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Discussion Starter #1
I just picked up a '15 with 78k miles on it, and am doing the normal maintenance items I do on a used car. I have essentially nothing in the way of receipts for this car, and since the owner's manual doesn't even say how to check ATF, I assume it has never been changed.


I know how I feel about ATF changes, but am curious to hear what most of you are doing. For those that change the ATF, do you just drain and re-fill, or do you remove the cover (I assume you can do that with these? I haven't looked at that yet)? Is there a filter an owner can easily change, or is it like my Honda pickup where you have to seriously disassemble the tranny to get to the filter?


Thanks.
 

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I just did mines today and like you I bought mines at 100k miles, a lot of things i changed out due to the mileage and pretty much assume the pervious owner didn't bother to. I just did the drain and fill and didn't want to mess with the pan/filter and reseal it. I had around 3.5Q out just by taking off the plug and letting it drain. it's pretty simple but does take some time to do. My fluid came out brownish and smelly and the new ones is cyan blue. BTW owner's manual doesn't recommend changing it either because it's suppose to be "lifetime fluid" but most people trade it in for something else so they couldn't be bother to do any service and let it be the next owner's problems.

Here's some info I found another user on how it's done and that's pretty much it. There is a youtube video for 2.5 mazda 6 tranny fluid change if you full details for drain and filter replacement.

I did mine over the weekend. I spent about a half hour trying to get the car simultaneously safely elevated and leveled using a combination of ramps, jack stands, and jacks, to no avail. I finally decided I would leave the car on the ground, measure the fluid level from the factory, then elevate the front with ramps, drain and partially fill (3 qts) the ATF, then put it back on the ground and do the final level adjustment. Worked great. I got *really* good at removing/replacing the air box.

One caution: each time you measure the fluid, you need to cycle the shifter (car running; brakes on) through P, R, N, D. Otherwise you don't get an accurate reading.

End result was smoother shifting and peace of mind. I'll do it again in 30,000 miles (we're at 85k now).
 

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I'm about to do mine this weekend or next for the first time at 75k miles. Mine's an '11, but like yours it's supposedly a "lifetime" fluid so the owner's manual doesn't say a thing about it. But the fluid's pretty brown so I'd rather be safe than sorry. Figured I'd go ahead and change the filter while I'm at it, I ordered a Beck/Arnley one for about $15 from RockAuto. Came with a new gasket for the pan and all necessary O-rings. The filter is easy to change once you drop the pan. For mine it's on the bottom and just pulls out, I imagine yours is similar. I'll post an update afterwards if I learn anything new or run into any trouble.
 

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I am trying to get my ATF change as well, and I heard the oil pan gasket that come with the Beck/Arnley transmission filter doesn't fit quite well. I am curious if Felpro Automatic Transmission Pan Gasket will fit ok or I should use the oil pan gasket from Mazda?
 

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I am trying to get my ATF change as well, and I heard the oil pan gasket that come with the Beck/Arnley transmission filter doesn't fit quite well. I am curious if Felpro Automatic Transmission Pan Gasket will fit ok or I should use the oil pan gasket from Mazda?
I prefer to use the one from Mazda. That is, once I reach 60,000 km or 80,000 km. I plan to ask those Mazda guys to remove the oil pan and filter, put it back with the new gasket and filter, then fill it with new oil.

The Owner's Manual does not say that it should be replaced. The dipstick is not even accessible. If ever you want to check its level, you'll have to remove a couple of things. It is like Mazda is telling you not to bother about the ATF.
 

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It is like Mazda is telling you not to bother about the ATF.
According to Mazda (and many other manufacturers nowadays), their automatic transmission now uses "lifetime" fluid, so they don't "ask" the owner to change the fluid. They'll cover the repairs if it's still under warranty, which is 5 years or 60,000 miles in the US or 5 years unlimited mileage in Canada.

But the common knowledge is that lifetime fluid is not a thing if you want to keep your transmission running fine for a long time.

