Transmittions fluid flush

My car has 120,000 miles. I have never changed the transmittion fluid, but want to. My husband says a mechanic told him years ago “never change the transmittion fluid after 100,000 miles for the first time. You’ll destroy the transmittion.” Is he right? Thanks!

He’s wrong. But even if there were some truth to this myth, why have you not played safe and changed the fluid at the 99,000-mile mark?

Anyway, take your car into any shop at your earliest convenience, not necessarily the dealer, and ask for normal transmission service. That involves dropping the pan and servicing the filter if necessary. This is NOT the same as a transmission flush, so make sure you specify what’s to be done.

And repeat, this business of harming the transmission with delayed servicing is a popular automotive myth.

As SteveF aluded to, the mistake was in NOT having the transmission serviced at the interval specified by the car’s manufacturer–likely 60k or 90k.

When people do not service a transmission on a timely basis, there is always the possibility of premature failure of the transmission. What happens in many cases is that when people finally do have the transmission serviced–albeit after a very long delay, if the transmission fails anytime thereafter, they tend to blame the servicing of the transmission for that failure. In reality, that transmission would have failed anyway, due to the damage done by delayed servicing of it.

A modern automatic transmission that is serviced at the intervals specified by the manufacturer can frequently go for up to 200,000 miles (maybe more) with no transmission problems, whereas one that is serviced late can fail at…maybe 121,000 miles. ;-))

So–as SteveF said, get the transmission serviced, but NOT by AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, or any other chain operation, and I hope that you know enough to avoid Jiffy Lube and all of its clones. Go to either your regular independent mechanic or to a well-reputed independent transmission shop.

Tell the mechanic that you want the transmission pan dropped and cleaned, the transmission filter changed, and the fluid changed–NOT flushed. A flush, if not done properly, does have the potential to do damage to a very dirty transmission such as yours.

You did not share with us the make of your car, but I can tell you that some makes of car require a special transmission fluid unique to that make. Some mechanics will tell you that by adding a special additive to generic transmission fluid, they can make it “special”, but this is false.

Check your Owner’s Manual to see what type of fluid is required. If it mentions something like Dexron (not Dextron, as some people mistakenly call it) or Mercon, then you should have no problem. If the manual states that you can only use the fluid sold by the car’s manufacturer, then you have to be VERY careful to tell the mechanic that you want that fluid to be used.

If you will post back with some actual information about the make, model, and model year of your car, then someone can undoubtedly give you specific information regarding the fluid that is required for your car. But, the bottom line is that, if you intend to keep this car running, you do need to have that transmission serviced as I have described, and the sooner that you have it serviced, the greater your chance of avoiding transmission problems later.

Thanks guys! The car is a honda accord 2000. I know we should have had the transmittion serviced sooner, but we bought a fixer upper house and somehow car maintenance got put on hold. R u guys mechanics? Thanks again!

Is he right

No. Many people feel that way because so many transmission fail after a lot of miles shortly after they get the transmission fluid changed. What they don’t say is if you are only now getting the fluid changes, chances are very good that the only reason you are getting it changes is because there is something going wrong and you are hoping the new fluid will fix it. In reality if you already have a problem, changing fluid might help, but likely it will not change a thing and the transmission will fail at the same time it would fail without the fluid change.

Now if you have the fluid changed before there is any apparent problems, there is a very good chance that you will greatly extend the life of the transmission.

NOTE: generally stay away from any service call a flush. In most cases you want to have a transmission fluid change with a filter replacement, where they need to drop the pan and clean that out at the same time.

A Honda Accord makes it even easier. You cant change the filter because there is no pan so there is no access to the filter. You have to remove and disassemble the transmission to access the filter. Just drain and refill using ONLY HONDA ATF.


Thanks again for your replies! When I told my husband that everyone said GET THE FLUID CHANGED, he said that the old time awesome mechanic (that is no longer around to ask) said something about metalic flecks that broke off during all the years of use would caused pressure in the trany and once that fluid was removed by by transmittion. We’re going to get the fluid change this week, but is there anything to the metalic fleck theory that my husband remembers?

Thanks SteveF! We’re going to get the transmittion fluid changed this week.

Other than agreeing with everyone here and disagreeing with the old time mechanic the metallic flecks could mean problems.

