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Mileage limit on auto trans fluid change?

I have a 2000 Nissan Altima 4 cyl auto trans with 170,000 miles. I called my dealer about changing the trans fluid and the service manager said their policy was that they do not change fluid after a car has reached 65,000 miles. I have never heard such a thing. Is this guy for real or is this an old wives tale?

That sort of depends. If you have been 170K without servicing the transmission you might have trouble getting someone who will agree to do it. It does make sense. Once neglected transmissions start acting up people will often THEN decide that it is time to service it. Of course, by then it is often too late. Anyway, if someone does do the service & shortly afterwards the trans starts having major problems - because it already had them anyway - the person who serviced the transmission then gets blamed. So - you might have trouble getting someone to service it.

On the other hand, some people would recommend that a high mileage transmission that has not been regularly serviced just be left alone as a matter of judgment rather than a matter of avoidance.

Either way, don’t bother with the dealer. Just find a good, local transmission shop, have them check the thing over and ask them to drop the pan & change the filter.

Transmission fluid should be changed about every 25-30k miles.

I can tell you why the dealer is saying this. If the fluid has never been changed before you’re closing the barn door after the horses escaped.
The dealer will assume, and correctly so in many cases, that a suspicious case of changing the fluid at very high mileage may be a precursor to blaming them a week or a month later when and if the transmission has a hiccup or even dies.

I’m not saying that you would do this but it’s done all of the time. A dealer I worked for got taken to small claims court over just such a thing and as shop foreman I had to spend an entire afternoon at court with the service manager. My job was to be the “expert witness” with manuals in hand to state why this customer was full of carp. We did win the case but still, it was an aggravating waste of time.

Well in my opinion the fluid should have been changed a long time ago. Is there any reason you have chosen now to change it? I ask that because of the reason the dealer is hesitant to change it now. Often when no prior service has been done that is about the mileage when the transmission starts to show signs of wear. Then the owner hopes that all it needs is new fluid. The fluid is changed, but the transmission is still worn and may well fail shortly. Owner then blames the dealer or mechanic.

[b] Changing fluid not WILL NOT CAUSE DAMAGE. [/b]  It may actually prevent damage and may correct symptoms that were there before.  However it is at least equally likely that it will not fix the problem and it may fail soon.  Of course it would have failed anyway.  

I recommend getting the fluid change and hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

There’s a good chance that someone, or more than one, tried to stick this dealer in the past on something like this and that’s why they adopted this policy.
Refuse to do it and allow someone else to take the heat may be their policy, like it or not.

There’s not a dealer on Earth who has not been subjected to this kind of thing and that’s why the cold feet.
This occurs not only with transmissions but every other thing on a car.

I started work one Monday morning and the first job was a VW “repair to start” problem. Turned the key out in the lot and it sounded like a sledgehammer hitting an engine block. Raised the hood and noted 2 connecting rods sticking through a fist-sized hole along with the engine being full of clean oil and a new oil filter.

Gave the owner the bad news and who did he blame? Us. (Note this car was towed to the dealership on a Sunday and left when no one was around.)

Eventually the story came out that we had changed his oil at 7500 miles and the car now had 18,000 miles on it with the hood never being raised once to check anything.
Yes, he threatened us with the Riot Act and the Supreme Court, all to no avail.

I would go elsewhere for all repairs and let the dealership know.

Any independent shop can change the fluid. Just because a car has 65k means nothing especially if it has been change prior at proper interval(s).

I agree. Let this dealership know that they just lost all of your future maintenance and repair business and take it elsewhere.