Castrol ATF

And the price difference ($17) is nothing in the overall scheme of things, so your choice is a good one.


Honestly, no, I don’t think anyone has any scientific evidence to support this advice. I can’t speak for the others, but my advice on this issue is purely precautionary. I simply believe the risk isn’t worth it in terms of risk vs. reward. IMHO, there is very little, if anything, to gain by using ATF not recommended by the manufacturer, and potentially, a lot to lose.

Can you honestly say all of the advice you give is backed-up by scientific evidence? I am willing to bet some of it is based on common sense, which is a lot more subjective than scientific evidence. The lack of scientific evidence doesn’t alone make this bad advice.

I am curious, what brand(s) fluids do your use in your Goldwing (brake fluid, clutch fluid, coolant, final drive gear oil, etc.)? When it comes to the final drive gear oil for my Shadow, finding a non-Honda gear oil that meets the same specs is a real pain.

I use the Honda final drive oil. Smells bad but I wouldn’t trust anything else.

ATF: I can buy Valvoline MaxLife a lot cheaper than Z-1, less than half the price.

Common sense tells me changing ATF fluid in my Odyssey every 15,000 miles with MaxLife is better for it compared to canging it every 30,000 miles with Z-1.

Does this make sense?

How much are you paying for Valvoline MaxLife ATF?

For comparison purposes, I found Valvoline MaxLife ATF online for $4.99/quart. I also found Honda Z-1 ATF for $4.98/quart at

If you are paying less than $2.49/quart for Valvoline MaxLife ATF, I suppose it makes sense. If you are paying more, it doesn’t.

If the dealer quoted you $67 to drain and refill the transmission, this in my opinion,is a great bargain. I often read threads pertaining to vehicle reliabilities. “This or that car often has problems” Most cars go 100k miles with little or no problems. Alot go over 150k with little or no problems.What more do you expect? Most shops are fixing 20 year old vehicles.This is unprecedented in history. “one man’s junk is another mans head-ache.”

“Most cars go 100k miles with little or no problems. Alot go over 150k with little or no problems.What more do you expect?”

I expect a properly maintained modern car (made in the last decade) to make it to 200,000 miles with no major problems. You should be able to expect this from Honda, who have cultivated a reputation for making reliable long-lived vehicles.

I don’t know if fixing 20-year-old vehicles is so unprecedented. The car I learned to drive with was 20 years old at the time, and that was more than 20 years ago. My brother kept driving it for another 6 years after that.

I pay about $3.50 for MaxLife. Shipping for 10 quarts of Z-1 is $23.37 which brings the cost of Z-1 up to $7.32 per quart from Honda Parts Unlimited.

Shipping costs don’t make this very economic.

Jeff, Another very important thing I do especially with Hondas when I overhaul one is I use genuine Honda clutches (Frictions). I’ll use my regular master kits from my supplier but I’ll toss the frictions and go buy Honda frictions from the dealer. Over the years I have found I have less problems using Honda frictions rather than the aftermarket. These are little things you learn about the different transmissions just from building them. This is also why us builders recommend genuine Honda fluid.


Good point. I was hoping I could find someone who would ship free of charge with a larger order, but it doesn’t appear to be out there. You can order Z-1 from Amazon and get free shipping on orders of $25 or more, but they want $6.95/quart. At least online, there would be no sales tax, so you would have to factor that in too, and the cost of driving to the store.

I guess from an economic standpoint what you are doing does make sense, but only from a DIY point of view. If you were paying someone to do it, like the OP is, you would be paying twice the labor.

I just wish we knew for sure which approach is better, Z-1 every 30,000 miles, or MaxLife every 15,000 miles. At this point, we just don’t know.

You are absolutely right Ron-man. Cars go an exceptionally long time. Alot of people have said"these cars have alot of problems" refering to one make or another, but for the first 100k miles, most cars are trouble free. The manufacturers are not going to make them last forever.I have put over 400k trouble free miles on vehicles I have owned. I don’t consider a water pump or wheel bearing unusual to replace in those miles.The average car on the road is 11 years old. This is an auto industry documented all time high figure. Some people trade in a car after one year for what-ever reason, others drive until the car has to be crushed.

I have a 2004 accord (EXL, 4 cyl) and a 2005 Camry. I’ve used castrol import ATF in the accord for about 3 changes (every 7-9K) and the camry 5-6 changes. No issues at all. All I do is drop and replace. I’d go for it.