By on April 6, 2018

Craig writes:

Hey Sajeev,

I hate the upsell that happens at places like Jiffy Lube, NTB, etc., and one service they seem hell-bent on pushing on everyone is the transmission flush.

I have looked at the service intervals of various vehicles and a lot of them never specify a transmission flush. I’ve read on the internet that it can even be bad for your transmission if it isn’t needed. I don’t doubt there is a finite life for the tranny fluid, but I would just like to hear your and the B&B’s take on the matter.

Sajeev answers:

Transmission flushes have been discussed in the past (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) so perhaps we should discuss the validity of such selling tactics.

But first, a point of order: you might be talking about cross-selling. Upselling is when a shop pushes a synthetic oil change when you wanted the dino stuff. But both happen and they are despised/appreciated depending on the customer. That said, my full-time gig is in car retailing, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.

You don’t have to hate this, but I understand why it rubs people the wrong way. If said shop does not show value via credible up/cross sell, the action likely provokes the negative response you’re mentioning.

Here are credible up/cross sells I pulled outta my ass I bet would make a sale, or at least not offend the customer’s sensibilities:

  • I see that well-used trailer hitch, and given your mileage and condition of the fluid, I recommend a transmission fluid flush.
  • If you drove through flood waters after Hurricane Harvey, let us change the differential fluid, especially since there are signs of a leaky diff cover gasket that could let water in.
  • How long do you plan on keeping this vehicle?
    • You should switch to synthetic oil now because (show value)
    • Your shocks are worn out and leaking, which is bad because (show value)
    • Your brakes have about 6 months left on them, so since you’re here AND we have this great coupon…

In theory, there’s nothing wrong with up/cross sell as people often want it: they want THE BEST in a Good/Better/Best proposition. I once spent weeks convincing a former co-worker to stop feeding her four-banger Camry a diet of premium fuel. Even the owner’s manual didn’t convince her!

Not all customers are created equal, some want the best and businesses gotta at least offer it. And wouldn’t you love to buy a used car for a friend/family member with a full service history including regular transmission flushes?

Problem is:

  • Which shop/employee shows value to the customer, versus pushing whatever’s on the printout?
  • Does the shop push employees harder on up/cross sell than they should?

Those two questions are always in the back of my mind. Off to you, Best and Brightest.

[Image: Shutterstock user Syda Productions]

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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46 Comments on “Piston Slap: Wither the Upsell and Cross-sell?...”

  • avatar

    My neighbor and great mechanic is adamant that transmission flushes should be done regularly or not at all. He says when people decide to do this late in the cars life that usually within a short period of times there are major problems. This is because all the fine metal particles and other debris have settled to the bottom of the system. The flush stirs them up and they cause havoc, clog filters and other small orifices.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Carmakers rarely call for fluid flushing and strongly discourage engine and transmission flushing. Engine, transmission, coolant, brake and power steering flushing are strong profit centers. Verify the need, time and mileage interval to your owner’s manual. It’s probably your wallet that is being flushed!

    • 0 avatar

      Sure, if you drive a golf cart around. But brake fluid is noticeable after flushing with a nice, solid, and responsive brake pedal feel evey two years.

    • 0 avatar

      Brake fluid? Brake fluid is hygroscopic. You ABSOLUTELY want to change our your brake fluid regularly.

      Honda specifies 3 years, regardless of mileage.

  • avatar

    Caveat Emptor.

  • avatar

    I’m a fan of somewhat regular partial drain-and-fills, this is within the context of “traditional” automatics, ideally equipped with a drain plug on the transmission pan and a dip stick (which I realize is incredibly wishful thinking in the context of modern autos).

    I do such a drain and fill which gets about 4 quarts of ATF out of my 4Runner’s A340F Aisin, replaced with the same amount. Doing this every 3 years or so keeps the fluid at a fairly steady state condition of being slightly darker than 100% fresh fluid perhaps, but clean and not burned smelling.

    Something only tangentially related:
    I also have an aftermarket transmission cooler installed, more-so to bypass the failure prone factory trans cooling route that is passed internally into the car’s radiator. My buddy with an ’02 4Runner just had this happen, thankfully he caught it in time entirely accidentally when he popped the hood to diagnose a minor cold-start misfire issue. He’s not a car guy so he had just started checking fluids at random, noticed the coolant overflow had some brownish-pink stuff in it. He had been carefully versed on all things 3rd gen 4Runner by me so he immediately recognized this as “Strawberry Milkshake of Death ™.” Took it to a local shop that replaced the radiator, flushed the cooling system, and confirmed that no coolant had made it into the transmission with a drain and fill. Dodged a bullet!

