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Well, that's the conclusion a bunch of BMW owners came to at e90post and their transmission has the identical pan filter design as our cars. Just because you are unsure of something because there is insufficient information on your part to confirm otherwise, does not mean I am automatically wrong with my logic.

Explain why else Mazda claims the transmission fluid is "lifetime" fill, but allows an overly complex procedure to change your pan/fluid along with the necessary parts and fluid to do so.

hmm...
Because BMW designed it badly and their testing was not rigorous to catch the failures. BMW's DI engines had the carbon buildup problems by 40-50K miles and needed walnut blasting, bad design and testing. Mazda Skyactive does not have that problem, good design and testing. Simply because BMW users reached some conclusion does not mean every one and his uncle blindly follow suit.

Mazda's transmission oil/filter change is not as easy like enginer oil change because it is not required to be done regularly. It does not mean there cannot be a rare occasion some leakage/breakage/malfunction happens that needs oil/filter change. Common sense buddy. Just because it is complex to get to something does not mean the specific intent therein is it will never ever go bad and there is no need to get to it ever. There are a lot of hypochondriacs here who will overdo stuff, that's their problem.
 

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To access the dipstick I had to remove the air intake box which required turning the car off. Reading the manual it says to check the dipstick with the car running. How do you access the dipstick without removing the intake box? The car won't run with the airbox removed. I've put about 100 miles on the car since and it's been driving fine so I'm not too worried, but just curious how others check their transmission fluid level?
The workshop manual says:
1) Remove the front under cover No.2
2) Remove the dipstick securing bolt.
3) Remove the dipstick.

My guess is if the car is on a lift (assumption is dealer is doing it) you can access the dipstick by just removing the under cover#2 and there is no need for removing the intake air box. This is just my guess.
 

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I think you came to a perfectly logical conclusion based on what happened to those BMWs. And if it leads you to over-maintain your Mazda, then great! I believe you'll be better off than someone who under-maintains.

BMWs are notorious for breaking down. Mazdas, not so much. If I'm not mistaken, North American BMWs are made in Mexico, using parts that are inferior to the German-made ones that are sold in Europe. Theres no comparison between an outsourced vehicle like a BMW and a true, Japanese-made Japanese-engineered Mazda when it comes to reliability. The Mazda will be able to handle a lot more durability-wise.

Does BMW purposely make them to fail, or are they just cheaping out on quality parts? I honestly couldn't say, but it's two faces of the same coin.
The majority of BMW's are still made in Germany. It's only the cheaper lower end models such as the 3 series which is built in Mexico, which consequently suffers from quality control issues. BMW's reliability as a whole is one huge misconception. Their 4 cylinder engines (the most popular choice, especially in europe) and their V8's (Customer more likely to have money) are both garbage engines with weird complex designs purposely engineered to be less reliable than average. Their Inline 6's are incredible engines though. Very robust, reliable, and with the exception of the weird plastic parts and electronics you find in the engine bay, the motor itself will last a very, very long time with the proper maintenance. It costs more to maintain, they are more difficult to work on, but the fuel economy and performance is well worth it. After 2012 BMW's became more luxurious and less reliable, but something like a 2009 3 series is actually quite well made and very reliable (as long as you stay away from the turbo engine.) There are actually quite a few owners over at E90Post.com with 300K+ miles on their cars (miles, not KM) and the engine is still running fine. some of them claim the car has cost them virtually nothing to maintain or upkeep other than just standard tires brakes oil changes etc. The turbo 335i's before 2011 are a different story - expensive to maintain but well worth it from a performance standpoint IMO. The 2011+ 335i's are actually quite good. but the engines run HOT which eats away at gaskets and ignition coils. Otherwise, very solid engine. The main thing with all the german brands that it is a huge hit or miss in terms of reliability. Some will be rock solid dependable, some will have many major issues, but most will only have a couple minor issues here and there so long as you stick to the 6 cylinders. BMW's especially the pre 2006 era where the engine bay designs were simpler and more DIY friendly were incredibly durable and reliable. A friend of mine had a 2000 BMW 323i, 300K KM on it, and all he needed to replace when he bought it was one ignition coil. When he changed the oil, the crankcase was so dirty that the new oil immediately became dirty and needed to be changed again. He didn't. Instead he beat on the thing all day everyday like no tommorow and that engine never skipped a beat or left him stranded. Inline 6's are incredibly durable and robust motors with a fantastic power delivery, lovely sound and solid throttle response/performance. Plus, since they are naturally perfectly balanced they last a long time while still staying nice and smooth unlike a high mileage V6.

In my own experience, I have a 2011 528i With a naturally aspirated inline 6. This is my first BMW and most certainly will not be my last. My experience with it has been very good. Other than standard maintenance the car has been very enjoyable to own and drive. I'm at 145,000KM currently and at this rate I expect it to go twice that with very few issues.
 

