20007 Ford Fusion 15K miles - dealer say ATF needs changing?

Hi there, I have a 2007 Ford Fusion, just has 15k miles on. No problems, car runs great and I enjoy it. Today at the dealer when I got the oil changed and 15K service done, the dealer told me my ATF needs changing, that it was dark in color. Young lady at the service desk informed me that the mechanic said he usually doesn’t see it this dark until 30k miles. I declined the almost $200 service. Do you think they were trying to scam me because I am female? Note: a former car dealership tried to sell me on this previously - even did a dog an pony show with test tubes and various colors of oil. . . I declined that too and the car ran great for over years. My current car manual says nothing about changing the ATF until 100K miles. . . I want to be safe, but I am having a hard time believing my gently used car (I don’t commute) needs this service now. Please advise.

Definitely a scam . Go by the maintenance schedule that came with the car .
And when you have the car serviced tell them you want the service called for by Ford , not the extras the dealers always add on .

Look at the fluid yourself…15K miles as a little early unless the car is used in severe service like pizza delivery, something like that…$200 bucks sounds like a wallet flushing operation…

I got exactly the same song and dance at the Lexus dealer 10 years ago. My ES300 had 15,000 miles, they said I had to change the AT fluid. I said no, they refused to stamp my warranty book, I never went back. I found a good independent shop. You did right, but I wouldn’t wait until 100k miles, I change mine every 50,000 or so. But do check the level periodically.

100k change interval tells me SYNTHETIC ATF. Are you sure you have that? Regular ATF interval is about 35k and the one thing people forget - much to their regret later on. Is there a color difference between synthetic and regular ATF and a not-so-good service guy made the wrong conclusion on the right fluid?. If this is important to you, stop by an independent transmission shop and tell them all you want is for them to take out a little fluid, look at it and give an opinion. Ask what the minimum shop time cost is first. If it helps, please know scams work better on guys. Most of us guys don’t know beans about cars and won’t admit it. Tell us the framus jamus spud plug needs replacing and we’ll say we were thinking that might be the case. Good luck.

DO NOT go by the owners manual!!! Automatics need to be serviced every 25-30k miles… As far as you are concerned, your trans fluid should not be dark at only 15k. Thats a sign of a problem. Get a second opinion on the fluid condition, the dealer could be feeding you a line to get a $200 flush job out of you.


If the fluid is dark at 15k miles there’s a problem and odds are if the fluid is dark at 30k there’s a problem also.
Offhand, sounds like a sales pitch so get someone else to inspect the fluid color.

And those “factory recommendations” are pure garbage. This applies to many other maintenance items other than trans fluid and also applies to every other car maker on the planet.
They provide these extended intervals for one reason only; to make the car owner believe their vehicle needs very little maintenance.

You’ll probably find that most people who suffer transmission problems are the ones who chose to follow those change the fluid every 100k miles or never; whichever comes first.

(And Transman, my son’s 96 Camaro has now hit 250,000 miles on his 4L60E with nothing ever being done to it or needed other than 30k miles pan drops and fluid changes. It still shifts like new so I guess that’s a good example of what regular fluid changes will accomplish.)

250k is awesome for a 4L60E, and in a Camaro at that…I usually see the sun shells go on the fast cars and the 4X4’s. They take a beating… Your son must baby it. My neighbor has a 94 Chev 1500 4X4 with a 4L60E. He only has 80k on it and has serviced every 30k. He was knocking on my door the other day cause he was in limp mode. Long story short, scanner showed a code 66 (3-2 downshift solenoid). When it didnt ohm out right, I dropped the pan and couldnt believe what I was looking at. It was just immaculate. I did the service while I was in there but I havnt seen a 60E that clean in a long time.


Actually, he doesn’t baby it but he doesn’t flog it too much either other than 2 trips to the drag strip with it.
The pan was off about 20k miles back and it was still clean as a pin.

Matter of fact, he left the car here for me a while back for some maintenance and I drove it on an out of state trip (600 miles both ways) and the car still performed flawlessly.
He was carping some about the fuel mileage but on this trip it got a shade over 30 MPG on the open road which is not too shabby for a high mileage car.
(When I did the compression check during the maintenance the engine still had 190 PSI on every cylinder. Who would have ever thought that. Even when brand new it wouldn’t have been any better.)