Transmission Fluid Flush?
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    1. #1

      Transmission Fluid Flush?

      I just purchased an 01 2.4t with an automatic transmission (non-geartronic) and I checked the ATF fluid (yellow top dipstick), which I noticed was black. It does not seem to have any transmission issues but I figured since the fluid was black then it need to be changed. From previous posts (search function) it seems you needed 15 quarts of fluid to flush it properly. My question is, should I let the dealer complete this or is this an easy job to do at home? The fluid did not smell bad but it was BLACK....so I am sure it needs to be replaced asap. How much will it cost if I do it myself as compared to the dealer?

      Any ideas?

      Thanks!

      2006 XC90 V8 AWD "Magic Blue" (Current)
      2006 Volvo S40 T5 6spd (sold)
      2003 Volvo S60 2.4T (sold)
      2001 Volvo S60 2.4T (sold)
      1991 Volvo 940T (sold)

    2. #2

      Re: Transmission Fluid Flush? (ncS60)

      I just called an independent Volvo Mechanic and was told absolutely do NOT flush the transmission fluid. He said that Volvo had an additive in the ATF fluid and that it was no big deal that the fluid was black. He said most individuals start having problems with their transmissions after a fluid flush or add/drain. It sounded good to me (although hard for "me" to believe coming from my experience with american transmissions in the past) especially since he wasn't making any money off of me for not taking my car to him.....The dealer quoted me $369.99 for a ATF flush....

      Any ideas?

      Thanks!

      2006 XC90 V8 AWD "Magic Blue" (Current)
      2006 Volvo S40 T5 6spd (sold)
      2003 Volvo S60 2.4T (sold)
      2001 Volvo S60 2.4T (sold)
      1991 Volvo 940T (sold)

    3. #3

      Re: Transmission Fluid Flush? (ncS60)

      My dilema is this: My '04 has 48,000 miles on it. I bought a VIP extended warranty with $100 deductible per visit. Should I spend they money on a non required transmission flush?

      My dealer doesn't want to do one at this point, believe it or not.


    4. #4
      Senior Member JRL's Avatar
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      Re: Transmission Fluid Flush? (ncS60)

      Rediculous. However then do just a drain and fill with 3309 fluid
      It will be cheaper so do it twice in the next 10K miles, now and at the 60K service.
      Volvo does NOT add any trans additives, your machanic is smoking something very good and if you want your transmission to stay in one piece over the next couple of years, CHANGE THE FLUID and do it now!
      Go to an auto store, order a case of Mobil 3309, should not be more than 50 bucks.
      A flush cannot take more than an hour so even if a dealer does it at $110 an hour you will have spent less than $200, (even if they charge a hour and a half)!
      (please)
      Email: jrl1194(at)aol.com
      If the subject is car purchase related please use jrl1194(at)gmail.com
      2006 XC70 White/Black 62K miles, new daily driver
      2000 V70R wife's. Won't sell, now 123K miles and still perfect
      1994 Lincoln Continental. Showroom condition, LOW miles

    5. #5
      Thanks, I think I will flush it. Also, can you do a drain and fill type flush (which I think you described) where you do the following:

      1. Remove drain plug and measure how much comes out
      2. Fill it up with the same amount and run engine & shifting for 1 minute.
      3. Repeat the same process with the drain plug about 4-5 times until the fluid is red?

      Can you do this or do you need to remove the line from the radiator and drain it?

      Thanks!!

      2006 XC90 V8 AWD "Magic Blue" (Current)
      2006 Volvo S40 T5 6spd (sold)
      2003 Volvo S60 2.4T (sold)
      2001 Volvo S60 2.4T (sold)
      1991 Volvo 940T (sold)

    6. #6

      Re: Transmission Fluid Flush? (ncS60)

      Quote, originally posted by ncS60 »
      I just called an independent Volvo Mechanic and was told absolutely do NOT flush the transmission fluid. He said that Volvo had an additive in the ATF fluid and that it was no big deal that the fluid was black. He said most individuals start having problems with their transmissions after a fluid flush or add/drain. It sounded good to me (although hard for "me" to believe coming from my experience with american transmissions in the past) especially since he wasn't making any money off of me for not taking my car to him.....The dealer quoted me $369.99 for a ATF flush....

      Any ideas?

