$330 to flush my transmission

An independent shop wants $330 to flush the transmission on my 2003 VW Passat GLX 4-motion Wagon.

This seems totally outrageous! I don’t think the maintenance manual for the car ever calls for a transmission flush, especially one for $330.

Any comments?

What does your owners manual say about flushing???

$330 seems very very high. What they may be doing is dropping the pan and changing the filter. If it’s very difficult the drop the pan (which I doubt) then maybe it could cost that much. I’d check with a shop that specializes in Transmissions or VW’s.

My comment is that if this isn’t a shop that specializes in transmissions, then I wouldn’t let them touch it. And considering they was to “flush” it, I’d guess that it isn’t a transmission shop.

$330 is insane, except…VW sometimes has wacky, specialized fluid specs. There may be a bundle in transmission fluid, but I don’t know. You could ask.

As for the owner’s manual, transmission service recommendations are one of the few things to ignore. In most cases the pan should be dropped, inspected & filter changed every 30K miles. No flush necessary.

VW uses a lifetime fluid. In order to properly fill the transmission I believe a VAG (VW scanner) is required to read the transmission temperature fluid. So there is more involved than usual.

I also wonder if they are using the OEM fluid also?

This is a kit of parts involved: http://www.blauparts.com/proddetail.asp?prod=F2A1007-F and likely cheaper than what a shop (fairly) marks up.

I know because I helped an acquaintance a bit with it who did it DIY.

I think the majority of VW/Audi owners simply take lifetime fluid to heart and drive on blissfully.

Lifetime fluid…hardee-har-har. Maybe for the lifetime of a typical VW.

Transmission Flush = Wallet Flush…

Exchanging the fluid by tapping into the cooling lines doesn’t FLUSH anything. It leaves all the crud in the filter and the bottom of the pan. Again, nothing gets flushed other than your wallet…

VW uses a transmission with “lifetime” fluid that supposedly never needs to be changed or flushed. However VW transmissions are also prone to failure, likely because they never get new fluid.

Therefore doing a transmission service on a VW is more complicated since VW didn’t really make it easy to service the transmission. I don’t know what a reasonable figure is for a transmission service on a VW. Get some other prices with a description of just what they are going to do and how they will do it.

$330 is a lot, but if it is a well done job perhaps it will save the transmission and that saves you money in the long run.

My daughter just put a new transmission in a Jetta, circa 2003. The trans acted up several years ago and they had the fluid changed and got a couple of years more life out of it until it died completely 6 months ago.

If your trans has no issues so far, perhaps getting it serviced now will keep you ahead of the curve and ward off the grim reaper of trannys for awhile.

You should only hear about a flush when referring to the rest room or a brake job.

You are better off getting a fluid change and having the filter cleaned.

If you check the owner’s manual, of most any car today, it will not list fluid changes in the maintenance listing. I don’t know why all manufacturers are doing this, but most all automatic transmission cars will benefit by a regular (30 - 40,000 miles) transmission fluid change with filter clean.

Many many people end up getting their transmission serviced only after it starts showing signs of a problem. By then it is almost always too late.

Note: fluid change is not the same as fluid flush. Don’t do the flush, except for brakes.

‘Lifetime Fluid’ - BS.

Even ZF, the trasnmission manufacturer for VW debunked this one. Check page 4 of the document from ZF. http://www01apps.zf.com/kst464/ZF_InteroeleV2_manager/Work/2010-07-01/TE-ML%2011_en0700.pdf

Also, I like this guy’s line of thought. “If you go to the dealership, they may tell you that VW/Audi have lifetime fluid and is not serviceable. What they mean is that when old fluid causes excess wear or leaks out, it ends the economically useful lifetime of your car, so come back and buy a new car. Lifetime can often mean it lasts for the lifetime of your car’s warranty.” http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q/b5/auto_trans_ATF.htm

Also, A VAG scanner is NOT required. More BS to justify asked you to pay the boat payment. Unless they actually purchased one at VW prices!

Joseph raises a good question that I never understood. Why is it that almost no owners manuals list trans fluid changes?

I’m reluctant to accept it being a conspiracy theory by the car makers to get us to buy new cars more frequently.

Anyone have any insight on this?

At an SAE meeeting one time I asked the Powertrain Chief Engineer of GM that very question, not as a consumer of course.

His answer was that most people are rather ignorant about checking their transmissions or the need to change the fluid. He believed the average person would do more harm than good be checking or trying to check his transmission and perhaps putting in the wrong fluid. As a result, GM had decided to do away with the dipstick, since he firmly believed that the fluid was “good for the life” of the car.

This was at a time when GM still thought it was smarter than its customers. I believe it was also part of the movement to create a “maintenance free” car. I don’t think it has anything to do with creating a demand for more cars. Since the rest of the car has improved immensely over the years, it has increased business for transmission shops. With European cars the rationale is different; they are driven about 1/2 the distance that US cars are, and then most older ones get exported to developing countries, where low pay mechanics can do all those needed overhauls when they are needed.

The price isn’t out of line BUT does this shop have experience with VW transmissions ? If not walk away fast ! VW transmissions have very specific fluid requirements and as far as I know only the original Exxon fill and a Pentosin synthetic meet the requirements .
And a flush is a bad idea - drop the pan , change the filter and refill - thats the best option .

