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Thread: Transmission Fluid Change

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Cincinnati Ohio

    Transmission Fluid Change

    I like to keep things maintained but unlike everything I own I chose NOT TO DO CAR MAINTENANCE MYSELF.

    The big debate To flush or not to flush the transmission.
    I own a 2013 Chevy Equinox 4cyl. 46,000 miles.

    The Chevy dealer I use seems to recommend fluid service per BG recommendations which can differ from the Chevy owners manual. The owners manual says 45,000 for server service or around 97,500 for normal.

    1) what is considered normal vs server ?

    2) Manual says change fluid but does not say flush.

    3) If you were in my shoes what would you do? Considering the car is 6 1/2 years old with only 46,000 miles. My plan is to keep it 10 years then trade for a new car.

    A friend of a friend who is a transmission mechanic says to flush system by 50K miles or just let alone.

    I would love to hear from a Chevy mechanic vs a guy trying to sell a BG Transmission flush service.

    For me this is not a cost issue. I just want to do the right thing. $179 for a flush is cheap insurance but on the other hand. don't want a flush to bust loose sludge and cause problems.
    Last edited by Dave Lehnert; 01-21-2020 at 6:34 PM.
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  2. #2
    Just personal observations:

    I can't think of anyone who's had great service from an auto trans that ever flushed the thing-
    -But I DO know people who've had their trans flushed that ended up needing a rebuild not long after.
    -But I also know people who've had trans problems, me included, but those transmissions had never had fluid change...

    ---Likely, all the above: statistically insignificant

    The only fluid change I ever did was a '96 Lincoln I had, the factory decided it needed Mercon V (to cure the 'rumble strip' issue these transmissions had)- I followed instructions on how to fully evacuate the old fluid, changed the filter, and there was another part to change but I forget what exactly, bolted up the pan, added the Mercon V, and the change was miraculous to be honest. That was years ago at around 70k miles. My stepson bought the car and when it blew a head gasket at around 160k miles, no transmission problems.

    Me, and most of my gearhead friends have always favored simple fluid changes over flushing, because of your same concerns, moving crud from one place to another causing problems...
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Somewhere in the Land of Lincoln
    I think I would save the money. If you pull the dipstick and the fluid looks good then you won't be gaining anything. I doubt that your driving style and the way you use the vehicle will have caused it any harm. I know one of our company vehicles a 2008 Chevrolet 2500 HD with 6.0 gas engine made it 400,000 and then had the transmission replaced. No fluid change ever. I doubt that changing the fluid would have helped. However the truck is still going strong and will likely hit 500,000.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    We have one vehicle with 350,000 miles, and another with 274,000. Others in decades preceding those, have gone for similar mileages. We've never had transmission trouble. I do the maintenance myself, but doubt that matters. I've never had a transmission flushed, but do change it every 50,000, or if it starts to lose the red color.

    I also really like screw on filters, which both vehicles now have. Trucks before this one, I did go to a tranny shop to have the pan dropped every 100,000, and the screen filter cleaned. They always said that the screens were fine.

    One thing you don't want to do is let the fluid get to the point that it starts to smell burnt. If it's still red, and smells like it just came out of the bottle, it's okay.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Modesto, CA, USA
    BG? the issue is power flushing can stir things up. A drain and overfill, start engine drain through cooler hose, stop over refill a few times does not do any problems.
    The reason most power flushes do not work it they do not get done until it is too late. No flushes done until it makes funny noises is not going to cure anything.
    If that is a little front drive car there may be a drain plug. Drain 2-3 quarts, all that comes out, refill. Run around town to mix it up repeat several times.
    Bil lD
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 01-21-2020 at 7:36 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Wayland, MA
    Do what is says in the owners manual (if that). I've had a bunch of vehicles that have gone over 200K with neither change nor flush. (Yes, I know an anecdote does not constitute valid evidence-- I probably would have changed it at the recommended interval had I thought to do so.)

    For what it's worth, Click and Clack recommend the flush-- I went there expecting the "Boooogus!" response, but no, they think it is worthwhile.