I think that the dipstick is being removed by many manufacturers because that's a possible source of contamination (water vapour, wrong type of ATF, etc). That and they want you to bring your car at the dealership for transmission work.


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According to Mazda (and many other manufacturers nowadays), their automatic transmission now uses "lifetime" fluid, so they don't "ask" the owner to change the fluid. They'll cover the repairs if it's still under warranty, which is 5 years or 60,000 miles in the US or 5 years unlimited mileage in Canada.

But the common knowledge is that lifetime fluid is not a thing if you want to keep your transmission running fine for a long time.

I think that the dipstick is being removed by many manufacturers because that's a possible source of contamination (water vapour, wrong type of ATF, etc). That and they want you to bring your car at the dealership for transmission work.


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60,000 miles is approximately 100,000 km and we are covered under warranty for 100k. Perhaps I'll go changing the fluid at 60,000 km which is "halfway" of warranty.

Since most people sell their cars after 5 years or so, the most at 10 years, the said "lifetime" somehow applies to them. Of course, this doesn't apply to me since I intend to keep the car for 20 years.

That dipstick you mentioned somehow makes sense and I am happy that Mazda didn't remove the dipstick. They just made it somewhat inaccessible.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think that the dipstick is being removed by many manufacturers because that's a possible source of contamination (water vapour, wrong type of ATF, etc). That and they want you to bring your car at the dealership for transmission work.
The dipstick is certainly a source of contamination, a small cost that is eliminated if they go to simply drain and fill bolts (or neither), and a way to support dealers’ service departments.

I dislike the notion of ‘lifetime’ fluids in part because a transmission is a gearbox. ALL gearboxes produce relatively high wear in the early stage of their life, and that wear produces contamination that can only serve to increase wear rates above what they otherwise would be for the rest of the box’s life. So, a fairly early fluid change (or two) in ANY gearbox is prudent and wise for the purpose of improving durability.

There are many people and professions involved in the development of service schedules for cars, as well as in the total design of the cars. That means there’s more in play than just one thing (durability, for example). The manufacturers produce an overall package that is pretty good everywhere. I just happen to prefer a bit better in one area vs another. :)
 

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Mazda is telling you that you'll need to buy a new car around 100k miles, more or less.

That we've come to accept disposable vehicles like we accept disposable underwear is outrageous, but the fault is with us -- that is, the consumer. Technological advancement should have long ago resulted in vehicles with expected 20+ year, 500,000 mile lifespans and very little in the way of required maintenance.

Mazda is better than some in this regard with the Gen3 vehicles. If you want bad, look at the 2000ish Chevy trucks. I own one. An ATX with a pan that cannot be removed to change the fluid and filter without first removing the front driveshaft, as the bolts for the shift-cable bracket are ON TOP of the gearbox (and the driveshaft is in the way.) It's not that pulling a driveshaft is a monster job but if you take the truck to the dealer it turns a $100 job (with fluid, filter and labor) into a $300+ one -- which the dealer loves, of course. Or we could talk about their use of substandard grade pipe for the hard brake lines; this one just bit me, living in the south. I'm willing to bet every one of these has failed up north by now. Fortunately I got that surprise (and a nasty one it is when you have a no-warning brake failure!) in a situation where it didn't result in a wreck. Incidentally at least in the small (e.g. Colorado) trucks GM is now using coated hard lines; I have a friend with one and ducked under it to look recently. NHTSA knows damn well GM used garbage material in millions of the older ones as there are myriad reports of this failure all over the place, that major parts of the runs are inaccessible for routine inspection and hasn't forced a recall of any of them. Isn't that special? We could also talk about the infamous 5.3L explodo-motor due to out-of-tolerance pistons going into a decent percentage of those trucks, which almost-literally disintegrate within 50,000 miles -- fortunately I didn't get one of the bad ones. Then there's Ford that stuck DSG (DPS6) gearboxes they knew didn't work right before first shipment they put in millions of small vehicles for years -- and were never forced to eat them either. They're being sued over that one but the people who got screwed will in no way be made whole. The lawyers will get rich, however.