  • avatar

    Most manufacturers don’t recommend a transmission flush. Honda in particular says just “drop some fluid and fill”. With this method about 30-35% of the fluid gets replaced each time. Sounds a little weird but I did It on the Pilot until about 120,000 miles ( about 3-4 drop fluid and fill with Honda fluid). Then at about 130,000 miles too kind a trip NH White Mountain and climbed the auto road. Going up , my fluid smelled bad and I believe overheated. The manual recommends using premium fuel for towing and extreme climbs and I failed to do so that time. Yes I used low gear but still I could smell the fluid. I did e same trip before in my Ridgeline ( same engine) without issues but it had premium fuel and of course transmission fluid cooler. Anyway, when we came back home made an appointment at the local Honda dealer and explained the situation. He said in my case, a flush is appropriate with the brand new at the time Honda synthetic transmission fluid. Almost two years later and 173,000 miles and no issues. And this is the much maligned Honda 5 speed auto transmission.

    • 0 avatar

      I respect Honda for making fluid changes and most other maintenance on their vehicles fairly easy, that and generally surprisingly affordable OEM parts (aside from their “magic” fluids, ironically enough). It was very easy to do a drain and fill on my Pilot’s 178k mile transmission. Likewise replaced rear diff fluid which is key on those VTM-4 setups, which are quite different from a plain old diff that runs 75W-90 or whatever.

      • 0 avatar

        Gtem, when I had my Ridgeline every fluid I used on that car but brake fluid and engine oil was Honda fluid. I think the front differential fluid I’ve used was a high quality synthetic 75-90, but the rear was the Honda VTM-4 fluid.

        • 0 avatar

          Correct, the front diff on these is integrated with the transfer case and uses a familiar viscosity to “regular” SUVs and such. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it totally slipped my mind on the Pilot. Oh well it’s sold now anyways! The rear VTM-4 diff was chattery on mine when I bought it, noticeable when accelerating from a stop with the wheel turned (think turning onto a street). Changed the fluid and presto, quiet and smooth.

  • avatar

    Upselling and cross-selling is why I left Jiffy lube, to never return. Sajeev, the chance of someone with those kinds of observation skills and analytical skills to suggest a tailored and reasonable upsell on the spot are very few and very far in between. Yes, it is what’s on the print out most of the time, and it’s a waste of time, especially when they remove cabin air filter to show you that “look, it needs replacement.” “um… that looks pretty clean, and I’ll tell you why, it’s almost brand new, and the thought of you poking around my car makes me slightly nervous because you look really young and your hands don’t look clean.”

    Now if you run a tight shop and I develop a relationship with you, I’ll most certainly give you my business, chain or independent. I always appreciate people who take pride in their business while being really good at it. But I’m most certainly not going to assume that’s the case in most cases. Unless I drive beaters.

  • avatar

    Flush isn’t the best thing for newer transmissions. However I usually do a drop fill, if the fluid is looking tired. Now You usually only get about 1/3 out on a drop fill. So I would do a drop, then do another at say 3000 miles. If the fluid look good after this then I leave it otherwise another drop. If the fluid wasn’t to bad I wouldn’t even bother with the filter. Oh and by the way , I owned a distribution business using delivery vans. Got 400K plus miles out of these things without an engine or transmission overhaul. Clean fluids is the key.

  • avatar

    Drain and fill, the end.

  • avatar

    I’m personally a fan of drain-n-fill periodically. While I have heard horror stories about flushing killing transmissions, I also suspect some people only get a trans flush done AFTER they are having symptoms of failure in the transmission’s operation. It was going to go *kaboom* whether you serviced it or not.

    I drove a Ford ZX2, bought it with 100k on it. The trans fluid was dark and a little low, so I had Jiffy Lube flush it. Drove like a new car, shifted more smoothly, felt really nice. After 15-20k miles it didn’t feel quite as smooth, so I had it serviced again. That was the only car I’ve ever owned whose transmission felt different after a fluid change. A new set of tires makes even a tired old car feel nice for awhile, servicing the transmission on that particular one had the same effect. I got 180k out of that car before the rust monster ate the rocker panels.

    • 0 avatar

      My ’97 Crown Vic developed a really weird shaking at part throttle that felt just like driving over rumble strips. Consulting the Mechanics Of The Internet advised me to drain and fill the trans fluid. Presto, the shaking was gone. A rather dramatic case of the transmission feeling different after a fluid change!

