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Old 10-11-2013, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,523,609 times
Reputation: 35864

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For what it's worth, I typically buy cars with well over 100K, which have probably never had their fluid changed, and for all I know have been sold additives and/or flush, and I drive them until they die, and transmission failure has never once been a cause of death. (Nor engine failure, by the way, regardless of unkowable prior oil changes).
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Old 10-11-2013, 01:57 PM
 
2,702 posts, read 3,434,261 times
Reputation: 4514
Seriously, I have NEVER changed the tranny fluid in any of my cars (all 36 of them) through out the years.. Quite a few have gone over 250,000 a few more over 200,000 and almost all the rest over 100,000 miles...

I have had 3 vehicles that the tranny had to be replaced.. My 2002 Hyundia Accent which was replaced by the manufacturer twice because of it's defects, 1968 Oldsmobile Delmont because the tranny burnt out trying to get unstuck from a snow drift in the mountains of Colorado, and a 1971 Mustang in which the tranny blew drag racing (I still won BTW).....

All the rest have never had a tranny problem.. And I do not baby my cars....BUT then again I am not running the Baja 1000 with them either....

So, I must be the exception to the rule....

My current cars are a 2005 Scion XB with 123,000 and a 2010 Dodge Caravan with 70,000 and their tranny's are running like clockwork..... Even when I take it in for the basic maintenance the mechanic says the tranny is doing great....
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:20 PM
 
11,563 posts, read 17,491,775 times
Reputation: 17201
While changing fluid is important, the number one killer of automatic transmissions is heat. If you are that concerned about the life of your automatic transmission, particularly if you abuse it by towing are carrying heavy loads, get a transmission cooler.
Ironically, changing fluids in a transmission that has not been properly maintained may be the death sentence for it, since along with that dirty transmission fluid you are also unclogging the seals and gaskets that have been holding it together.
Obviously, the "change tranny fluid every year" just like the myth about changing oil every 3,000 miles, is promoted by these garages due to the profit margins.
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Wichita Falls Texas
999 posts, read 1,323,320 times
Reputation: 968
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robzherenow View Post
I thought this was a "reputable" company (starts with an "A" and ends with an "O" and it has five letters)
I am quite annoyed that this attendant tried to scam me, take my $160 for a service I dont need, and possibly damage my vehicle with their trashy fluid. I think people like this should be treated as criminals.

I know this is ancient history, but the company beginning in A and ending in O did quite a screw job to me back in 85 on a transmission overhaul. It was that episode and one 18 years later (that did not directly involve me or the aforementioned company) that convinced me that then only mechanic you can trust is yourself. And the A+O company left town a year after they did me wrong. Had lots of complaints with the BBB.
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Ubique
4,050 posts, read 2,928,672 times
Reputation: 2487
My cars get a drain + refill (without dropping the pan) on their tranny every oil change, which is once or twice a year. 15-20 bucks for tranny fluid is actually cheaper than the oil change.
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:12 PM
 
4,803 posts, read 10,163,085 times
Reputation: 8245
The owners manual in my 2011 Malibu says change the transmission fluid at the 100K mile service or at 50k mile if you do a lot of stop and go driving or drive in a hot climate. As it was, mine was getting really dark and dirty after 57k miles so I got it changed.
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:15 PM
 
2,341 posts, read 8,695,821 times
Reputation: 2040
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris97914 View Post
I work at a transmission shop we do everything with transmissions. The thing people don't realize is that transmission fluid breaks down just like motor oil and gets comtaminated and also contamintes the filter and can lead to internal problems in the transmission. It is best to Change the fluid every 2 years or 20,000 miles it will increase the life of your transmission. That way you don't have to have it rebuilt. We are a very reputable shop and my boss has been doing transmissions for 30 years. People that don't service they're transmissions keep us in business and flushing transmissions also keeps us in business
You are correct. Transmission fluid breaks down just like motor oil. However, it does NOT break down anywhere near as fast. Transmission fluid does not endure the same kind of friction, nor does it have contaminants blowing past piston rings, into it. Therefore, transmission fluid typically lasts MUCH longer than engine oil - and does NOT need to be changed as often.

One of the reasons people are hesitant to change their transmission fluid, is because so many places like PissyLube are so horribly dishonest, and charge exorbitant prices for shoddy work & sub-par oil. That is unfortunate.

How you drive has everything to do with how often you should change your tranny fluid and filter. The salesman who rarely leaves the Interstate, let alone ever gets on gravel roads, does not need a fluid change anywhere NEAR as often as the farmer who is towing heavy trailers through fields and down dusty roads.

In the end, most people have no idea how many miles they have on their tranny fluid. So I tell customers that a good rule of thumb is to look at it closely, and smell it carefully. If the fluid is not bright red & clean, change it. If it smells burned, or like it has been hot, change it.
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:19 PM
 
2,341 posts, read 8,695,821 times
Reputation: 2040
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry10 View Post
My cars get a drain + refill (without dropping the pan) on their tranny every oil change, which is once or twice a year. 15-20 bucks for tranny fluid is actually cheaper than the oil change.
If you're only getting charged that much for a tranny drain & refill, they're either giving you a heckuva deal, or something else is going on. I realize it's a simple drain & refill, but the very cheapest transmission fluid now runs about $5 per quart, and automatic transmissions RARELY require less than about 4 quarts for a 'service refill.' It's usually 5-6 quarts.
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:23 PM
 
Location: Ubique
4,050 posts, read 2,928,672 times
Reputation: 2487
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarageLogic View Post
If you're only getting charged that much for a tranny drain & refill, they're either giving you a heckuva deal, or something else is going on. I realize it's a simple drain & refill, but the very cheapest transmission fluid now runs about $5 per quart, and automatic transmissions RARELY require less than about 4 quarts for a 'service refill.' It's usually 5-6 quarts.
Nobody puts their **** in my cars. I have a fully equipped garage, or when others do it, I supply parts and supplies. And I get to stand besides the man to watch him do it.
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:25 PM
 
2,341 posts, read 8,695,821 times
Reputation: 2040
Quote:
Originally Posted by Globe199 View Post
Manufacturers don't exactly have a sterling reputation when it comes to recommendations though. My 1999 Cutlass says it could have gone 100k between transmission fluid service. No way in hell do I believe that. Stupid design has a sealed transmission; there is no way I can check the condition of the fluid, so it has to be flushed. I've done it three times in about 125k miles, though not at regular time intervals.
Actually, there IS a very simple way - but it's not particularly easy.

There is a "level plug" (probably) on the passenger side of the transmission, about 3" from the bottom of the tranny. I believe it's an 11mm head on the bolt. It's basically like an old RWD differential. Pull the plug & add oil until it flows out the hole.

Admittedly, it's a stupid design, but it's not at all difficult to check or service.
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