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I just got back from having warranty work done on my 2009 Mazda 3 Hatch. They also told me I needed a Transmission flush(fluid burnt according to him),Engine flush (varnished) and injector service. This car only has 19,000 miles on it.

The owners manual doesn’t even mention a trans fluid change out. An engine flush on a car with 19,000 miles? What the hell is varnished? What kind of injector service would I need?

Can someone please give me some advice? I really know next to nothing about cars.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Under Drive Train Warranty ? If Somebody At A Dealer Told Me My Transmission Fluid Was “Burnt” And My Engine “Varnished” At 19,000 Miles, I Would Demand A New Engine And Transmission, Under Warranty.

I’d just bet that they would modify those statements a bit.


That is a great response! I wish I would have said that. Luckily I did not do the work they recommended or I would have been out of about 800-900 dollars! I should call the Mazda headquarters and see what they think of this.

You’ve just entered the “profit zone”. Dealers recommend all kinds of high profit for them and high cost questionable services for you.

If the car is running fine you don’t need an engine flush or injector service. They are just trying to pay off the expensive equipment they have sitting around.

Have an independent shop look at the trans fluid. Not a chain tire, or transmission shop. Plan to change the trans fluid every 30K miles. Simple pan drop and change with a new filter.

Trans flushes poorly done can cause more problems than they solve. A proper flush means dropping the pan, putting in a new filter, doing the flush, and then dropping the pan again for another new filter. The quickie flush, hooking it up to a machine at quick lube joint can take the dirt and debris from the dirty pan and filter and circulate them into critical areas of the trans. In effect a cheap flush is something you should avoid.

It won’t hurt to do a pan drop and fluid change at 19K if the fluid in there is questionable. Your instincts that the dealer was looking to rip you off were spot on.

Here’s how I think of it - and I think of it this way b/c I’m pretty sure that’s the way it is.

My interest is in taking care of my car that it gives me the longest and most trouble free operation possible.

A car shop’s interest (dealer or otherwise) is in making money. That’s not a criticism. Its obvious and its what they’re supposed to do. But what it means is that when the car goes into the shop they are not looking at the same thing in the same way and are not asking the same questions about the car.

Therefore, I keep myself in charge of what is done to my car in terms of maintenance. I check my fluids and filters, and such. I look at the manufacturer’s recommendations etc. I then tell the shop what to do with my car rather than vice versa. (The exception there has to do with when the car has an actual problem and I need their expertise to diagnose it).

So get to know your car’s recommended maintenance schedule and put yourself in charge. Any time you take the car someplace you should already know what, if any, maintenance needs to be done.

The only thing to cross out in the manual is whatever it says about the transmission. The trans should get a pan & filter service every 30K miles.

Agree with the above. I’ve continued using one honest dealer’s sevice department (Chevrolet) long after the warranty expired because they never recommended this kind of nonsense, and I quit using another dealer (Lexus) becuause they attempted to extort unneeded work (change the trans fluid at 15k or we won’t stamp you warranty book). So it varies.

Sounds like you have a bad dealer, you should look for an good independent shop to handle normal maintenance.

Knee-jerk reactions along the lines of, “everything recommended by a dealer’s service department is bogus”, are generalizations that can be valid, can be partially true, or can be completely untrue. To attribute certain characteristics to every dealership is as wrong as making generalizations about ethnic groups or religions.

As a very good example of the fallacy of this reasoning–as stated by cigroller–is that manufacturer’s maintenance schedules nowadays tend to omit the vital servicing of automatic transmissions every 3 yrs/30k miles (whichever comes first). That is because mfrs want their cars to appear to be as maintenance-free as possible, even if that lack of maintenance ultimately leads to transmission failure any time after ~90k miles.

So, a dealership that urges you to service the transmission every 3 yrs/30k miles is actually doing you a favor in the long run–in addition to making extra money for themeselves.

All of this being said, I would be very skeptical about the need for an engine flush, and am moderately skeptical about the need for them to clean the injectors on an engine with only 19k miles on it. Thus, generalizations are not good. Some of the advice may be good, some of it may be bad. It is up to a dilgent car owner to know what is necessary for proper maintenance of his car, and to know when to supplement the maintenance listed in the mfr’s maintenance schedule.

Based on the OP’s experience, I would suggest that he take his car to either an independent service center (NOT a chain operation!!!), or to a different Mazda dealership. Incidentally, when the 3yr/30k interval arrives, I would strongly suggest dropping the trans pan and changing the fluid and filter, rather than doing a flush.

