2012 Mazda Mazda5 ATF

Having difficulty finding non OEM ATF for 2012 Mazda 5. Mazda fluid is WAY too pricy and I’m not confident that it is all that great compared to other brands.

Did you bother to check your owners manual for specifications for the ATF? I’m frankly doubtful that the OEM ATF fluid is not “all that great compared to other brands”. If you’re having issues with your transmission now, I’d suspect fluid that was never changed before I’d blame the OEM fluid (granted you didn’t really tell us much of anything with what’s going on with your Mazda 5)

Mazda does not make fluids, but they do specify the formula and they are not going to sell an inferior product with their name on it. Besides you don’t do a transmission fluid change very often anyway.

I was easily able to find non-OEM fluid matching the Mazda requirement from the user manual of my 2013 Mazda 3.

User Manual would have a “specs” section with fluid typoe and volume listed.

Check sites of Valvoline, Castrol, etc… for the fluids matching to your Mazda fluid spec, it will be less expensive than OEM.

For my CX-9 that was a 2010, Valvoline Maxlife was a good match. Read the label on the bottle and see if it matches what the owner manual says.

WM has it for ~ $18, Autozone for $20 for 4 qt jug.

What’s great about the Mazda ATF is that you know it works. Mazda sells replacement fluids that are guaranteed to work in their vehicles. All you need to do is buy it. They want return business on cars, and will provide good products for you. If you are willing to evaluate other fluids properly to see that they meet Mazda specs, and it seems that you are, then you can save a little money.

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Advance Auto sells the tranny fluid for your vehicle.


I’m not currently having any problems with the transmission, but the vehicle has 50K miles and the ATF is a dirty brown color. In all the other cars I’ve ever owned the ATF always remained red in color. Mazda’s Owner’s Manual does not give any recommended ATF check or change interval, nor do they give any ATF specs., and of course they only recommend Mazda ATF. So, my concern is that Mazda’s ATF may not be the best fluid for the 5’s transmission.

Here’s what the color of the transmission fluid indicates.


I really don’t understand why you think that . No matter the brand of vehicle I would use their branded fluid without a second thought.

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Rather than dithering about whether the OEM fluid is the absolute best fluid that you can find, I think you should focus on the reality that dirty brown fluid should be drained sooner–rather than later–if you want to keep that expensive transmission functioning. Even if Mazda’s own OEM fluid isn’t the ne-plus-ultra of fluids, it is surely lightyears better than the badly-degraded fluid that is currently in your transmission.

My suggestion is to do a fluid swap a.s.a.p. with the Mazda OEM fluid, and then over the next few years, you can take your time researching all of the other possible fluids before you do the next change at 80k miles.

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Thanks for your input. Mazda 5 Owner’s Manual only specifies Genuine Mazda ATF – no other specs. or alternative equivalents. I checked Valvoline’s website and they list the Valvoline MaxLife full synthetic ATF for the Mazda 5, so I’ll probably go with it and see if it holds up better than the OEM ATF, which turned brown/darkened prematurely.

I guess we are blaming the fluid instead of entertaining the thought that there might be a problem with the transmission .


Thanks for your input. My Mazda 5 Owner’s Manual only specifies Genuine Mazda ATF – no other specs. or alternative equivalents. Castrol lists one of their ATFs as “suitable” for the Mazda 5, but not on their “recommended” list of vehicles. The only alternative ATF that seems to fully meet the 5’s requirements is Valvoline MaxLife full synthetic. The reason I’m looking for an alternative ATF is because my vehicle’s ATF fluid has turned brown with less than 50K miles on it. I’ve never owned a car that had ATF that didn’t retain a red/pink color. Other Mazda 5 owners have noted the same color change and have expressed their concerns that either the fluid breaks down too easily, there is insufficient fluid cooling, or that perhaps the transmission is not robust enough for the vehicle’s size. The Mazda Owner’s Manual does not recommend an ATF change interval for the Mazda 5, but Mazda Service Departments do–and the cost is not insignificant. So, I ask, Mazda–does the ATF need to be changed or does it not?

Thanks for the info., Tester!

Yes, I do/have entertained the thought that indeed there may be a problem with either the transmission or the ATF cooling system. I just hope a fluid change now is not too late.

Even though the Mazda Owner’s Manual doesn’t give a recommended ATF change interval, my fluid’s color ranks in the “Bad/Change” category. So, hopefully it’s not too late to change it now!

It’s never too late to change the transmission fluid. Unless it’s burnt.

Have a two stage transmission fluid service performed.

Drop the pan to check for debris, and to change the filter.

If things in the pan look good, then flush the transmission to replace all the fluid.

The alternative is, drive the vehicle until the transmission destroys itself.


I bought my CX-9 with only 20K miles on it and the fluid was still brown. So I did 3 drains and refills and kept changing it every 15K Miles thereafter.

I will look on the Mazda forums and see what other people are saying. Also check on the bob is the oil guy forum.

Even with my 2 Hyundai’s I am using Maxlife. It is synthetic and meets specs for a lot of cars. For all we know, Mazda might be ordering their fluid from Valvoline.