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Old 03-11-2013, 04:38 PM   #1
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ATF Never changed in 135K Miles - Leave or Change it?


My parents own a 1995 Honda Odyssey (LX I believe) with an automatic transmission and 135,000 miles. They are not much into cars, so they don't really keep up with any maintenance besides tires/oil changes unless told by a technician. Recently they went to get new tires and the technician suggested they get new transmission fluid. I know a little about cars... just enough to get by... so they called me first and I said they should hold off and possibly never change the fluid since it wasn't changed periodically.

Basically, they are the original owners, have driven it 135,000 miles and never changed the automatic transmission fluid. I don't know if they should at this point because I have heard that changing the auto trans fluid in a high-mileage car that has never had its transmission fluid changed can cause the transmission to fail shortly after. But on the other hand, some people feel that is so rare, and it also depends on the the make/model of the car, that they just say to change the fluid even with high miles and no previous transmission fluid changes since they've never known anyone to have this problem.

So should I tell them to change their transmission fluid? Or should I tell them to never change the fluid since the car has high mileage and didn't have the transmission fluid changed on time?


Thanks a bunch.
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:52 PM   #2
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ATF Never changed in 135K Miles - Leave or Change it?


I'd have someone change the filter and the fluid!
Have to drop the pan anyway to change the fliud so why not change the filter right in front of them.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:22 PM   #3
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ATF Never changed in 135K Miles - Leave or Change it?


I had my transmission fluid changed the other day. I have had the vehicle for 8+ years and have driven it about 150000 miles. I had noticed that the shifting was getting erratic and the mechanic suggested the fluid change. Without noticing any problem, I would probably not changed it ever.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:44 PM   #4
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ATF Never changed in 135K Miles - Leave or Change it?


Changing the fluid will not harm the trans. Most horror stories you hear are people that are already having shifting issues and then it completely goes out shortly after changing the fluid so they blame the fluid change. If there is nothing wrong with the trans it will not hurt it. If you have a shifting problem changing the fluid seldom fixes it.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:27 PM   #5
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ATF Never changed in 135K Miles - Leave or Change it?


Awesome, thanks guys, I'll make sure to have them change the ATF and the filter. I just didn't want them doing it until I had a better idea of whether or not it would hurt the trans, and considering that their auto transmission shifts wonderfully I'm assuming the fluid change most probably won't hurt it and will likely help the transmission long term.

Thanks again! Much appreciated
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:45 PM   #6
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ATF Never changed in 135K Miles - Leave or Change it?


I would say yes to fluid and filter. This will leave some old fluid in the tranny.
Lets pretend your tranny holds 9 quarts. dropping the pan will remove 6 quarts and still be 3 old quarts in tranny.
To cure this, they may suggest a tranny flush. They will hook up some kind of machine and pump new fluid through it until it is all fresh fluid.

It is the flush that disturbs loose dirt and debris, metal shavings and such. It is these that get a flush on high mileage vehicles that end up with transmission problems shortly after.

On the other hand, just dropping the pan and changing the fluid that comes out and the filter, I have not heard of others having problems.

I just wanted to point the difference out, a flush will be an up sell and more money and commission to the salesman. Avoid the flush and just go for a change.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:48 PM   #7
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ATF Never changed in 135K Miles - Leave or Change it?


Another poster already somewhat debunked the myth on transmitions going out after a fluid change. Complete myth. I am sure there are many that have but, as an earlier poster surmised, the trans was probably on its way out anyway.

Most auto repair shops are not equipped to do a full fluid chjange on trans'. Dropping the pan will only get about 4 wuarts out of the system. Pro trans shops have methods of flushing the system to do a complete change. There are some auto trans' out there that hold upward of 10 quarts.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:50 PM   #8
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ATF Never changed in 135K Miles - Leave or Change it?


The myth is the same with flushes they will get a more complete fluid change. Flush machines use the trans pump to move the fluid through the trans filter. If there is metal shavings and a lot of debris to get loosened up them the trans is already damaged.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:02 PM   #9
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ATF Never changed in 135K Miles - Leave or Change it?


Their are different types of flush machines. I personally would never do a flush on anything. No offense but I am not a big fan of those Oddesseys. They are known for their tranny problems. The fluid may actually be rated for 100,000 miles. You may not even have a filter to change. You will be fine to change the filter and pan gasket. Make sure the place you take it is using the proper fluid and not trying to cheap out on you. Their is a long list of never to do things when changing the fluid but a shop should know the list.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:30 AM   #10
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ATF Never changed in 135K Miles - Leave or Change it?


Change it.

The BG flush is the best of the bunch. It is pressure controlled and does not loosen anything that is not already circulating in most cases.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:14 AM   #11
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ATF Never changed in 135K Miles - Leave or Change it?


Make certain that they use the correct fluid. J3309 if I'm not mistaken. Flush using tranny pump is best and second would be a single change followed by another in 5000. Alternately, you can simply drain what you can from the oil cooler on the radiator and replenish what you take out. Do this seven or eight times with driving in between and/or until you see the fluid coming out pink as new.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:17 AM   #12
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ATF Never changed in 135K Miles - Leave or Change it?


pan should have been dropped a long time ago and transmission fluid changed. Any oil change place offers the service.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:44 AM   #13
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ATF Never changed in 135K Miles - Leave or Change it?


So glad to see everyone debunking the ATF change myth. Thought we'd get at least a couple superstitious natives in this thread
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:43 PM   #14
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ATF Never changed in 135K Miles - Leave or Change it?


Talk about a mess! I cracked open the pan on a 91 Olds with 160k and ATF went everywhere. The pan was gooey. The fluid had never been changed. I cleaned the pan, changed the filter, replaced the fluid and it worked great.

I wili be changing the fluid and filter on my 95 Villager when it warms up here. At least the Villager has a tranny drain plug.
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:47 PM   #15
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ATF Never changed in 135K Miles - Leave or Change it?


Beware- "dropping the pan" for a trans fluid change on a Honda- I believe Hondas do not drop their pan, but have a 3/8" socket hole/drain plug, unlwess pre 2001 was different. Also, Hondas are notorious for not being able to vchange out filter as unlike Chryslers, etc, they do NOT have a filter (early 2000's, etc, not 100% sure about pre 2000). Their filter is burried deep in the tranny itself, making changing one impossible.

Thats why so many of them fail, as once they get plugged with goo, they starve the clutches of fluid.

Also, never heard of "old fluid being good" for a tranny. Bogus info. A AT needs fluid changed every 3 yrs.In Florida/Arizona, every 12-18 months! Its no way like a MT where one can go 10 years without new oil change......
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