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Because BMW designed it badly and their testing was not rigorous to catch the failures. BMW's DI engines had the carbon buildup problems by 40-50K miles and needed walnut blasting, bad design and testing. Mazda Skyactive does not have that problem, good design and testing.
Nonsense. Just complete and utter nonsense. BMW's transmission, made by ZF is the best you will find in it's price category period. With regular fluid, pan filter changes at 70K miles and solenoid replacements every 100K this transmission will last you a very long time as it is incredibly durable and robust.

BMW's DI engine came out in 2007. it was designed over 10 years ago. The updated 2011 turbo 35i engine does not have carbon buildup issues anymore. I don't see anything impressive about Mazda building an engine in 2014 that does not have carbon buildup issues. Not that I am hating on Mazda, I love them, but it's very disappointing to see how misinformed you are about other cars.
 

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Nonsense. Just complete and utter nonsense. BMW's transmission, made by ZF is the best you will find in it's price category period. With regular fluid, pan filter changes at 70K miles and solenoid replacements every 100K this transmission will last you a very long time as it is incredibly durable and robust.

BMW's DI engine came out in 2007. it was designed over 10 years ago. The updated 2011 turbo 35i engine does not have carbon buildup issues anymore. I don't see anything impressive about Mazda building an engine in 2014 that does not have carbon buildup issues. Not that I am hating on Mazda, I love them, but it's very disappointing to see how misinformed you are about other cars.

@Get Inline

Can you recommend an overall automatic transmission maintenance schedule for noobies please?

xxK miles - flush transmission fluid
xxK miles - filter change
xxK miles - "solenoid" replacement

Thanks
 

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Nonsense. Just complete and utter nonsense. BMW's transmission, made by ZF is the best you will find in it's price category period. With regular fluid, pan filter changes at 70K miles and solenoid replacements every 100K this transmission will last you a very long time as it is incredibly durable and robust.

BMW's DI engine came out in 2007. it was designed over 10 years ago. The updated 2011 turbo 35i engine does not have carbon buildup issues anymore. I don't see anything impressive about Mazda building an engine in 2014 that does not have carbon buildup issues. Not that I am hating on Mazda, I love them, but it's very disappointing to see how misinformed you are about other cars.


@Get Inline

Can you recommend an overall automatic transmission maintenance schedule for noobies please?

xxK miles - flush transmission fluid
xxK miles - filter change
xxK miles - "solenoid" replacement

Thanks
He isn't around this forum anymore, but he generally told folks to change the fluid and filter every 60K miles. I agree that this is some very useful preventative maintenance, especially if you want to keep this car for 200k+ miles.

I don't recall anything about solenoid replacement. I remember someone saying to do it at 100k but honestly that's one person, before that I've never heard of anyone ever replacing their solenoids as preventive maintenance.
 

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He isn't around this forum anymore, but he generally told folks to change the fluid and filter every 60K miles. I agree that this is some very useful preventative maintenance, especially if you want to keep this car for 200k+ miles.

I don't recall anything about solenoid replacement. I remember someone saying to do it at 100k but honestly that's one person, before that I've never heard of anyone ever replacing their solenoids as preventive maintenance.

Why isn't he around the forum anymore?
 

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There is no reason to replace a solenoid as PM. They either work or they don't.

The issue that does arise in many ATXs is that the pistons in the valve body are steel while the valve body itself is aluminum. This is bad juju in design if it exists in a specific gearbox as the valve body will wear while the pistons will not! You want it the other way around as pistons are cheaper than the valve body, of course. When the fit is no longer sufficient to hold pressure the clutches start to slip and that will destroy them almost-immediately; a clutch that slips under load will burn up VERY fast, usually in as little as a few miles!

Never mind that the torque converter typically cannot be drained and thus you CAN'T change all the fluid in the transmission. Isn't that special? Honda actually "recommends" you do a 3x3 drain/refill cycle when you "change" the fluid for this reason (!)

Along those lines when you have the pan off to do the fluid and filter if you have the specs for the valve body to gearbox bolt torque you should check the torque on those bolts. GM ATXs in particular are known to suffer them loosening over time due to vibration, which then leads to fluid bypass, low line pressure and (again) the clutches slipping under load and burning up. You NEED the specs though because these are usually steel bolts into aluminum and you WILL strip them if overtorqued, so if you don't have the spec LEAVE IT ALONE.

To add to this most ATXs run too hot. You really don't want the fluid temperature materially over 210F -- ever. They typically run the gear oil through a co-located core with the coolant, and under load most of them run much hotter. If you like the vehicle a secondary air-exchange cooler core after the co-located one in the radiator makes sense to add -- many heavy-duty truck setups come with one for this exact reason as otherwise the manufacturers eat warranty claims.

