2016 Kia Optima Transmission Fluid Change

Just changed the trans fluid on my wife’s optima. Getting the bottom skirt off was a pain in the neck. Drained the fluid (easy to open the nut) and it dropped 3.5 quarts. I then added fluid through the top vent port and it took an hour as it had to burp the air when the fluid went in. Was a pain and was so slow. Used Valvoline Max Life fluid. Her car had just short of 21k. Will go till the fall and redo a drop/change. No leaks. No issues through the vent top. The fluid coming out was light red and looked a little “used”. The new fluid going in was bright red and nice of course. Hardest part is getting the skirt off and then adding fluid/putting the skirt back on. Wish she bought a camry but they are “boring”.

Sounds like this is the same as my wife’s 2002 Sonata, just a simple drain and fill and no filter to change.

I changed the fluid every 40,000 miles and sold the car to Carmax with 160,000 miles on it and never had a problem with the transmission at all

To play it safe i got the official Hyundai fluid from the dealer.because i could’nt find an aftermarket fluid that met the Hyundai specs. Are you sure the max life fluid meets the Kia specs?

I had the same problem with trapped air, but when i raised the funnel a 1/4 of an inch the air was able to escape and pouring was quick and easy.

yeah, the vavloline meets or beats the Toyota, honda, kia, Hyundai, and a few others. on the back side of the gallon bottle. as for raising the funnel, it was hard for me to pour and hold the funnel like that but I think it burped better that way like you said. When a video I have for another Kia car I found online, he pours the stuff in like it’s a drink in a glass. Was wondering if one can open the overflow cap and let air out there. If fluid leaks out there when you pour, then you can’t do that. Wish I had a small periostaltic (sp) pump to let it pump in over an hour. Next time I might try holding the funnel and see if it works on my car. was a pain going over an hour. And if I filled the funnel too high, it overflowed the vent pipe and sat at the top of it but didn’t drain out as I stopped pouring.

as for the filter, I think the black housing where the vent is atop of, a trans filter is contained in there but not totally sure. Also, didn’t look to see how easy that would be to take off and put a new filter in. On my 1994 Camrys, I changed the trans filter a few times (take off pan and put new filter in) and they were always clean. My rav 4 that has 48K hasn’t had the filter changed yet but I changed the fluid about 6-7 times (drain and refill).

This goes against everything I’ve learned.
Can you help me understand how you’ve arrived at this conclusion?
Thank you.

I have done this quite a few times on our 2013 Sonata, same engine and transmission. The skirt is a pain but now I have a lot of practice.
There is a side port for the level check, comes off with a 3/8 inch wrench. It is plastic. I am wondering if you didn’t take that off and hence had the slow filling issue.
Also, you have to get the temp close to 120-140 F and then check the level through the side port. There is a youtube video of a guy doing this on his Sonata, watch it.
I use a temp gun, but I believe when your fan kicks in, your temp is right.

For my boat to change lower end fluid I have a pump that screws onto a jug, of course they changed the jugs so I have to pour the new oil into an old jug to pump. The process basically fills from the bottom and screws into the bottom drain screw hole. Just a thought you might find one or adapt a fitting and fill it from the drain hole.

it’s on the bottle and tested in labs. I’m a scientist and understand the tests and results they get. Aftermarket fluids have to meet or beat to support the magnoson (sp) moss act.

Hi oilman:
Thanks for your update.
I’m not sure my reply was clear.

When you stated:

yeah, the vavloline meets or beats the Toyota, honda, kia, Hyundai, and a few others.

I interpreted it as your saying that Valvoline transmission fluid was equal or better than the manufacturer’s specific transmission fluids.

Is that what you meant?

There’s a video and discussion here: