Cvt maintenance

Recently had 60,000 mi. service performed on my 2005 Ford Freestyle SEL. Dealer said they couldn’t perform CVT service (replace filter, drain & replace fluid) because they didn’t have the fluid. This is the first required service on the transmission as specified in the maintenance manual (which is generic in that it applies to several different Ford vehicles.) Dealer said that if he had the fluid, he wouldn’t have been able to honor original quote for the 60,000 mi. service because to replace filter required dismantling the axle, etc. That would add an additional $125. He said an option was to just flush and replace fluid without changing the filter. He wanted me to make an appointment to go back for that procedure. I declined because it all sounded a little strange. (They did reduce the price for the completed service, since they hadn’t serviced the transmission.)

I stopped by a tire & auto store (that I’ve used before for service) and a “technician” there said he had worked at a Ford dealership and that the CVT didn’t have a filter, and it was difficult to get correct fluid level back if you drained and refilled. Since, I don’t tow anything and most driving is in flat country (really flat! Eastern Shore of VA) he suggested I forget about servicing the CVT as long as the fluid looked OK.

Who should I believe, and what would y’all recommend.

I would avoid that tire & auto store. If the service is listed in the owner’s manual, YOU DO THAT SERVICE!

I don’t know much of anything about that transmission, but I will suggest that dealers, like other service agencies can be good or bad, but usually the dealers, while expensive, are good. For this transmission, which is a little different, I would suggest that dealers may be the only safe place for service on it.

The Ford CVT cannot be flushed. There’s a thermal check valve in the transmission that prevents that.

The Ford CVT fluid is bluish/green in color when new. As the transmission fluid additives are used up the color changes to a dark green. Not the brown/black color seen on conventional transmissions.

There are two filters in this trnasmission. A case filter and a high pressure filter. Both should be serviced at the 60,000 mile interval.

This transmission holds eleven quarts of fluid. Six of these quarts are contained within the torque converter. Which has no provision for draining. So when a transmission fluid service is performed, only five of the eleven quarts are changed.

When refilling this transmission with fluid, the transmission fluid temperature must be monitored very closely. This is because this transmission fluid has different coefficiant rate of expansion than that of conventional transmission fluids. If the transmission is over-filled or under-filled it will result in transmission damage.


Thanks! tester. Armed with this info, I will take it to another dealer and ask them what the 60,000 mile maintenance protocol is for this service – before letting them proceed. Sounds like I got bum info from BOTH previous sources.