I don’t think this qualifies as a “conspiracy theory” b/c I just call it economics, but in my own interpretation it is contrary to the interests of car makers to shoot for maximum longevity. A car that makes it 100K or so without major issue is probably good enough to look ok in terms of quality. Partly perhaps b/c this number seems burned onto consumer’s minds as well (my dad always told me car’s are only good for 100K). 100K also works well for coinciding with having a car paid off, people getting bored or whatever - so then getting a new car becomes more probable. Obviously new car sales are what it is all about.

Most transmissions these days can go 100K w/out service. Its just that they are unlikely to go much past that before beginning problems. This kind of thing is good for car makers since those problems will get more people onto the lots. Its not good for the consumer who wants to maximize longevity.

The short story is that to me official manufacturer service recommendations are about getting a car past its warranty period. That is the only interest involved in developing those recommendations. (Its why I don’t follow my GM oil life monitor and why I’ve never actually looked at what any of my manuals say about transmission service).

Toyota has gone to this Lifetime transmission fluid also…And I still change it every 40-50k miles. It’s a very specific fluid. It’s expensive…but not that expensive. For some reason in the town next to mine there are 4-5 transmission shops within a mile of each other…I’ve been going to one (Trans Medic) for years.

[b] Transmission Flush = Wallet Flush…

Exchanging the fluid by tapping into the cooling lines doesn’t FLUSH anything. It leaves all the crud in the filter and the bottom of the pan. Again, nothing gets flushed other than your wallet…[/b]

Which is typically exactly where it will stay. If it’s not in suspension, exchanging the fluid isn’t going to liberate it from the bottom of the pan. No turbulent action is occurring …any more than when you drive. What’s the problem?

Naturally being anal retentive creatures, we like to “tidy up” …so to speak.

…but back on topic…the Teutonic’s complicate stuff as a life goal. They’ve managed to bring LTR’s with their cars back into the higher $$$ maintenance items that they always were. They’ve just moved it out to the (typical American) 2nd owner. They bite just as hard as they used to. Just not in the smaller increments that they used to.

"My comment is that if this isn’t a shop that specializes in transmissions, then I wouldn’t let them touch it. And considering they was to “flush” it, I’d guess that it isn’t a transmission shop. "

I’m also very dubious when it comes to transmission “flushes” but what’s wrong with just having your go-to mechanic drop the pan, change the filter, and put in 4 or 5 quarts of fresh ATF? It’s not rocket science and isn’t any more difficult than any other preventive maintenance.

I’ve never dealt with a VW before. What’s so difficult about dropping the pan on them? Many manufacturers are very particular when it comes to fluids (eg, Chrysler & Honda). So long as a mechanic uses the proper fluid (and not the generic stuff with additive pack), what’s the challenge in dropping the pan and swapping filters?

Exactly. Which is why manufacturer recommendation on oil changes does not interest me, once the warranty is past. They have not told us the intended life expectancy of the car their recommended oil change cycle is based on. I now know, thanks to Blackstone, when to change the oil in my car with my driving pattern.

To clarify: if it was a specialty transmission shop then I would defer to their expertise regarding this transmission and what it required. I.e., I’d assume they know more than I do.

If its just a general repair shop, on the other hand, I’d assume that they probably just have some kind of a machine to pay for and are trying to charge crazy prices for things.

In general, yes, a basic transmission service is very straightforward & any shop can do it. In this case…something fishy about the shop, or something weird about this transmission that may require more than the normal, everyday procedure.

So I wasn’t saying only transmission shops should do trans service - only that this shop shouldn’t be doing whatever it plans to do at the rate it plans to charge.

Just went to Merchants Tire 2/3/18 for the same thing.
Price quote was $129.00 to flush and change filter, and the fluid (everything included.) Could not get it done because my transmission is sealed, and the service center did not have the equipment for this. Suggested I take the car to the dealer, and you know what happens there. It would most likely be. 3 times your quote. Process takes an hour, not hard to do.
Greedy is the word. Shop around. Should take 4 gallons of transmission fluid, which one can find cheaper, 4 gallons for appox. $20.00 each, or less, the garage is going to charge more, that’s where over $100.00 is going, of the quote you got.
Went to Auto Clinic,( WASH DC METRO AREA) they wanted $300.00 called it a job price when I asked the labor rate, AND USE QUARTS INSTEAD OF GALLONS, SOME DIFFERENCE IN PRICE THAT WAY, and they only clean the filter not replace it. I will find a shop that let’s me bring my parts and they charge the labor only, will save some. The filter for my car is appox. $23.00 purchasing it online. Walmart $11.48 per gallon trans fluid / brand super tech/Advanced auto parts $19.99/ brand Castrol
Getting ready to buy 4 new tires. So far, priced at 2 places $600.00, includes alignment, balance ,steams, taking off old tires and putting on new ones, etc. THIS IS RIDICIOUS way to much. Tires $100.00 each not radials either. They had a lot of off the wall tires I never heard of for the same price.
I will find them cheaper online and have them sent to the shop that does the work. A used tire shop my put the new tires on. I use a BP service station and always bring my parts, and they charge labor, it’s cheaper, plus you get the warranty on the parts, if they get the parts, you get no warranty, and they charge you more than it cost’s them.

Hope this helps Have a VW Passat 2001