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Transmission > 200k MI without servicing - should we service it or not at this point?

We’ve been ok about changing our oil, but not our transmission fluid. When the car got to 150k miles, we inquired about changing it, but had a dealer tell us that it would be better NOT to change the fluid in the transmission, since the process could dislodge filings in the bottom of the pan, causing contact with gears, etc. Now that we’re at 200k miles, I’m revisiting my decision and thinking it’s still better to service the transmission instead of waiting until I get stranded somewhere. Anybody else had this happen, and if so, what do you recommend? Thanks in advance!!

I’m astonished it’s lasted this long. At this point, I’d just let it go. Unless you disassemble and clean the tranny, you risk getting gunk in the moving parts. Just expect your car to die at some point, and save money for another one.

I am no expert, but I have been driving for a lot of years, and I would drain the fluid and change the filter if it were mine. I know that automatic transmissions are very sensitive to dirt, but I have never subscribed to the ‘danger of dislodging dirt’ theory. Any dirt you touch, you will be removing.

Does the tranny have a dipstick? What color is the fluid?

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Pull the dipstick and smell the fluid. If it smells burnt, you are in trouble, but if it has no smell, replace the fluid and screen and stop worrying.


Change it via coolant line exchange. Install a Mangefine filter in the cooler line. Be happy. If you’re not experiencing any issues, you should create none with changing fluid. It’s when people wait until they have an issue …and then change the fluid …then they have the trans take a dump …and they blame the fluid change. Faulty logic makes another myth.

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I think you should “worry” now about the transmission failing if it really has gone 200k on original fluid if automatic.

If manual don’t transmission just change it and drive on.

Start saving for a replacement car or transmission.

Auto or manual? Is it exhibiting any possible problems?

If auto, it is astounding that it lasted this long. I would likely drain, remove the pan and clean/replace the filter and put it back together with new fluid. Maybe your driving habits are good.

Next time, change that fluid and clean the filter every 30-50,000 miles.

Don’d do a flush and don’t let a quick oil change place touch your vehicles.

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Just draining the fluid and cleaning the pan, and changing the filter will not “dislodge” any dirt. The widely promoted “flush” will likely blow a lot of impurities into all the wrong places, and quickly finish off the transmission. So, stay away from flushes at this time.

As stated in other posts, many mechanics will recommend against doing a fluid chage that is long overdue, since the transmission is likely already failing, and they will be blamed for the failure if they work on it. That’s the REAL reason for the recommendation.

I’d change the fluid and filter at a good independent transmission shop and pray the unit will last a few more years.

Drop the pan and change the fluid/filter. An examination of the pan when it’s off should give you a general idea if major problems exist as evidenced by metal shavings or any friction material which may appear as a black goop in the pan.

If a problem develops later on after a fluid/filter change this will not be because of that change. It’s simply age/miles and it was time for something to happen.