ATXs are generally speaking in this category of "planned screw you" deals in that they're very expensive to replace, modern ones are very difficult or impossible to successfully repair due to the need for jigs and similar (e.g. to set bearing preloads and clearances) during reassembly that nobody has outside of the original factory and the non-availability of rebuild parts such as clutch packs makes the problem even worse. Worse, many of them are made outside of the US and as a result there's literally nowhere in the United States that can properly repair them as all the jigs and such are overseas. The older (1970s and 1980s) ATX boxes were routinely overhauled in a transmission shop for $500 or so; today you can forget that as an out-of-warranty transmission failure will run you $5 large or more as the only real option is to order a new one and replace it wholesale. On a car that at the time is worth less than $10,000 that's a economic total and the vehicle goes to the scrapyard, which suits the manufacturer just fine as now you have to buy a new car. This is also part of the dearth of MTX offerings; a clutch job is a thousand bucks or so and, unless ridiculously abused, it's not unreasonable to expect 300-500,000 miles out of the MTX box itself before the synchros and other internal parts are worn out.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm not sure I agree with a lot of what you've said. Our cars _are_ rebuildable and can easily be as durable as you assert. They'll just be priced like the high-end German marques and you'll be _way_ upside down cost-wise. If that's a good trade, you're free and welcome to do it now. Vehicles were considered completely clapped out before 100k not all that far back in time. Where I live, you have to push over 200k miles before used cars come down in price to a level I would, a few to several years ago, expect an 80,000-mile car to be priced at. Nobody thinks of 'throwing away' a car before that many miles, and a good friend routinely buys cars with that many or more miles until he's over 300k, and he rarely has any significant problems with them. If or when he occasionally does, a cheap junkyard part fixes it and he's back on his way.


Crashes and general economic considerations (how often does one hear that it's foolish to spend more to repair a car than the market value of the car?) eliminate FAR more vehicles from the roads than them 'wearing out' in a way that they can't be repaired or rebuilt.


Too, there are tangible benefits to the fleet _not_ being 30 - 40 years old on average. Safety, pollution (there's a major brown cloud where I live, as well as where most people live), and fuel economy (cost to drive the thing) are just 3 examples.


I do change certain fluids _much_ earlier and generally more often than owner's manuals specify, and I do that in an effort to improve durability. That's easy, and it's a simple choice any owner can make. That said, I know of no publicly-available data which demonstrates _conclusively_ that my preference significantly and materially does what it should. Neither is there such public data to demonstrate lower total cost of ownership with my strategy. I do my own work, and that helps me reduce cost significantly vs. what many owners are able to do, but the fact remains I do it because of limited data I have or have (& had) access to which does _not_ constitute conclusive proof.


Anyway, I appreciate the discussion, and I bet our maintenance strategies look more similar than one might suppose given our disagreement on this particular topic.
 

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Meh.

In my garage right now is a very-pedestrian, $18,000 brand new, ALH 2003 TDI GLS Jetta Wagon. Leather seats, pretty-much every available option, diesel, stick.

It has nearly 300,000 miles on it. I've turned every single wrench on it since it was new, as I have with my "6".

Mechanical repairs? One A/C compressor, a set of struts and shocks, a couple of coolant sensors and thermostats and an alternator clutched pulley (NOT the alternator; a $40 pulley.) Routine maintenance has included three timing belts and associated components that have to be changed with it (rollers, water pump, tensioner.) It has NEVER stranded anyone ANYWHERE in its more than 15 years on the road and returns nearly 50mpg on the highway.

It has the OE clutch in it. The injection pump was resealed; the OE had buna seals in it and ULSD caused them to eventually fail and leak but otherwise required nothing; when it was resealed the shop that did it said it looked new inside.

