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Transmission Service at 50,000 Miles? 2015 VW Jetta

I took my mother’s 2015 Jetta to a local VW dealership for its 50,000 mile service (actually 52,500 mile service according to some websites). She had made an appointment ahead of time asking for “everything that is on Volkswagen’s maintenance schedule at 50,000 miles.”

When the service was completed, the service writer mentioned “Volkswagen recommends you change the transmission fluid at 50,000 miles.”

I wasn’t happy about that. If it was recommended by VW, they should have included it in the quote. If it was the dealership recommending the service, why didn’t they mention it until I was ready to leave? If they’d recommended it when I walked in, I probably would have added it to the services being provided that day.

After giving the service writer a piece of my mind, I said, “I’ll get it done elsewhere.”

Now my mother and I have done some research, and other dealership service writers say it’s not recommended at 50,000 miles. One non-dealership VW shop also says VW doesn’t recommend the service.

The maintenance schedule that came with the car recommends the service at 80,000 miles, and this pamphlet also covers the warranty, so my mother shouldn’t void the warranty by waiting to get it done at 80,000 miles. However, these sources recommend it at 50,000 miles:

My mother isn’t likely to continue driving for much longer. She has macular degeneration, cateracts, and other health issues that suggest her time as an independent driver will soon come to an end. Also, this isn’t the kind of car I’d buy if I was car shopping, so she would likely sell it on the open market when she is done driving.

Should we change the transmission fluid, or should we wait until the car gets to 80,000 miles?

I think it would be a wise choice to get it done. Many very experienced people on this forum recommends the trans fluid change done between 30 to 50k.
You say, that the car probably soon will be up for sale and if I was looking at it as a potential buyer, it would get a plus in my book if it was changed. The 80k or the “it’ll never need the oil changed” is a sales gimmick.

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Auto trans fluid should be changed at 30 to 35k miles intervals.

That was also the recommendation of Transman; a transmission rebuilder who used to be on this forum.

A friend of mine has been a transmission rebuilder for over 40 years. He’s told me that almost every single transmission failure that enters his shop has problems that are due to…

  1. Not changing the fluid often enough
  2. Running the fluid level low due to a leak, etc.

Those 100k miles or “lifetime” recommnendations are ill advised and are done for one reason only.
It’s a PR move to get people to think that their car needs little or no maintenance.

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Does Mom drive around town or on the highway mostly? There might be a severe service category for transmissions, and then fluid would get changed more frequently. That is the way it works for engine oil, and the situation is similar. If it’s driven short distances, I’d change it now. You probably can let it go for now, especially if you plan to sell the car in the next couple of years. If you plan to keep it after Mom stops driving, doing it now makes sense.

Agreed with others on getting the transmission fluid changed now. You may not plan on keeping the car much longer… but plans change sometimes. And I know I, as a potential buyer, would rather know the fluid’s been changed than not. Because if the transmission fluid hasn’t been changed regularly, what else hasn’t been changed?

I have a relative who’s about to sell her house. It’s been…somewhat neglected, both outside and inside. It needs a new roof…but relative is convinced she’ll just “leave that for the next person”, as she doesn’t want to spend the money for a new roof. Well… the truth is the next buyer is going to see the house needs a new roof, and deduct that from the offer/price.

Point being: you pay for the lack of upkeep, one way or another.

Good luck.

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Those who allow themselves to be lulled into the “no maintenance necessary” BS are the same people who will wind-up spending BIG bucks on transmission overhaul/replacement.

The automakers know that their un-maintained transmissions are unlikely to fail during the period covered by the Powertrain Warranty. When a transmission fails after the mfr’s Powertrain Warranty has expired, the mfr will not have any financial liability, but the too-trusting car owner will be socked with a YUGE bill.

Another reason to avoid dealing with the public. Who needs the abuse? Yeah 30,000 is when I do mine.

Those who reject logical suggestions for timely maintenance are inevitably the same people who will rebel when presentenced with a bill for HUGE repair costs resulting from failure to maintain their vehicle.
As the old saying tells us… You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.
“Later” inevitably results in higher repair costs.

Tell owner of vehicle that service writer recommended transmission service - tell owner what manual schedule says - tell owner that most people on this site think the service is a good idea - Then do what owner decides :wink:

If I asked someone to do ALL the recommended maintenance and then when I showed up to pick it up they told me things they recommend but hadn’t been done, I’d have been ticked off too. You call that abuse? Now I have to waste another day scheduling another service. I guess if you’re retired and don’t have anything better to do you can afford to be nice under those circumstances. I don’t tolerate incompetence and wasting my valuable time so well. I certainly don’t fault Whitey for speaking his mind about it…


I don’t think the OP should have given the service writer “a piece of his mind”. Seriously, there is no reason to get bent out of shape over something like this.

Sometimes getting bent out of shape is justified. I just don’t think it was in this instance. After all, the vast majority of service writers are not mechanically inclined and the guy may have just become aware of the fluid recommendation after hearing it from the mechanic or possibly while reading through some info.

My feeling is that when I think the service anywhere has not been what it should be I ask for a manager because they are paid to handle those problems.

I once picked up a vehicle at an Oldsmobile dealer after warranty work and it still had the same problem. I returned to the counter and calmly said " I will be outside next to the red Cutlass , please send someone I can yell at " .


Problem here is the word “the” without further description. Who’s the recommender?

Kinda like “supposed to…” often pronounced “Sposta.” I used to ask my students, “Who’s doing the supposing?”

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I guess I would have just smiled and said why didn’t you tell me that before? I don’t give people a piece of my mind, pretty much regardless. It could be your sister or brother or son or daughter on the other end of the abuse. Sure everyone is taken advantage of, given a raw deal, inconvenienced, etc. at some point but they are still humans and should be dealt with accordingly. I used to work with a girl named Pam who was going to be a lawyer and she could heap abuse for the smallest infraction-not to me but to others and what a world if it was filled with Pams. What does it gain?

Lots of Honda and Toyota auto trans are going beyond 200K miles nowadays on original fluid (my neighbor’s Prius went over 300K trans fluid unchanged) but I might not trust a Volkswagen.
In your situation a change doesn’t seem necessary to me.

That’s pretty much what I meant by “gave him a piece of my mind,” only without the smile.

It’s strange you’d characterize that as abuse. Jump to conclusions much?

Thanks. We’re going to get the service done at a local non-dealership VW shop.

Have a nice weekend, ladies and gents.

It could be the fluid was showing signs of needing a change, sure would have been nice to get a call and ask, but I do not know all the facts to judge one way or another.

Well OK. I wasn’t there but it sounded a little harsh when you said you gave him a piece of your mind and then told him you would have it done somewhere else. Around here when someone says that, they are standing two feet away with their hands on their hips and maybe even a finger pointing.

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Perhaps we are using the wrong process but the up-sells come after the inspection is completed. We don’t up-sell a transmission service when the vehicle is dropped off, a set of tires an hour later, then a brake job in the afternoon.

The service writers rely on the technician’s input from the inspection, the customers won’t tell you that the transmission has been serviced or replaced until an hour after agreeing to have it serviced, they forget what has been done in the past, then the people in the shop are “thieves”.

BTW, I would let the next owner service the transmission, when this vehicle is sold nobody is going to ask or care if the transmission was serviced.