      (This advice carried a strong collective asterisk to drain and fill rather than flush, as flushing the fluid on a 17 year old 4R70W autobox would have a high probability of being fatal.)

  • avatar

    Some serious questions beyond the sell, up, down or sideways.
    Will the shop actually do the “flush”? I read reports of shops getting caught charging for such services and not doing them.
    Then what condition is the equipment in? Clean or contaminated with the last ten fluid “flushes”?
    With the proliferation of many different transmission fluids in the last 25 years how is one machine going to avoid cross-contamination?
    I can understand with, first, the elimination of the drain plug from automatics, I think the last one was gone more than twenty years ago except on heavy duty trucks and vans, and then the fill tube with dipstick, that shops don’t want the trouble of removing the pan. Then cleaning it and finding a gasket.
    I say skip the flush. If you are planning to keep a vehicle for the long haul, get the trans pan removed and the filter replaced at about 60-80K miles. That will probably be all you need or can do to extend the life.

    • 0 avatar

      Cross contamination is what I always wondered about. Back when 80% of cars took Dexron 3 it wasn’t much of an issue, neither was antifreeze. Now you have so many varieties there’s no way that they’re purging the equipment after each use.

  • avatar

    Sajeev, synthetic oil is also “dino oil”, its not made in a lab. Synthetic oil is just a higher grade distillate from crude with less impurities. Why the industry calls it “synthetic” is beyond me.

    Anyway, yes, most fluid changes and transmission flushes (other than routine oil changes) are generally not needed as often as they are pitched by Jiffy Lube. Many newer cars have sealed transmissions that cannot be serviced by Jiffy Lube and Midas type employees anyway. Heck the local oil change hole still advises their customers that they need an oil change “every 3000 miles or 3 months” lest they risk engine damage.

    • 0 avatar

      While they can be made from petroleum base stock they are not always made from it.

      • 0 avatar

        While I’m not an expert, I deal with a lot of companies in the petroleum and lubricant business and one of the latest things they’ve been going on about are lubricants made from byproducts of natural gas production. Apparently traditionally these byproducts were not used but lately processes have been invented to convert them to quality lubricants.

        • 0 avatar

          Shell has a big gas-to-liquids plant in the middle east which produces base oils for many of their synthetic lubricants (Pennzoil and Quaker State being two of their brands).

          Earlier synthetic oils were not derived from dino oil, today some are dino based (Group III) and some are not (Groups 1V and V). Group III oils are allowed to be called synthetic in the US, but not in most other developed countries.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I change transmission fluid every 25k miles, no matter how old the car was when I bought it.

    My 09 Sedona and 13 Optima do not have transmission filters accessible to the home mechanic (they require dropping and disassembling the tranny), so it’s even more important to keep after it. Combined, they have 180k miles with no problems.

    I bought my former 01 Elantra at 138k miles, and its Jatco transmission was still good when it was traded at 201k. That car, to my great delight, had a SPIN-ON filter located on top of the transmission.

    BTW, Hyundai/Kia transmissions have a drain plug on the transmission, so they make it easy to change – no RTV/gasket mess.

    Every once in a while, I’ll do a double change to get 88% of the fluid instead of only 66%.

    At home, a fluid change costs me about $30 in materials, and an hour of time. Seems like cheap insurance.

    I suspect most mfrs have removed service intervals for transmissions because of leases and non-transferrable warranties. But they usually do suggest fluid change in harsh duty situations, which includes a lot of short trips and sitting in traffic. You don’t have to tow to be hard on a transmission.

  • avatar

    Fluid changes yes. Flushes, nothing much good ever comes of them.

  • avatar

    I followed the Honda “Maintenance Minder” on our Odyssey for the transmission fluid change. At 25k, it had become sluggish and clunky, more so than usual. After the change, it was like it was new again.

    Our Mazda 5 didn’t have a change interval specified. But after digging in the forums, it seemed that 30k was a good idea. Since the little four and 5 speed auto worked hard (but well) in that car in the hills of Pittsburgh, at 30k, the fluid was brown! I changed the fluid but never flushed it (and never changed the filter either)

    I wonder how many 5’s died early due to transmission failures at 60k or so. They never sold a lot, so it probably wasn’t class-action worthy like the Hondas. But the Mazda 3 in 2.3 form used the same drivetrain too and I don’t recall an uproar over that. Still not Honda level sales of that car either.

