auto transmission fluid change

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Mike, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. Mike

    Mike Guest

    Hi all, I own a 2003 forester xs and have 16,500 miles. The dealer wanted
    to perform a 15K miles service which included changing the trani fluid.
    Should I have the trani fluid changed with only 16,500 miles? Also, is the
    best place to have it done at the dealer or could any reputable service
    station perform a trani fluid change on a subie?
     
    Mike, Apr 6, 2005
    #1
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  2. Hi,

    I don't know what the book specs for change intervals, but changing an
    auto's fluid every 15k miles or so will do nothing harmful, and MAY add
    tremendously to the life of the trans.

    Now, there are ways to change auto trans fluid and ways to change auto
    trans fluid. If you simply drop the drain plug, you get only a small
    portion of the total fluid (there's lots in the torque converter and
    elsewhere that doesn't drain.) So the dealers (and maybe other service
    shops?) will probably recommend you have the trans "flushed" which
    involves disconnecting lines, and running fresh fluid in the intake
    until it comes out clean from the outlet. This is a wonderful idea, but
    might seem totally wasteful of fluid and money. My only auto is on a
    Toyota Camry: it was flushed periodically by the previous owner at a
    dealer, and the service records indicate between 12 and 17 qts of fluid
    were used at various times. Now this is a trans that takes 2.5 qts to
    refill if you just drop the plug! Upside? The trans now has 226k miles
    and seems to be going just fine!

    OTOH, one might take the approach some of the Toyota guys take with my
    model. Instead of a "big" change every 15k, they simply drop the plug at
    every oil change (3000-3750 miles) and replace 2.5 qts each time.
    Downside--the fluid's not as clean every 15k as if it were flushed.
    Upside--it never gets as dirty. So you pays your money and you takes
    your choice!

    As for who to do the work? You might want to call around and compare
    prices and just talk to the folks to get an impression. Also, if you're
    an Auto Club member, you can check with them for recommended shops. I
    did that for my nephew when he blew the trans in his Honda while away at
    school, and found a guy who did a great job at a reasonable price. No
    problems.

    Best of luck!

    Rick
     
    Rick Courtright, Apr 6, 2005
    #2
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  3. Mike

    y_p_w Guest

    All I have is the 2004 warranty/maintenance booklet to work with, but
    that says inspect (and change if necessary) every 30K miles/30 mo or
    change every 15K (severe) when towing trailers. This manual says that
    the only "severe" service condition that applies to transmissions is
    towing.

    My gut instinct say that if you're not going to do it yourself, don't
    let anyone else do it this early. The 30K/30 mo "inspect" interval
    would probably be a reasonably conservative time to change the fluid.

    The filter is probably a "lifetime spin-on" type and theoretically
    never needs to be replaced. It think it might be a good idea to get
    it replaced sometime well down the line (90K miles?).

    If there's a simple drain bolt and you can figure out how to do it
    and how much fluid you need, 15K might be a good idea, especially
    if you like working on your own car.

    BTW - how much is your dealer charging? I remember looking at the
    board at my dealer when I took my WRX in for the cruise-control cable
    recall. They wanted someone in the neighborhood of $100 for a
    transmission fluid change. It's probably out of line for the actual
    materials/work done. I'm guessing it's about 4-5 quarts of ATF and
    maybe 10 minutes of labor. My favorite shop would probably charge
    $20 for the fluid and $20 for the labor.
     
    y_p_w, Apr 6, 2005
    #3
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