Transmission and brake flushes


#1

My dealer says my transmission fluid looks thin and brownish so I need a flush which is expensive. Is this worthwhile in a 2003 Accord?

Same thing for the brake fluid?


#2

How many miles on that 2003 Accord?

Assuming it has not had a transmission fluid change, Chances are good now would be a good time. There are a lot of different opinions on the Transmission flushes. I fear most are done to flush your wallet. There is no perfect procedure, but I prefer a fluid change dropping the pan and cleaning it and replacing the filter. That does not change as much of the fluid as a flush, but it does get rid of a lot more of the gunk that can cause more problems. The flush gets more of the fluid, but does not clean the filter or the pan. The flush is easier and quicker for the mechanic.

If it has not had a brake fluid flush/change, then it is due. Brake fluid last forever, but it does get moisture in it. That moisture can damage important brake parts and it can cause brake failure under emergency conditions while not showing any problems under normal conditions.

One last thing. Dealers are no better or worse than independent mechanics, but the are almost always more expensive. Unless you are very comfortable with your dealer, I would suggest looking around for a trusted local mechanic (ask friends and neighbors). You can save money and you do not loose warranty coverage on new cars as long as you maintain proper records that the maintenance was done.


#3

Well stated and great advice.


#4

Automatic transmission fluid is thin even when new. Ask your dealer what color the new fluid will be. Yes, it’s good to change these fluids; trans at 30,000 miles and brake fluid every three years. Some might take issue with the three year number for brake fluid as it depends how humid your area is.


#5

fluid looks thin and brownish…Transmission fluid is already thin, sounds like a story to get your money. If the fluid is dark, that indicates the fluid is overheating. Heat damages seals and changing fluid will do nothing to extend the life of the transmission when the seals are being overheated. Better to spend your money on an external transmission cooler if you want to drive it forever. I defy anyone here to find a study that actually shows changing fluid does anything. I put in new fluid and external cooler when I buy a used vehicle. Over the next 100K my fluid doesn’t get dark and I don’t change it.