    I don’t think flushes are a good idea, unless it really might solve a problem. But it could create more problems too.

  • avatar

    I don’t know if flushes are great, especially if the transmission has a filter that needs to be changed since that the dirt in the filter probably wouldn’t come out in a flush. I definitely wouldn’t trust an Iffy Lube to touch any of my cars for any reason.

    My wife’s 2014 Jetta specifies a fluid/filter change every 50K miles for the 6 speed automatic, so I’ll definitely be doing that at 50K. The C-Max I bought recently specifies 150K.

    The Sportwagen I had specified 40K for the DSG, so I did it once myself. The hardest part was getting the battery tray out of the way on the wagon, then I did a measure and fill replacement and it didn’t blow up in the 35K miles I put on it before buyback. :)

  • avatar

    I used to do insurance claims handling, and one large client we had was a Jiffy Lube franchisee. They did something like 50,000 services a month across their multiple locations. They budgeted $1 per service (oil change, trans svc, etc) for “oops’s”. So they spent $50,000 a month replacing engines and transmissions, and would once in a great while either drive into the pit, or drive through the glass overhead doors in customer vehicles. It was amazing…double-gasketed filters, loose filters and drain plugs, oil in transmissions, trans fluid in engines, topping off Dexcool cars with regular green coolant. Statistically they were something like 99.5% trouble free, but when they screwed up, it got expensive. When you do that many services with minimally trained staff, things will go awry.

    • 0 avatar

      Nice post, thanks for the insight. Lately I have been going to my mechanic, but I have historically used the same Pennzoil for fifteen years. Same people for the most part the whole time, never had an issue.

    • 0 avatar

      I still remember when I was working one Sun afternoon at the old school service station when a guy drove a very new Toyota in and got out frantically saying that his oil light was on. I opened the hood and started investigating. Yeah there wasn’t any oil on the stick and there were signs of all the oil that had been spewing out at the filter to block junction. The filter also had some marks where someone had obviously used a tool to tighten it. He did say that he had just had the first oil change done at a quick change place yesterday.

      I removed the filter and found that there was no gasket. Luckily we had a filter in stock that worked, not that it was the “correct” one, so I was able to get him back on the road with an invoice detailing my findings and the oil filter w/o a gasket and tool marks from where the person had tried to tighten it to stop the leak. Never heard anymore on what happened. He did say that the oil light had first come on about a mile down the road with the 35 mph speed limit so not that good for engine life. I know I’d be asking for a brand new from Toyota engine since it was essentially a brand new car and running that long w/o oil pressure certainly hurt its life expectancy.

      • 0 avatar

        You’d be surprised. When I was a Nissan tech (late ’90s), I interned with a guy who told me about his one big screw-up. He changed the oil in a customer car and forgot to put oil back in. She drove it halfway across town before he called her on her cell phone. She pulled over where she was, he drove to her and put four quarts in. He specifically told her if she ever had any trouble to bring it back. She remained a customer and the car never showed any ill effects.

    • 0 avatar

      Had a Mazda 626 in college and took it to a Jiffy Lube for an oil change. While sitting in the waiting room a kid came out with a dirty oily stick saying my rear diff needed a drain and oil replacement. I of course being a poor college student declined the offer. About 3 months later the car developed a whine in the rear end. I took it in to a shop and the mechanic said “son, you need to replace the filler cap on the differential when you are done working on it”…

    • 0 avatar

      A dealer I used to work with had just built a new facility, complete with drive through lube bays. There was also a major lube chain in across the street. We discussed strategies on how to make his lube bays successful, and I noted how now he was equipped to essentially put the lube chain out of business if he was aggressive enough. To that he said, “I hope they don’t go out of business, they’re one of my best customers!”.

      His shop would easily get a few high grossing jobs a month like engines, transmissions and axle jobs because of screw ups at the lube chain.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      A friend had her oil changed at NTB (National Tire & Battery), paid, and drove home. Over the course of the 5-mile drive, her car (a leased Mazda 6) began smoking from under the hood, and clattering.

      At home, she discovered the oil cap was laid aside, and oil mist was all over the engine and underhood stuff. The technician forgot to actually add the oil, but he remembered to affix the oil change reminder sticker to the windshield!

      Adding 4 quarts of oil solved the problem, but all NTB would do is give her a coupon for a free oil change.

