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Yet another automatic transmission question

Hi all,

You’re probably tired of hearing about this car by now but I just got a '99 Accord that was dealer maintained by the previous owner (with paper work to prove it).

I had my indy mechanic inspect and said that the ATF looked “pretty good, nice and pink, clean, etc” and he recommended changing again at 150k.

I understand it’s supposed to be changed every 30k so if it was changed at 90k (like the owner’s manual says) and the car now has 120k then it’s time to do it again right?

So should I go ahead and have it done even though the fluid is in good condition or do I wait until 150k like my mechanic recommended ?

Wait for a while. IF you don’t tow anything (which I suspect you dont, since it is a Accord, it certainly doesn’t need changing at 30K. You will do no harm by spreading it out a little longer. Engine oil, on the other hand, is not so forgiving. I’d change that every 3-4 K due to the abuse it takes.

I disagree.

I’d worry more about the transmission fluid than the engine oil. Follow the maintenance schedule. It was written by the factory engineers, and NO ONE knows more about your car than the factory engineers.

Engine oil change intervals are probably 7,500 miles on this car (I’m an Accord owner, too), and there’s very little reason to change engine oil more often unless you fall under the “severe service” schedule.

There have been problems with Honda automatic transmissions, but I’m willing to bet they were caused largely be people ignoring or disregarding the suggested maintenance intervals.

Do what the schedule says. If it’s time for a transmission fluid change, then do it!

Thanks, just for the record I really don’t know when it was changed, I just suspect that it was changed at 90k because the previous owner did all her maintenance at the dealer.

Hey Mc

Actually the owner’s manual says to do it every 90k, yes 90k. But everywhere else I read it says 30k. My mechanic pretty much recommends it at 60k intervals. Ahh!! When do I change it again?

I would recommend every 30K. I was caught “victim” on not noticing that my Mazda MPV maintenance recommendations did not included ATF fluid change, and I went 65K miles before I figured out I needed to change it out. It certainly needed it by then, so I am continuing 30K intervals for all my cars. My trucks call for that interval, anyway.There is a variance of opinion about 25-30K vs 50K intervals on this board, but I think we all agree 90K is not prudent. It seems one of the weak links in a Honda is the AT, so not skimping on its maintenance should be a priority.

Over the years, I have spent more money on auto trans repairs than I have engine repairs, so I agree with McP that this fluid is as important or more important than motor oil. My experience with my Mazda has made me far more aware of the need to consider frequent ATF fluid changes, and they fit in nicely with my 30K intervals for other maintenance.

I don’t think you have told us what car you are talking about and I am not very sure of when it has been changed and what the current mileage is.

I would suggest that 30-60,000 should be fine assuming you are not doing some heavy towing or something with it.

As you can see we have different opinions. The one thing we all seem to agree with is that the manuals 90,000 is the minimum and something more often is likely a good idea.

Thanks Joseph,

It’s a 99 Accord with 120k and my Indy mechanic suspects it was changed around 90k but there’s no way of knowing for sure. I guess my question is can it wait another 5k or so or until the end of next semester when I actually have some extra $. I’m a poor starving college student.

I change my transmission fluid every 30,000 miles, and with the exception of my “lemon” Volvo, I have never had any transmission problems on cars with odometer mileage as high as 165,000.

Regular fluid changes do tend to prevent problems, but with that Volvo, the problems began–literally–about 2 months after the warranty expired and I was too young and naive to press the issue with the crappy Volvo dealer or with the generally non-responsive Volvo importer.

I should note that this was a 1974 Volvo 142GL, purchased new, and it was the absolute worst car that I ever owned. The transmission was terrible, but it wasn’t really that much worse than the fuel injection system, the engine’s rings and bearings (excessive oil burning), the paint, or the electrical system.

Anyway, changing your transmission fluid every 30k will almost always assure you of a trouble-free transmission.

With 30k on it since the last change, DO IT NOW… Automatics need to be serviced every 25-30k, regardless. Make absolutely sure you use HONDA fluid ONLY!! There is no servicable filter here, just remove drain plug, drain, then refill. This is easier than changing the engine oil. Just so you know, your transmission has no pan to remove, it is a 3 piece case, to change the filter, the transmission must be removed and disassembled.