IMO all ATXs are designed to get out of warranty and then who cares. They were originally designed as a sop to those who can't be bothered to use their left foot. Clutches are wear parts (always) and putting them INSIDE a wetted area means friction material gets into the fluid and cannot be completely removed, filter or no filter. By definition friction material is abrasive so you're "sanding" the insides of the gearbox with ordinary operation. I *strongly* dislike this "feature" of every ATX ever made, but it is what it is and unfortunately all modern ATXs are so ridiculously expensive to replace and often non-rebuildable as there are no parts available at all other than at the original factory, or re-assembly requires special jigs nobody else has.

At the time it might have been difficult or impossible to design a mechanically actuated ATX that had the clutch OUTSIDE the wetted area, effectively making it a MTX with a robot clutching and selecting gears, but this is NOT true any more now that we have DBW throttles in virtually ALL vehicles. Yet even DSG gearboxes have the clutch(es) INSIDE the wetted area. That's INSANITY.

I have owned ATX vehicles before and have one now (a Suburban) that GM made a serious pain in the butt to drop the pan on to change the fluid and filter, due to where they mounted the shift cable bracket. That looks like an intentional design act to me, but nonetheless that pan DOES get dropped and the fluid changed anyway, because the cost of a replacement, even though it's not one of the hyper-expensive gearboxes of today, is still enough of a pain and expensive enough that I'd rather not.
 

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Well said Tickerguy. And all of the above totally supports an individual adding a tight-filtration-media bypass filter and a conventional air-to-liquid auxilary ATF cooler, in series with- and downstream of the in-radiator ATF cooler. ATF optimally runs at 185 F. Higher temps will perish elastomers in time... no good. Also, plumbing the aux. cooler so it can be shunted in wintertime if your locale has severe winters is wise. We don't want syrup for ATF!
 

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xxK miles - flush transmission fluid
Unless your car is at low mileage and you have time and money to burn, I wouldn't suggest bothering with this.

xxK miles - filter change
On average, 50K for aggressive driving, up to 70K for normal. 60K is just about the perfect interval.

xxK miles - "solenoid" replacement
Like ticker stated and I have learned, it's not really an issue with these transmissions -at least not early on. The valvebody is. I would strongly suggest the valvebody/solenoids are inspected at around the 120K mile mark during your second fluid change and rebuilt/replaced if needed. If you notice your transmission shifts roughly when cold or very hot, especially in particular gears at particular speeds but smooths out once the unit warms up, that's likely a solenoid/ possibly valvebody issue. Replacing worn solenoids would make an old transmission feel new again. No one but a good transmission specialty shop should really be touching your ATX.

Ticker really hit a home-run with his last post on this thread. He made a good point about the high running temperatures of modern transmissions - This is why I suggest thicker and higher quality ATF fluid such as Redline. He is also totally right about transmissions being designed to just wear out from the start. Much more work and money to maintain at higher mileage.
 

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Sorry if I should start a new thread or reply to this very old one...

I have been refusing the dealer for transmission fluid change in last 2 services (70K now) for my 2014 Mazda 6 on the ground of the fact that Mazda says that transmission fluid doesn't need change.

Mazda USA Official Site | Cars, SUVs & Crossovers | Mazda USA

Today, during the oil change and multi point inspection, the report showed it as "green", but the service adviser said that I should change the transmission fluid anyway as the quality of the fluid is not good even though the level is..., it seems they did a test of the fluid and it failed there... he was not able to answer convincingly why the report is still showing it "green".

I am trying to understand is that is it possible that dealers recommend for transmission fluid flush (not drain) and change because it's how they earn the money, but it actually is not needed for Skyactive engine? Did anyone actually get into trouble for not changing transmission fluid at 60K miles? My transmission runs perfectly fine, and I dont want to fix something that isn't broken .. and potentially cause any damages as they don't drain but flush the fluid.

Again, sorry to resurrect and old post if I wasn't supposed to do that, but appreciate any inputs here.
 

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Contentious matter in this forum. YMMV... but for me a fluid drop and filter change every 50,000 miles is a no brainer. Ask a transmission shop owner or employee what they do on their car. This whole matter is NOT Make-specific.
 

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Fluid (oil) itself does not "wear out", per-se.

However, with that said....

1. It gets contaminated. Some contaminants are removable by a filter, others not. In the case of a transmission the contaminants of most concern are moisture (which can be boiled off if you get it warm enough regularly) and friction material from the clutches.

