October 07, 2011 02:27PM
Quote
cbelt3
Did you RTHM (read the honda Manual) ? Typically it's 60k miles. 30K miles is probably 'inspect'.

If the guy is lying to you, avoid 'em in the future. A lot of these little shops will do that.. bamboozle you into 'extras' . Air filter changes and window wiper changes are a popular 'upsell'. I remember on goon tried to convince me that my air filter was 'dirty and worn out'. I had just put a new one in that morning.

I write the date and mileage of air filter, battery, and transmission fluid changes RIGHT ON THE DEVICE with a silver Sharpie marker and/or a Brother heavy-duty label to keep everybody honest--including myself, because I often forget when I've done the work.
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: Ammo
Date: October 07, 2011 03:24PM
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Check your owner's manual. I really don't know why you didn't consider that option before posting your question here.

I may be wrong, but I figure service intervals listed in owner's manuals are usually going to be pretty conservative in order to limit the manufacturer's liability and to generate sales for dealership service departments.

Thanks to all who responded!



Life on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the world every year.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/07/2011 03:26PM by Ammo.
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: October 07, 2011 04:08PM
Quote
Ammo
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Check your owner's manual. I really don't know why you didn't consider that option before posting your question here.

I may be wrong, but I figure service intervals listed in owner's manuals are usually going to be pretty conservative in order to limit the manufacturer's liability and to generate sales for dealership service departments.

Implied in your statement is that you know better than the manufacturer what the service interval should be.

As noted above, service manuals typically have two service interval schedules, one for normal driving conditions and one for heavy duty driving conditions.



It is what it is.
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: October 07, 2011 04:41PM
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Quote
Ammo
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Check your owner's manual. I really don't know why you didn't consider that option before posting your question here.

I may be wrong, but I figure service intervals listed in owner's manuals are usually going to be pretty conservative in order to limit the manufacturer's liability and to generate sales for dealership service departments.

Implied in your statement is that you know better than the manufacturer what the service interval should be.

As noted above, service manuals typically have two service interval schedules, one for normal driving conditions and one for heavy duty driving conditions.

And under pressure of government scrutiny the service intervals don't get too "conservative" to generate sales for service departments. Generally the pressure for earlier service is coming from the dealerships and other service providers, I still get a 3,000 mile oil change service reminder stuck on my window even though most vehicles have been at 5-7 K or better for decades. I just mentally add the difference.
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: Grateful11
Date: October 07, 2011 07:33PM
Quote
Rolando
Quote
Grateful11
I know this sounds crazy but our '91 Explorer has something around 235K miles on it and it's never have the transmission fluid changed, it's been checked, it's not burnt and it smells like fresh tranny fluid. I asked
a guy that rebuilds transmissions and his thinking was it depended on your type driving, the conditions, if
you tow a lot, etc. He said every 75K but our Explorer is driven about 500 miles a year for taking recyclables, the our dog to the Vet, getting gas for the lawn mower and that's about it, the rest of the time it sits snug it's enclosed garage, it's like part of the family, we bought it new right after Jesse was born. We've let sit as long as 6 months and it fires right up. It's only decent Ford I've ever owned and I've owned a bunch of them.

You must be lying! EVERYBODY knows American cars commit suicide at the end of warranty plus 5 miles! Especially Fords! All my Fords have done well, even my Mid 80s Mustang that I beat the @#$%& out of for 10 years!

I had a '97 Ford truck that was in the shop so much that they had to buy it back. I used to get a big Ford
discount because of my job and tried stick with them but got tired of multiple problems. Between '91
and '02 we had 7 Fords including the Explorer. Let's put this way the '91 is the only one we still have.



Grateful11
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Re: How often should transmission fluid be changed?
Posted by: Mr645
Date: October 08, 2011 07:20AM
My VW manual says oil every 5k (Premium synthetic required) and transmission fluid and filter every 40k. My wifes BMW was oil between 7500 and 15000 miles, the onboard computer will let you know based on driving habits.
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