    • 0 avatar

      I was working at a Chevy dealer on a Saturday morning years ago when a woman drove up with a early 90’s Grand Prix making a lot of noise. She said she had taken it to the Jiffy Lube half a mile down the street from us for an oil change. They drained the oil first, when they went to pop the hood the hood release cable was broken. Since they couldn’t get the hood open they told her to DRIVE it to us with no oil in it, and once we got the hood release fixed they expected her to drive it back to them with no oil to finish the oil change.

    • 0 avatar

      Very interesting post! I’ve always thought that if you really value your car, never take it to Jiffy Lube, Quaker State, the corner gas station, etc for ANY service. I always get a kick out of seeing people drive a Mercedes S-Class into a Jiffy Lube for service by poorly trained, minimum wage workers who in all likelihood do not care about their car. But, they will up-sell you an overpriced air filter or a carbon buildup flushing…

      I used to take my cars to a “lube place” years ago when I didn’t know any better, and generally did not have any problems until they decided to start diluting their windshield washer fluid with water – in the middle of winter. The whole washer system froze up while I was driving on the expressway at below zero temperatures. I had to idle the car for about 30 minutes to defrost the lines, then pump ALL of the water mixed fluid out onto the windshield. Never again.

  • avatar

    Never every flush, especially at an Iffy Lube or Monkey Lube.

    I’ve never seen a mfg suggest a flush and I’ve seen more than one that says it is not an acceptable substitute for a proper drain, filter change and fill.

    The process of doing a flush by connecting to the cooling lines doesn’t really get that much more new fluid in the transmission than the traditional 1/3-1/2 that happens in a drain and fill. The fact is you are dumping new fluid into a pan that is full of old fluid and that significant percentage of fluid that does make it into the pump goes to the torque converter and that torque converter is a rapidly swirling volume of fluid that quickly mixes and new fluid with the old before sending it out to the cooler lines.

    The other problem is the multitude of different transmission fluids in use today. Most of the quick lube places use a “universal” fluid and some sort of drop in additive that is supposed to “convert” that universal fluid into a mfg spec equivalent. The problem with that is that it is often dosed after the flush is done so dosing is never really accurate. If they dump the converter in with the new fluid it may be better dosed but you also have the issue of some of the last additive used still being present. You also have the tech who isn’t going to measure and sell a partial bottle of converter so they just dump the entire bottle in.

    Here is the website of one of the biggest purveyors of transmission fluid conversion products.

    In short have someone drain, change the filter, clean off the magnet and bottom of pan and then refill with OE or truly OE equivalent fluid.

  • avatar

    Transmission fluid on my 8-speed Ram is supposed to be lifetime. It would worry me, but since I got a lifetime warranty, I don’t lose sleep over it. I also have not heard any horror stories from owners, the 8-speeds seem to be pretty bulletproof.

    And upside: no upsell from dealer either :-)

    You can change fluid if you want, but it involves dropping and replacing pan (with built-in filter) and then filling from bottom (just above pan IIRC).

  • avatar

    Pretty well all manufacturers have service bulletins advising against transmission “flushing” as it is done in quick lube chains. Most of them will simply hook up an exchange machine to the cooler lines and swap the fluid out.

    This doesn’t:
    -Clean the pan of any debris
    -Change the filter

    In fact, the flushing process can stir up clutch debris which can get lodged in the tiny sensitive passages in the valve body and elsewhere, causing problems.

    Flushing might only be acceptable AFTER the pan has been dropped, cleaned and new filter installed if only to exchange the fluid trapped in the converter.

    In otherwords, if the shop ain’t going to do it right, don’t do it at all.

  • avatar

    I’m an old British car guy and use to putting fluids in everything. Heck we even have oil in the carburetors. Also I see race cars change fluids all the time. And, since I keep my cars a long time, an occaisional flush or change seems like a good idea. Especially when I see dirt, water or worse in the pan.

  • avatar

    Change your fluids. All of them. And do it regularly per the schedule. But NEVER use any place but a trusted indy or the dealer when it comes to transmission fluid change. Or buy thr right stuff and diy. Jiffy lube uses a universal hydraulic fluid with additive pack for the vehicle. This doesnt work if you want your transmission to last. Use the oem stuff. And also do an exchange, not a flush…transmission fluid can be visually inspected via blot test, which is common in heavy industry, If its pink and clean without metallic debris (use a magnet) you are good to go. Once it starts to smell burned and darken, sample to lab for disgnosis or just change it out, car change outs are cheap enough…yellowish brown and burned and its likely you are past saving..Change it anyways and cross your fingers whle you save for a rebuild, sure the clutches ate worn but you need to try to save the bearings and pinions at that point.