2. It gets sheared. To the extent it has VIs in it, this damages its lubrication properties. Shearing is inevitable any time a fluid is used where it lubricates moving parts, but the degree of it is highly variable depending on the specifics. The worst case scenario is where clutches are wet-lubricated (motorcycles with wet clutches are known for this) and, unfortunately, ATXs are part of that group.

3. The additives DO get consumed. In the case of transmission fluid those additives are detergents and similar that keep crud from building up where it shouldn't.

4. Finally, the filter's ability to do its job is consumed. This usually manifests in reduced flow. In an engine oil filter there is a bypass valve that opens if the pressure differential gets too high because unfiltered oil flow is better than no oil flow at all! Transmission filters don't have bypass valves and also tend not to have line pressure gauges either, so if there's a problem there you may not know it.

IMHO 50k miles is a good change interval for both MTX and ATX boxes. It's not that hard to do on the SkyActiv vehicles; there actually IS a dipstick (screwed-in, but still, it's there) unlike on some vehicles where there's no way to know the fluid level without a model-specific scanguage.
 

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Get the fluid changed. Do not get it flushed. The whole "never needs service" crap is why all the auto trannies on the first gen cars are bad.
100%: DO NOT get it flushed. Mfr's, if they specify changing fluid, always call for a pan-drop / filter change... NOT a flush. The worry is the introduction of any detritus into the fluid; the fluid must be surgically clean. :|
 

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Yeah there's almost no way to maintain cleanliness with a flush. The unit simply can't be cleaned adequately after the LAST transmission had it used on it. Who knows what's in there -- and it doesn't take much to really hose you.

The real issue here is that ATX manufacturers design these things in a way that precludes draining the torque converter and as such a large amount of fluid remains in the unit when it's drained out the pan. It's a design decision that no manufacturer, to my knowledge, has dealt with in a reasonable way, and it sucks.
 

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Sorry if I should start a new thread or reply to this very old one...

I have been refusing the dealer for transmission fluid change in last 2 services (70K now) for my 2014 Mazda 6 on the ground of the fact that Mazda says that transmission fluid doesn't need change.

Mazda USA Official Site | Cars, SUVs & Crossovers | Mazda USA

Today, during the oil change and multi point inspection, the report showed it as "green", but the service adviser said that I should change the transmission fluid anyway as the quality of the fluid is not good even though the level is..., it seems they did a test of the fluid and it failed there... he was not able to answer convincingly why the report is still showing it "green".

I am trying to understand is that is it possible that dealers recommend for transmission fluid flush (not drain) and change because it's how they earn the money, but it actually is not needed for Skyactive engine? Did anyone actually get into trouble for not changing transmission fluid at 60K miles? My transmission runs perfectly fine, and I dont want to fix something that isn't broken .. and potentially cause any damages as they don't drain but flush the fluid.

Again, sorry to resurrect and old post if I wasn't supposed to do that, but appreciate any inputs here.
definitely get it changed not flushed I've heard numerous horror stories about flushing ATX's there is no such thing as a lifetime fluid


Fluid (oil) itself does not "wear out", per-se.

However, with that said....

1. It gets contaminated. Some contaminants are removable by a filter, others not. In the case of a transmission the contaminants of most concern are moisture (which can be boiled off if you get it warm enough regularly) and friction material from the clutches.

2. It gets sheared. To the extent it has VIs in it, this damages its lubrication properties. Shearing is inevitable any time a fluid is used where it lubricates moving parts, but the degree of it is highly variable depending on the specifics. The worst case scenario is where clutches are wet-lubricated (motorcycles with wet clutches are known for this) and, unfortunately, ATXs are part of that group.

3. The additives DO get consumed. In the case of transmission fluid those additives are detergents and similar that keep crud from building up where it shouldn't.

4. Finally, the filter's ability to do its job is consumed. This usually manifests in reduced flow. In an engine oil filter there is a bypass valve that opens if the pressure differential gets too high because unfiltered oil flow is better than no oil flow at all! Transmission filters don't have bypass valves and also tend not to have line pressure gauges either, so if there's a problem there you may not know it.

IMHO 50k miles is a good change interval for both MTX and ATX boxes. It's not that hard to do on the SkyActiv vehicles; there actually IS a dipstick (screwed-in, but still, it's there) unlike on some vehicles where there's no way to know the fluid level without a model-specific scanguage.
^^^^^and listen to this, this is good information^^^^^^
 

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I just read the link you shared @drock666 and notice where it says the fluid doesn't need changed unless a major component or (my favorite part) when the entire transmission needs replaced keep in mind that a fluid change is significantly cheaper than a transmission and changing the fluid will make it last MUCH longer
 

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You want to get the most out of your car in every way possible...

Follow the manual. It's why they give you one.

For those that believe that any of us on this forum and I mean ANY of us know more than Mazda, you know, the folks that built our car, you're fooling yourself.
 
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