      Thanks!


      What adjective do you want me to use? Make your own up.
      That's horrible advice and stay away from that shadetree mechanic. Volvo fluid and Mobil 3309 (the same) have no magic elixer in it that makes it turn black and still okay to run. Get Mobil 3309 (case for $50), and do three drain and fills, easy as pie. That replaces 82% of the fluid and you are good too go for 50K. Don't make it any harder than it has to be.

    7. #7

      Re: Transmission Fluid Flush? (fredmc)

      while i would like to agree with the logic in most of the posts here, and while in doubt about this subject myself, we must also admit that it is a known fact that VADIS and the Volvo handbook clearly state that the automatic / geartronic transmission fluid is meant to outlast the life of the car, unless the car is used in extreme conditions and the transmission shows signs of failure or malfunction.

      my authorized dealer had told me the exact same thing that independent volvo tech has told you.

      they also said that in the past, they did have to flush the transmissions of a few insisting customers, who encountered serious problems with their transmissions later. apparently some of them did have to renew the whole transmission, which costed them quite a lot of money.

      see, i'm really not comfortable with not changing the transmission oil for such a long time, but i can't just go ahead and take this risk knowing now that the dealer has warned me about it...

      so i just had to accept a very well known and widely used method with automatic transmissions : if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.


    8. #8

      Re: Transmission Fluid Flush? (Serdar-S60T5)

      Quote, originally posted by Serdar-S60T5 »
      we must also admit that it is a known fact that VADIS and the Volvo handbook clearly state that the automatic / geartronic transmission fluid is meant to outlast the life of the car, unless the car is used in extreme conditions and the transmission shows signs of failure or malfunction.

      my authorized dealer had told me the exact same thing that independent volvo tech has told you.

      they also said that in the past, they did have to flush the transmissions of a few insisting customers, who encountered serious problems with their transmissions later. apparently some of them did have to renew the whole transmission, which costed them quite a lot of money.

      see, i'm really not comfortable with not changing the transmission oil for such a long time, but i can't just go ahead and take this risk knowing now that the dealer has warned me about it...

      so i just had to accept a very well known and widely used method with automatic transmissions : if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.

      Agreed! I had a 2001 S60T5 geartronic that I modifed. My mechanic decided to flush my tranny and replace with fresh fluid when I modified my car. Well, guess what. 20K miles later the tranny goes out............ I no longer have that car due to the fact I wasnt going to drop $4500 for a new tranny. so I traded it and bought an R..... Oh how I miss that T5!! Dont change your transmission fluid unless you think throwing $4k out the window is fun!!!

      Coincidence?


    9. #9

      Re: Transmission Fluid Flush? (Serdar-S60T5)

      fair enough.
      Everyone should weight the evidence and comments and make their own decisions about changing trans fluids.
      Can't for the life of me, figure out why refreshing fluid (and black fluid which means it's oxidized) is a bad thing. I will yearly do three drain and fills (due next month) for as long as I have the vehicle. So far so good.


    10. #10

      Re: Transmission Fluid Flush? (ElakT5)

      begs the question ELakT5, what did he change the fluid with? If it wasn't Mobil 3309 OR the Volvo fluid then it's not related to fluid changing. The "mechanic" may have chosen the wrong fluid...

    11. #11

      Re: Transmission Fluid Flush? (fredmc)

      fredmc. I had a 1994 Chevy S-10SS that I ran the balls out of..... I NEVER changed the fluid in the tranny. I got 224K out of it! An old hillbilly I knew told me that if I change the fluid in that tranny it would go out. So I never did. The engine outlasted the tranny.

    12. #12

      Re: Transmission Fluid Flush? (fredmc)

      Quote, originally posted by fredmc »
      begs the question ELakT5, what did he change the fluid with? If it wasn't Mobil 3309 OR the Volvo fluid then it's not related to fluid changing. The "mechanic" may have chosen the wrong fluid...

      Volvo fluid. I saw him do it. I didnt like the idea, but he is a master tech with Volvo.


    13. #13

      Re: Transmission Fluid Flush? (ElakT5)

      oh I believe you.

      I know of a lot of older cars that ran forever without even a courtesy look at the trans fluid. I think there are nuts with preventative maintenance (me), and also people who own a Ford Escape (me) that you have to change that fluid constantly or the trans will blow out the torque converter.