I suppose it’s possible you need all these services, although not likely. Here’s the rundown of my analysis:

You need the engine flush if this is your first oil change. Sludge (“varnish?”) can be a problem if you seriously neglect your engine. However, don’t forget to check your oil level regularly! New car or not, this needs to be done.

You need the transmission flush if you have been thrashing this car to within an inch of its life at a drag strip, autocross track, or midnight street races. This kind of behavior will surely burn your fluid and the latter will send you and your car to an early grave. I am with the others, though, on replacing fluid and filter every three years or 30k miles in the interest of preserving your transmission. Just make sure the proper fluid is installed during servicing.

You need an injector service (or whatever they are calling it) if you have a driveability concern or check engine light issue which they cannot resolve. Injection and induction services are sometimes good for things like this, but are otherwise just profit generators.

If you do not fall into the above categories, you do not need these services. I also agree with CSA’s suggestion that you tell the service writer that, if the engine is “varnished” and the transmission fluid is burnt at 19k miles, you should receive a new engine and transmission under warranty.

Offhand, I’d say this was all a line of BS but I do not agree with the generalization that this is always a scam.
Could the transmission fluid be burnt, even slightly, at 19k miles? Yes.
Could an engine be sludged up (varnished is a bad term) at 19k miles? Yes.
Is it possible injectors may need to cleaned at 19k miles? Again, yes.

My gut feeling is that your car is fine and actually needs none of the above. You are quite likely the victim of a service writer who is throwing this bunk out at every vehicle that comes through the door. Almost all service writers are mechanically inept and you should never rely on anything that any of them ever say.

What you should do is call the service writer and tell him that after some research you have discovered that burnt transmission fluid is a sign of a failing transmission (true) and you want it replaced under warranty. Now. Gauge the reaction. :slight_smile:

Just to add a little to the above, You may need a transmission fluid CHANGE and the filter cleaned or replaced. You don’t need a transmission FLUSH.

Have them show you the sludge in your engine that requires the engine flush.
That means, they would have to remove the valve cover, and the oil pan, and show you actual sludge build up. Just showing a bit of carbon build up under the oil fill cap doesn’t count.

Varnish means nothing to the way an engine performs.

And ask them if they are planning on removing the fuel injectors, and replacing the o-rings and parts in the injectors when they clean them. If not, tell them that you will buy a bottle of Techron Fuel System cleaner, and save yourself the several hundred dollars that they want to charge for that service.

I have no idea how you drive, so I can’t answer your trans fluid change at 19k miles.


You need the engine flush if this is your first oil change

NEVER heard of that one before…

Yup it’s all in the dealer…I drove 20 miles PAST a Nissan dealership to buy my new 98 Pathfinder 13 years ago. The Nissan dealer I drove past was one of them. Where I bought my 98 pathfinder at was GREAT…Good HONEST service. But that crappy Nissan dealership is still in business doing very well…

Dealerships are required by manufacturers to keep certain parts, tools, and equipment on hand to service their make of cars. They are required to perform warranty and recall work, and maintain technician training.

Other than that, dealerships are repair facilities run by people, not much different from your corner garage. Both types of businesses are here to make money, some just go about it differently. Some people are honest, straight-forward, and some are not. It’s that simple. Some people have great dealership experiences, some don’t.

A fuel service should be done about every 30k miles, and i would do the transmission based on what your manual suggests. These folks are really stretching on this one. There is absolutely nothing your car needs at 19k except maybe a lof and a tire rotation. Dealing with a car dealer is always a headache. That’s why we have a place like this to vent!

Its called a “wallet flush” by professional techs. And reputable, honest and profesional techs do not sell like that. You can easily have your fluids analyized by visiting Polaris labs. Take your results back to the delaer. Follow the recommeded ‘severe service’ intervals in your owners manual and the 3 series will last forever.

I have never performed any flushes on my vehicles which I have kept between 100k-200k miles. There are periodic fluid changes that is it.

Anytime the word flush is used you are safe to understand it is just a way to get money from you.

WHat Mark was saying is that if the OP went 19,000 miles before his first oil change then there might be a varnish/sludge problem.

When I recently took my Toyota in for a recall service they wanted to flush the manual transmission, even though I changed the oil just 2000 miles earlier.

My 1988 Accord (now owned by a friend) has over 240,000 miles and has never had an engine flush or “injector service”.

If these flush services were listed as scheduled mainteance in the owners manual (and they are justified in certain circumstances and these circumstances are listed in TSB’s) what would be the reaction from the public, the car would be labled “high-mainteance”. Every effort is taken to keep even the smallest amount of dirt out of the engine durning the build phase, do we drop this practice simply because the build is completed?