ATF Service

Recently needed a ATF service for my 2006 Honda Civic with 63K miles. I did the 1st ATF service @ 38K miles (reg. drain & fill w/filter change). The dealer says a full flush with fluid exchange is a good idea since it replaces ALL the ATF in the transmission. But a trusted independent Honda shop doesn?t offer the ATF flush & fluid exchange because it puts undue pressure on the transmission system & ? stirs things up inside? which can make things worse. So, is it worth the extra $ to do the fluid exchange? Or is the standard drain & fill method good enough. The car isn?t having any transmission issues like hard shifting, slipping, etc. Just interested in making the car last a long time with proper maintainence.

For most cars, the standard drain and fill with any appropriate pan drop and filter change should be OK.

I have one car I do this way and the others (including a 95 truck) get the fluid exchange and filter change/pan drop and the transmissions have all survived well. No differences in performance so far.

Oy. There must be 100 threads about this.

The dealer wants to pay for the expensive flush machine they bought.

Never ever do anything with the transmission fluid without first dropping the pan & changing the filter. It is true that this only changes a percentage (varying by trans) of the fluid, so if you want all clean fluid, drop the pan/filter, and then do a fluid exchange, not a flush.

If you just do your own pan/filter service every 30K you are golden.

There is no downside to a fluid exchange. It uses the vehicle’s own pump to provide the fluid transfer. That means that it is 100% transparent with 24/7 operation of the transmission. It “stirs” nothing up.

Avoid anything solvent in nature unless you have a trans that you’re trying to “make last until”. You’re not in that position. If you ever do want a safe cleaning agent, Auto-Rx has worked well for me where varnished bores were hanging up valves (these were older pure hydraulic transmissions) and altering shifting points.

Honda’s don’t have transmission pans that can be dropped and only certain models even have filters. Also, most transmission flush machines i’ve worked with use the transmissions own fluid pump and therefore puts no additional pressure on the system.

I actually had an ATF service done on my Accord at the dealer recently. Usually I use my local mechanic but he doesn’t carry OEM fluid and the dealer quoted me less for the work. Anyway, the service writer said these exact words to me: “Honda doesn’t recommend flushing these transmissions, so all we do is a drain and refill.” Music to my ears.

Have the fluid drained and refilled & you will be in business.

The drain and fill uses 2.6 quarts. The total fill is 6.3. For the simplicity of the exchange (easily done in any driveway with a screwdriver and some hose) it makes more sense to me to change it all out. Under the drain and refill method, it will take 3 or 4 evolutions to make the newer fluid out weigh the original.

IIRC, this is the Honda/Acura 5 speed that needed an oil jet refit and is prone to pressure switch issues later on.

My 2007 Accord V6 auto, Honda recommended service is drain and fill with Honda tranny fluid every 30k. Nothing else. No flush,filter change.

I’m all in favor of Honda ZEN when it comes to engines, I wouldn’t put the same unqualified faith in their automatics. Check out the Acura forums to see how the identical running gear performs in terms of longevity for the younger …or perhaps more adventurous crowd. Not everyone who drives a Civic drives around with an expression that is not unlike “Bob” on the Enzyte commercial.

The maintenance schedule takes into account that only 2.6 quarts are drained at each drain and fill. If you follow the schedule, you will never need to flush the system. I am kind of curious how the filter was replaced on a Honda though.

Follow the schedule and use the Honda ATF. You won’t have any problems that way.

Hey- Thanks for all the great advice & info from everyone. I’m gonna stick with the drain & fill method for now until the mileage is much higher- Thanks!