  7. #7
    The dealers recommend frequent service because they make money on it. One dealer - who I no longer go to - was recommending oil changes every 3,000 miles. When I questioned him, he said that was the severe service recommendations. But when I looked in the manual, it said 5,000 miles for severe service and 7,500 for normal.

    So I asked him what was severe service and he said "driving on the freeway." I took my business elsewhere.

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  8. #8
    Honda recommends changing the transmission fluid in the Pilot as well. I had mine changed as recommended and the transmission is problem free after 100K miles
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2015
    The manufacturer knows best and I follow the owners manual. The service guy is looking to make a paycheck so of course they are going to recommend you do it more often and get a "Flush" because it cost more.
    Most of the time when you get your oil changed they will put the next oil change as 3000 miles away. When it's a known fact oil and car technology have come a long way and can go 5000, 7500, and sometimes 10,000 miles between oil changes. They know better but they increase their revenue if you come more often. And they prey on the people that don't know better.

    I would get into an argument with the wife all the time. She gets her oil changed at one of those stand alone oil change places and she freaks out everytime she's over the 3000 miles they mark on the sticker. After a few years and showing her the OEM manual she's finally calmed down and realizing she can go longer between oil changes now.

    As far as whether you should change it at all, I disagree with the people who suggest to never change it. Transmission fluid, like amy oil, breaks down with heat and time. Replacing it is good practice for the longevity of the transmission.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    SE Michigan
    Always follow the owners manual recommendations for transmission and engine oil service.

    The main culprit for transmission fluid breakdown is time spent at elevated fluid temperatures.

    Severe service would be considered: 1.) Operating for a significant time at elevated (e.g., above 90F) ambient temperatures. 2.) Frequently pulling a trailer 3.) Spending a significant amount of time going up grades. 4.) Any combination of the first three.

    BG is not associated with any of the auto manufacturers (at least they weren't before I retired in 2013). I had a dealer try to sell me a BG fuel injector service package telling me it was recommended by corporate engineering. It wasn't. I offered to use my cell phone to call the corporate fuel injector specialist (who just happened to report to me at the time). Needless to say the dealer dropped his sales pitch.
    "Don't worry. They couldn't possibly hit us from that dist...."

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Okotoks AB
    My 7 year old Accord has about 260,000 Km on it & I've always followed the manufacturer's maintenance schedule to the letter. It honestly still drives & rides as well as the day I bought it. The dealer, to their credit, does not push any unnecessary maintenance procedures (unlike the last Mazda dealership I dealt with).

    So my suggestion is to do what the manual says.

  12. #12
    just change at recommended intervals. be sure to use OEM fluid. servicing my own cars for over 40 years

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    I hear, all the time, that manufacturers know best, but I have different plans for longevity than they do. If everyone followed my methods, there would be many fewer dealers, and probably manufacturers too.

    We do run synthetic oil for 10,000 miles between changes, but I change tranny fluid every 50. I've been driving my current truck for 19 years. The last time I made a truck payment was November, 2000. We make one payment, and drive vehicles until we're tired of them enough to pay for another one.

    The guy I sold my last truck, a gas burner, is still driving it. It had 195,000 on it when I sold it to him, and compression within 3 psi of new. I saw that truck, and the guy I sold it to, last week. He says he still hasn't been in the engine, or transmission. I forgot to ask him how many miles it has on it now.
    Last edited by Tom M King; 01-22-2020 at 8:17 AM.

  14. #14
    Note: Hondas are different than other vehicles. Change is every 30k and use Honda brand fluid ONLY!!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Okotoks AB
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Engel View Post
    Note: Hondas are different than other vehicles. Change is every 30k and use Honda brand fluid ONLY!!
    For the automatic that comes with the V6, it's whenever the Maintenance Minder gives a B3 code. For trailer towing & severe duty it's every 25K miles. Pretty sure it's a lot more than that if going by the MM. I don't remember off hand how often mine's been done, but it's only been a few times.
    Last edited by Frank Pratt; 01-22-2020 at 7:12 PM.

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