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Acura 3.2 TL transmission

I have a 1999 with 170,000 mostly highway miles and dirty transmission fluid. A mechanic told me not to change it…I start a new job soon, many more highway miles. Should I change the fluid or just cross my fingers? I was past the 100,000 miles when the extended warranty was announced.

When was the last time the fluid was changed??


Change it now. Your fluid will only turn to rusty water. All of the benefits of the fluid have long been used up. Get the fluid vacuumed out and re-filled for about $100 at a chain establishment. Many of these have ASE certified mechanics. Be sure to check the level twice after you have it done. Park on cement overnight to check for leaks under the car.

Don’t know the last change date. I took a look at 2 maintenance receipts from October 2008, older one suggested a flush, newer one said transmission fluid was ok. I’ll take it in this weekend for a change. Thanks for the info.

While the extended warranty has expired, take comfort in the fact that your '99 is one of the more reliable 2nd gen TLs, as demonstrated by your high mileage. I have a '00 3.2TL which is one of the more problematic years for this model but I’ve lucky with 99,980 miles to date without a problem. It gives me peace of mind to do a drain and fill on my car’s transmission once a year because it is so easy to do. The trans has a drain plug like the engine oil pan and ~3 qts drains out; I replace it with 3 qts. fresh ATF* and I’m good to go.

It would be a good idea to do this service to your car if it hasn’t been done in a while (i.e. the last 30K miles). The reason I described the drain and fill is that if you decide to have a shop do this, you’ll have an idea of how much it should cost (not much), as it’s a simple and quick procedure. These cars have otherwise “sealed” transmissions, there isn’t much else you can do service-wise. Also keep in mind that Honda does not recommend transmission flushes on these vehicles so be careful what you allow to be done and get charged for when you have the trans fluid service performed.

Make sure you or the shop uses ATF-Z1 (only Honda makes ATF-Z1) or compatible fluid only in your trans. I say compatible, and a lot of people may take issue with that, but *I’ve been using Amsoil ATF with a little LubeGard Platinum in my '00 with great results for over three years now - it works great.

Good luck, you have a really nice car that should serve you well for many more miles!