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ajsmom posted 9/17/2013 11:20 AM

Me again.

I took my car in for a routine oil change this morning. They ran the usual diagnostics and said I need to have my transmission fluid flushed and filled.

The invoice has a price of $$64.99 parts/ $70.00 labor for a total of $134.99. They said they just happened to be running a special on it and I could have gotten it done for $99.99 total.

'k...doesn't this sound high for fluid?...or...should I have had it done? Would this be something my brother could do for me?


thyme2go posted 9/17/2013 11:34 AM

Sounds reasonable to me. I have done my share of those flushes (drain and fill in reality). Doing so is incredibly messy without the right equipment then you are left trying to figure out what to do with the spent fluid. $99 is a great deal.


PS - the cost of oil and other fluids has gone through the roof with the rise in the price of gas.

64fleet posted 9/17/2013 11:59 AM

Some ATF is really high, fWW's mazda uses some that is $9 a quart, holds 6 at changing so that is $54 just for the fluid.

circe posted 9/17/2013 12:04 PM

As long as people are weighing in about this, what mileage is realistic for ATF to be changed?

Is there a set mileage, like every 50K? Or just when it needs it? Do you have to trust the oil change guys to be honest about the state of your fluid?

Rebreather posted 9/17/2013 12:04 PM

I drive a German made automobile that needs servicing at the dealer and I am not even going to tell you what I pay for routine maintenance like that. So it sounds cheap to me!

So did they give you the $99 price or not give it? Those kind of coincidences are always suspect, huh?

whatdoto posted 9/17/2013 13:22 PM

My mother took her car in too for an oil change. They also offered her the special of a flush. WH says it's bull and a waste of money.

He's a mechanic/fleet manager that has been working on cars/trucks/tractors for years.

I tend to believe him.

TrulyReconciled posted 9/17/2013 16:41 PM

It's cheaper than a speeding ticket so ...

dontknowwhyme posted 9/18/2013 11:39 AM

There are several different levels of transmission fluid service. The level of service will determine the out the door cost. An automatic transmission system is spread out more than most people know. The fluid does not all drain back into the pan like the engine oil does.

Some transmission services basically suck out the fluid in the pan and just replace the amount removed. This practice does slightly improve the quality of the remaining fluid but not as much as lead to believe. The transmission pan usually holds half or less of the total fluid in the system. So imagine you had a dirty bucket of water and dipped out half of the dirty stuff and just topped it off. Yeah the dirty water would be cleaner but is still dirty.

The overall best service is a true system flush. It removes as much of the old fluid as possible. Some places even flow a flushing liquid to clean the system even more. This type of flush is more expensive because there is more labor involved and more fluid is actually being replaced. It is the best option for most types of vehicles but is also the most expensive.

Then there is the whole discussion of the filter change. Some places that have a very basic transmission service do not even change the filter. To me that is the worst way to approach the problem. A filter will clog with time. Any vehicle that has a serviceable filter arrangement in my opinion should be changed along with the fluid. Otherwise the filter gets clogged and leads to low flow for the entire system.

So to summarize. There are a several choices to make. Not all transmission services are equal. You have to know exactly what is being done. Then you pay the best price you can for the equal service depending on where you go. I hope that helps some without being too confusing.

ajsmom posted 9/18/2013 11:44 AM

Thanks for all your responses, except you, TR.

I threw the scenario at my brother (who does a lot of my work on the car for me) and here's his response:

'Need' has a slippery definition here. Are you having issues with your transmission?

Of course it needs to be topped up, however, the 'flush' (when they actually do it instead of just charging for it), changes the fluid.

To do it properly you must also change the filter which is seldom done at the flush profit center.

Flushes are for suckers. If you have no issues you don't 'need' one.

If you do have tranny issues a flush will not solve your problems.

(A band adjustment might on a high mileage car.)

Having no real issues (just some pick-up issues while entering the freeway and changing lanes), he's going to take a look at it.

Did I mention I hate cars?

h0peless posted 9/18/2013 12:08 PM

I replace all of my fluids every year. Of course, I change the oil much more often than that. I do my own work but I've been tempted to take it to a mechanic for a transmission flush because they have equipment that replaces all of the fluid rather than just the few quarts that come out when you pull the drain plug.

TrulyReconciled posted 9/18/2013 13:37 PM

I know you hate it when I'm right

gahurts posted 9/19/2013 15:03 PM

I've had a well known transmission company tell me that they do not recommend changing the transmission fluid particularly in old cars unless they have to drop the pan. That changin the fluid out can sometimes mess up the lubrication or cause other trouble. I am not auto mechanically savvy but I figure if a machanic is recommending that I NOT do something he could make money off of then it's probably a good thing.

kernel posted 9/19/2013 21:48 PM

My two mechanic brothers and my mechanic (now deceased) father always told me to avoid doing ANYTHING extra at the quickie oil change places, as it is their job to up-sell and at ridiculous prices. That's where they make a lot of their profit. Better to find a trustworthy mechanic to check your car over for anything else. I am fortunate to have a trusted mechanic shop in my town that also does the quick oil changes.

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