    I am a powertrain engineer who had worked on overhaul and rebuild of multiclutch pack industrial gearboxes by the way.

    • 0 avatar

      Everything is built to a price point. Especially in automotive industry…however the gearboxes I work on have separate oil circuits for bearings pinio s and gear mesh points indepedent of clutch packs. If a clutch pack fails it doesnt take out the bearings gears and pinions. A manual transmission with a dry external clutch obviously segragates gear lube from the clutches. There is no reason in 2018 to not rethink the automotive automatic to fix this design flaw of deeply buried wet clutches and shared hydraulic oil circuit and move to 100% computer controlled shifting

      • 0 avatar

        Dry dual clutch does exactly this. Consumers reject them because consumers largely suck at operating machinery. Ford powershift works just fine (driven one for a year) if you actually DRIVE it and dont insist on creeping along below 2 to 3 mph for extended periods of time while on the wouldnt do that in a manual, youd kill it or get car hop same with a dual clutch, which is essentially an automated manual.

  • avatar

    I’m really surprised by the manufacturers’ approach on this.

    On my LX570, it’s not like they just ignored fluid changes. There are specified change intervals in the manual for absolutely everything else, from the AHC hydraulic suspension fluid (60k) to the transfer case (30k) to front and rear diffs (30k) to power steering (60k) to coolant (30k). But there is no change interval for the transmission fluid. And to my knowledge the fluid is original, at 7 years and 67k miles. I’ll probably tell my mechanic to do a couple of drain and fills next time I take the truck for an oil change, but I wish there would be guidance on the interval, even if most people ignored it.

  • avatar

    I do brake fluid flushes every 2-3 years like some, but not all, mfgs recommend.

    Transmission fluid I like to do every 50,000 miles with synthetic or at 1/2 the regular service interval the mfg recommends. I do so to be conservative. Replacing automatic transmissions is expensive and more common than replacing engines. I do the work myself, so cost is modest.

    I’m nervous about the power flush transmission fluid machines and the solvent/cleaner they often run through as part of the process. Some shops also use dino based transmission fluid and magic bottles of ATF improver to supposedly meet higher specs. Lubeguard is popular brand. Not for me.

  • avatar

    I drive for Uber in the side here and there and when I first got my 17 Impala it had around 28,000 miles on it which was a lot for only being a year old.

    I’d say around the 35K mark, the tranny was shifting a bit harsh, not bad per se but noticeably different than when I first got it.

    I read online that these GM 6 speeds have a small drain plug that drains 5 quarts of fluid, so I bought some Dexton VI and changed it myself as the dealer wanted over $150 just to loosen a 11mm bolt, ya right I’m not getting ripped off like that ever again. To my surprise I was shocked to see how dark the fluid was at only 35K miles!! Very dark red in color and it smelt bad.

    The service intervals on these tranny’s is every 60K, shoot if I went with that service interval, I could be looking at a new transmission soon or at least a prematurely worn one.

    It took 3 drain and refills to finally get the fluid back to that bright red color, and now the trans shifts like butter. It goes to show that sometimes you have to take upon yourself to get the results you need. Just imagine the cost for back to back drain n refills at the dealer or a Indy shop? Insane amount of money wasted for a 10 min DIY ordeal. The job is so easy anybody could do it with basic hand tools. With modern cars having more powerful drivetrains that get very hot and some not having a separate trans coolers, it’s even more vital to do a drain and refill periodically if your vehicle has a drain plug because the fluid can overheat much faster than what the manufacturers are willling to tell you.

    I’m pretty hardcore when it comes to fluid changes, so personally I’ll probably drain another 5 quarts of trans fluid in 10K miles so the transmission constantly has fresh fluid in its system. Shouldn’t have any long term trans issues (cross my fingers) if I stick to that plan unless it gets taken out by something totally out of my control.

  • avatar

    Every year when my car went in for service under warranty, the BMW dealer tried to get me to have the tires rotated and balanced, and an alignment done. This despite the fact that the car tracks like a train, is smoother than a baby’s butt at 100+ mph, and the tires wore all but perfectly evenly as befits a car with 50:50 weight distribution. And BMW says right in the owner’s manual that
    “tire rotation is not recommended”. And of course, not covered under the maintenance warranty, so that would be $300 please. Uh, no, thanks.

    They gave up when I bought the second one from them.

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