My daughter learned to drive in it and I deeded it to her on her 18th birthday. Yes, with the OE clutch, and it's still serviceable five years later. Will it eventually require replacement? Sure. The Luk REPSET (clutch, throwout bearing, flywheel etc assembly) costs under $300. Like all front-wheel drive vehicles it's somewhat of a pain in the butt to change, but I can do that job in a day. If you paid someone for the labor with a real garage and two-post lift it'd be about a grand.

The interior is a bit rough but again -- this is a car approaching 300,000 miles. Every single mechanical and electrical item in the vehicle works just fine. It consumes a bit of oil, but nothing terrible. The cam, which you get to inspect when doing the timing belt, looks fine. Compression is fine. It's got bigger nozzles in it which I installed before the vehicle had 20,000 miles on it, and it runs like a scalded cat. It's gone through a couple of sets of brake pads, three batteries and the usual oil changes and such.

Go ahead and tell me you can't build cars that don't cost $100,000 and yet are perfectly fine nearly 20 years later with more than quarter-million miles on them.

You're wrong.

Dead wrong.

You just can't have as your best and highest calling screwing the customer by making them come back and buy another one.

One of the reasons I bought the 6 Sport MTX is that I was after the same sort of TCO and reliability over a LARGE number of miles. So far I've been right; we'll see if I remain so.
 

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Yes it is.

Gear oil in a MTX or ATX is an every 60,000 mile or 5 year thing, unless you want to buy a new one.

For most ATXs 60,000 miles is pushing it. It's an ok interval for an MTX but ATXs have friction material in the fluid AND you can't drain them fully as the torque converter holds a LOT of fluid which will not drain, and thus should be changed more often.
 

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We all have different degrees of ardor in what we say, evident in how we say it. That's fine 'cuz this "tent" is a big one. There are few subjects where, from my perspective, Ticker's info isn't pretty complete and well-researched.

For me, I'm in the "change your ATF and filter with pretty decent frequency" camp due to the wear-materials that accumulate in it. The two caveats are that it be done on a scrupulously clean basis, and that ATF fill level is done properly. I have no problem with carrying out those two functions properly. It should be possible for most enthusiasts who choose to do their own work to do so, too.

I Drive, I know what your answer will be. We agree to differ.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Tickerguy, you just did an excellent job of controverting your own point, and reinforcing mine.

Thank you!
;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Tickerguy, there _is_ good publicly-available data (though at this point I’m not sure any longer where it resides) which demonstrates that American marques are (were?) cheaper in terms of TCO despite their often earlier need for repairs or replacements. Building cars to not need that costs more, both up front and along the way. Our market is extremely cost- or price-sensitive. That’s why it’s not done much on this continent.
 

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I would challenge anybody to show me these automatic transmissions that have worn out before 100K miles. Where are they? 150K?

300K mile ATX's that have never been serviced have been documented on this forum. The failures before 300K?

Not so much.
I remember someone here who got 250~ before it went kaput. So yes, you are right that it can last up to 300,000 miles.

However, that ATX is for replacement. Since I plan to keep the car for 20 years like our CR-V 98, I am more inclined to replace the ATF and filter on a regular basis.

I don't want to spend money more than I should so I'm contemplating if 80,000 km is good enough as interval or I should do it earlier at 60,000 km.

Then again, I have no data and any statement without it is just an opinion.
 

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I remember someone here who got 250~ before it went kaput. So yes, you are right that it can last up to 300,000 miles.

However, that ATX is for replacement. Since I plan to keep the car for 20 years like our CR-V 98, I am more inclined to replace the ATF and filter on a regular basis.

I don't want to spend money more than I should so I'm contemplating if 80,000 km is good enough as interval or I should do it earlier at 60,000 km.

Then again, I have no data and any statement without it is just an opinion.

If I were to keep a car/truck that long (300K miles) I would probably change the fluid every 100K. But I won't/don't so I won't be wasting my time or money doing so.


What will be interesting is how long the tranny will go by doing the service. Will it last just as long or longer? Needless to say it's going to be a long time before we find out. I wish you the best and many many miles from your car. :yesnod:
 
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