Should I get my transmission fluid changed after 13 years and 60,000 miles?

I have a 1994 Ford Mustang 3.8 V6 (with an automatic transmission) and I believe that the last time the transmission fluid was changed was around 2008. Since then, I have put on about 60,000 miles. I have checked the fluid level and color and both seem to be okay. I have read a lot of mixed opinions on whether or not it is a good idea to get the fluid changed. The car has a total of about 120,000 miles on it at this point.

Also, if I was to get it done, would I get a flush or a change?

Thanks for the info!

I would get it changed, using the exact fluid recommended by Ford, and I would get an ‘exchange’, which is where the new fluid is pumped in as the old fluid is pumped out. I do not consider it a ‘flush’.


You want to get it flushed.

And here’s why.


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@Tester - is that also called an exchange?

Flush, exchange.

Same thing.


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Regardless of what the owner’s manual says, changing fluid and filter every 50,000 miles or so prolongs transmission life.
I have driven automatics since the mid sixties and have only spent $195 on actual repairs; this was a 1971 Comet with the C-4 Ford transmission. It came about on vacation while lugging a camper up a mountain road.

Have uses transmission coolers ever since when towing.

Other than agreeing with prior posts about what needs to be done I would only add this.
The addition of a external trans fluid cooler will help tremendously not only in the removal of heat but will also eliminate the risk of the radiator cooler leaking and wiping out the transmission. Ever decide to sell or trade the car remove the cooler and use it on your next vehicle.

As for eyeballing the fluid color that only works up to a point. Brown or black means trouble brewing. The fluid can be failing even if it appears to be clean and red. The fluid does not break down so much but the additives in the fluid do.


just out of curiosity . how will it eliminate the risk of cooler leaking?

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Yes all my trans fluid coolers were in addition to the radiator component. 60k miles and 13 years, I do not see the need.

The trans cooler lines are disconnected from the radiator entirely and connected to the external cooler which is mounted in front of the A\C condenser. The radiator cooler may give up at some point anyway but it won’t contaminate the transmission fluid when it does as it is now out of the fluid loop.

That problem could also occur with engine oil as some GM products for example have an engine oil cooler inside the radiator on the opposite radiator tank.

it was exactly the same issue what killed a number of older generation (“brick on the wheels”) Nissan Pathfinders in 2005-2008. The faulty transmission fluid loop design was leading to coolant leaking into the transmission and killing it really fast.