      So I change all the trans oils in my cars all the time.

      Intrepid 02- 137K
      Neon 96- 130K
      both to be donated to charity in good condition this weekend
      Escape 01 80K
      S60 02-54K
      S60 05- 32K
      and this weekend the XC90 07- 0 miles


      Modified by fredmc at 7:18 AM 2-20-2007


    14. #14

      Re: Transmission Fluid Flush? (fredmc)

      It is a mystery to me how it all works....... I just know what I have experienced. I sure wish the fluid in my T5 wasnt changed so I could see if that actually made a difference. I need a flux capacitor to accomplish that!

    15. #15

      Re: Transmission Fluid Flush? (fredmc)

      Quote, originally posted by fredmc »

      Can't for the life of me, figure out why refreshing fluid (and black fluid which means it's oxidized) is a bad thing. I will yearly do three drain and fills (due next month) for as long as I have the vehicle. So far so good.

      actually, this is kind of tricky...

      i've been told by a few people that if you are the first owner of your car and you frequently change the transmission oil on a regular basis starting from the very beginning, you will most probably maintain a very healthy transmission and never encounter any problems.

      however, if you bought your car second hand at relatively higher mileage like in my case (50K miles on the clock when i bought it), and you're not sure how the first owner has maintained it, or say if you suddenly decided to flush your transmission for the first time after say 40-50K miles, the chances are that the internal parts of your auto transmission have gotten somewhat used to the accumulative oxidation and/or contamination and/or thickness etc... of that oil... in this case if you choose to flush it, you're taking a risk...

      i really don't know how to put this into words in a better way because i'm not a native english speaker but you probably get it when i say "gotten used to" in this particular example?...


    16. #16
      Senior Member JRL's Avatar
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      Re: Transmission Fluid Flush? (Serdar-S60T5)

      Got used to

      Actually there is some truth to this, however give me a flush or at least a drain and fill over NOTHING any day of the week.
      I cannot tell you the number of poor shifting transmissions that I have "saved" by refreshing the (black) fluid.
      There are no guarantees in life except death and taxes, but the odds are with you ,keeping your tranny in one piece if you do a fluid change, rather than leaving it alone and doing nothing. This I can almost guarantee you
      Email: jrl1194(at)aol.com
      If the subject is car purchase related please use jrl1194(at)gmail.com
      2006 XC70 White/Black 62K miles, new daily driver
      2000 V70R wife's. Won't sell, now 123K miles and still perfect
      1994 Lincoln Continental. Showroom condition, LOW miles

    17. #17
      Thanks for all of the great help on this subject. I know the fluid has never been changed so it may be better to go with Volvo's advice. I am a FIRM believer in preventative maint. and I have always gone beyond what was required on all my vehicles (which has worked out great so far). But in this case, the car has 106K and the original transmission fluid. More than likely I will flush it (knowing how particular I am about up keep) this spring but it does worry me a little when the dealer doesn't recommend it unless you are having problems. If I bought another new or with low miles I would certainly change it on a routine basis.

      Also, I looked at the fluid a little closer last night and it actually appears the fluid is BROWN and not black. My mistake....(basement is not lighted very well). Thanks for the help.

      2006 XC90 V8 AWD "Magic Blue" (Current)
      2006 Volvo S40 T5 6spd (sold)
      2003 Volvo S60 2.4T (sold)
      2001 Volvo S60 2.4T (sold)
      1991 Volvo 940T (sold)

    18. #18
      This ATF fluid flush debate sounds a lot like the usual synthetic oil/engine change debate. Some people say it's good, others say it's bad. I prefer to agree with those who say it depends! I guess if the car has been abused or in poor shape, changing fluids could makeit worse.

      I've owned my '89 Volvo 740 wagon since new and had if flushed every 48K. The flushes only help my trans shift better, never worse.


    19. #19
      Member darylkaiser34's Avatar
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      Re: (kmchow)

      Quote, originally posted by kmchow »
      I've owned my '89 Volvo 740 wagon since new and had it flushed every 48K. The flushes only help my trans shift better, never worse.

      How many miles (kilometers, in Canadian) have you put on the clock total, eh?

      P.S. I'm half-Canuck myself, so I'm allowed to make fun!

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