Metallic flecks are generally particles from gears, bushings, etc. and if they’re in the fluid or pan in a somewhat noticeable amount or the particles are large then I’d be worried.

The main thing here is not to believe anything that the guy told you or your husband.

JMHO, but I think transmission fluid should be changed every 30k miles no matter the make of car.
A fluid change is the absolute cheapest insurance policy you can buy for your transmission.
Most of the time the fluid is never changed until high mileage or a problem develops and changing the fluid then is like closing the barn door after the horses escaped.

You should take ok4450’s word as gospel, as he is one of the two or three most experienced mechanics on this forum. Just because an old mechanic told this tale to your husband does not make it true, and in fact, that old mechanic was wrong.

Regular maintenance is the key to longevity for a transmission, and just because you have been negligent with maintenance in the past, that does not mean that you should continue to be negligent.

That being said, your transmission could fail next week, after the fluid change, but that would be a result of years of negligence, rather than a result of the fluid change. Better late than never, but unfortunately late maintenance still does not guarantee a long life for that neglected transmission.

When I inherited my Father-in-Law’s 93 Caprice in 2002, it had been driven ~500 miles in the last 3 years. Other than regular oil changes, no other fluids had been changed. When I took it to my regular mechanic for a transmission fluid and filter change he was reluctant to do it at first.

This is how he explained it to me. When transmission fluid is not changed and breaks down, over time a layer of “varnish” builds up on the transmission inner surfaces. When fresh fluid is added, these varnish particles break loose and clog up the small passages in the transmission causing problems. Then the customer comes back and gives him grief. I guess this is possible with a neglected transmission that is on the verge of failure anyway.

If any of the more knowledgeable posters (pretty much everybody else) would like to chime in on this I would appreciate it.

I decided that since the fluid was still bright red and had no signs of burning to go ahead with the change with the condition that I wouldn’t give him any grief if the trans went south. Note, the car only had 44k on it at the time. When he did the change, he found some debris on the bottom of the pan and told me to keep an eye on the transmission. The car now has 70k and the transmission is doing fine, I’ll probably get the fluid and filter changed again in the fall.

Ed B.

At 44K miles it was just about due for a fluid/filter change. I have mine done every 30-40K miles, it’s relatively cheap insurance.

I agree, but my mechanic was more concerned with the age (9 years) of the car and that it had been sitting so long.

Ed B.

IMO, you still need to take your chances and change it if you plan of keeping the car. What’s the alternative, just drive it on the original fluid until it fails?

Everyone, thank u so much for all your replies! My husband made an appointment to get the transmittions fluid changed next Tuesday. I’ll keep u guys posted as to how that turns out. Also, please keep ur fingers crossed for us. We so can’t afford a major repair after sinking all our money into the fixer upper house we bought. Thanks again!

The grammar police in me is showing: transmission. Only one t in the whole word.

Yeah, I was really hoping that seeing the correct spelling multiple times would help her to spell the word correctly, but apparently not.

U know, I knew I was spelling it wrong, but unfortunately didn’t do a spell check. I didn’t think it mattered since most would know what I meant. And most people when they read don’t look at the whole word. That’s wyh yuo can raed thse wrds. They take the beginning of the word and the end and the brain is able to fill in the rest. I guess that’s why I didn’t notice the spelling issue before it was pointed out to me. Sorry spelling police! If we want to talk about spelling and grammer then all of us will be spending way too much time writing e-mails and not living in the real world. Thanks for the correction though.

My real world involves using the English language properly. I don’t expect perfection by any means, but I believe everyone should make an attempt to be grammatically correct. The person reading your work or listening to you shouldn’t have to try hard to understand what you’re saying.

4velvet7, this wasn’t meant to be a personal attack on you. Just a general frustration with the internet. :slight_smile: I think people aren’t taught to be as concerned about their fellow man as they should be these days.

Modern browsers, such as later versions of Firefox, automatically underline any spelling error in the posting forms here. The underline is not infallible, but it helps a lot for those who are in a hurry but want correct spelling. Some of us care less, but we notice, even without really caring.

Also, if things turn nasty, which happens but on this sort of URL fortunately not often, unless Global Warming comes up, heh, heh, one of the first personal attacks you will see is spelling that is not perfect. Doesn’t affect the truth of an argument, but they do beat you up over it.