Curious Q About ATF - Honda Civic Forum



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Old 10-24-2010   #1
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Curious Q About ATF

Just wondering, I was doing some searching while bored,
according to this site http://www.search-autoparts.com/sear...33/article.pdf
and assuming the user manual as well (too lazy to go to the garage to dig it out)
our 7th gen honda civic's
Transmission fluid change is suggested at 120K miles, that seems a bit high to me.

I hear most people advise changing tranny fluid at 60k miles

I changed mines out at 40k because i felt like it would help,
then when doing an oil pan change at my friend's shop, he said my tranny fluid was dirty at 48k, so he helped me flush it pro bono. Kudos to him.

Anyways, he told me that I should change it at least once every year.
So i was thinking maybe that's why our trannies fail.

Anyways, my question was,
When did you change your tranny fluid, and when (if) did your tranny fail?
and when do YOU think it's a good time to change it? (assuming that you dont check your fluids often)
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Old 10-24-2010   #2
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

Normal conditions say change it at 120,000 or 6 years BUT, you need to inspect every 20,000 or once a year, meaning if it's looking bad change it then. Severe conditions say half that mileage.

I believe Gearbox said he changes his every year and it's is still going.
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Old 10-24-2010   #3
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

This is just speculation on your part, when we already know why our transmissions fail.
Actually, we know why almost all post 1997 Honda automatics fail.

1. The clutch packs are extremely thin, and they burn up quickly.
2. No external filters, so bits of those thin clutches plug up the internal filter and plug it.
3. Honda sub'd out their transmission manufacturing to GM!

I first changed mine at 65k km when I bought the car, I've changed it every 8000km since (every second oil change). I'm currently at 130k km, and my transmission is failing. I've maintained the car meticulously, but that won't make up for a flawed design..
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Old 10-24-2010   #4
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

Eh, i was thinking it might be a big factor contributing to the reason why
But im still curious when you guys change it
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Old 10-24-2010   #5
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

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Originally Posted by Kennykid2002 View Post
Eh, i was thinking it might be a big factor contributing to the reason why
But im still curious when you guys change it

I dont know much about autos, but basically heres how it goes:

1. autos need clean, cool fluid to work good and last long, this is very important for honda autos since they dont have serviceable filters and generally use less fluid than others.

2. you can never change the fluid too often, dont forget that when you change it youre only technically changing about 1/3rd of the total fluid in the system.

3. you can easily add the hx cvt tranny fluid cooler to help keep your fluid cooler and possibly increase the fluid storage capacity of the system. Gearbox did it: https://www.civicforums.com/forums/7...ics-added.html

4. The service interval depends highly on your driving habits, if youre mashing the pedal to the floor stop light to stop light youre gonna wear the fluid faster than if you were cruising on the highway. because: city driving keeps the fluid hotter (unless you add the hx fluid cooler... ) when it comes to autos, heat is the root of all evil, its really THE most important thing to be concerned about, it wears everything including the fluid faster.

Personally, If I were you, to be safe, I would change it every 30k miles. Thats a good interval, although i've seen people do it every 20k or even sooner. Besides, its relatively inexpensive since theres no filter or oil pan gasket, just some fluid and a crush washer. If your fluid is really dirty, you need to be doing it more often, new fluid is red, gray means its worn, if its gray and gritty its really bad, and orange means its way too hot. A nice dark purple (combo of red and gray, but not gritty) is a good time to change it.
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Old 10-24-2010   #6
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

The manual service fluid change is the same as the auto fluid change 120k miles or 6 years. If I were you I would change it every year. I change my ep3's tranni fluid every year to keep it in top condition especially since even my tranni sucks.
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Old 10-24-2010   #7
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

normally heat and fluid condition dictates how long the trans will last. but our 7thgen auto trans is not normal, its defective. so the rules do not apply as well. i find that unless you do a drain and fill every year or 10k miles, the fluid is too contaminated to function properly. also we do not have a trans cooler or filter like almost every other car does (even the newer 06+ civics). not sure what honda was thinking when that happened. and no, the 1/4 section of the radiator where trans fluid flows thru is not a cooler. coolant runs at the same temp as trans fluid, so there is no actual cooling going on. but even with these things added, there is the clutch pack problem. no amount of clean fluid and keeping it cool will help save the weak clutch packs from grinding down to nothing. eventually it will fall apart from normal use. they just messed up on the materials, plain and simple.

but to answer the question, i did my first drain and fill at 20k miles. i really regret not doing it at 5k miles tho. at 20k, the fluid was completely black and filled with metal pieces. waited waaay too long, but i had no idea what a problem this would become. after 20k, i started changing every 10k (30, 40, 50, 60k etc). at 50k miles, the 2-3 gear shift started noticably slipping as much as 500rpms so i knew it was only a matter of time. some people get lucky and make it to 100k, others had it break at 25k. just depends on the car. if you get over 100k, you are very lucky. its definately been a good learning experience tho. when i first got the car, i didnt know any of this. my next car i will be much more careful changing fluids and paying attention to problems early on.

Last edited by gearbox; 10-24-2010 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 10-24-2010   #8
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

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Originally Posted by gearbox View Post
normally heat and fluid condition dictates how long the trans will last. but our 7thgen auto trans is not normal, its defective. so the rules do not apply as well. i find that unless you do a drain and fill every year or 10k miles, the fluid is too contaminated to function properly. also we do not have a trans cooler or filter like almost every other car does (even the newer 06+ civics). not sure what honda was thinking when that happened. and no, the 1/4 section of the radiator where trans fluid flows thru is not a cooler. coolant runs at the same temp as trans fluid, so there is no actual cooling going on. but even with these things added, there is the clutch pack problem. no amount of clean fluid and keeping it cool will help save the weak clutch packs from grinding down to nothing. eventually it will fall apart from normal use. they just messed up on the materials, plain and simple.

but to answer the question, i did my first drain and fill at 20k miles. i really regret not doing it at 5k miles tho. at 20k, the fluid was completely black and filled with metal pieces. waited waaay too long, but i had no idea what a problem this would become. after 20k, i started changing every 10k (30, 40, 50, 60k etc). at 50k miles, the 2-3 gear shift started noticably slipping as much as 500rpms so i knew it was only a matter of time. some people get lucky and make it to 100k, others had it break at 25k. just depends on the car. if you get over 100k, you are very lucky. its definately been a good learning experience tho. when i first got the car, i didnt know any of this. my next car i will be much more careful changing fluids and paying attention to problems early on.
Definitely didnt know the 7th gen autos were so shitty, WOW. Seems like Honda just kinda threw the 7th gens together, boy am I glad i got a manual, although i gotta rebuild it too, but rebuilding it is way easier than rebuilding an auto. My mom has an 03 auto yota, and its tranny fluid wasnt ever changed till 90k, when i changed it it was a dark, dark purple, there was still a hint of red. Changed it three times over the course of a week, and at 125k its still red, so boo honda on their engineering for these trannies.
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Old 10-26-2010   #9
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

there was a tsb honda put out to address the issue, ofcourse it wasnt released until the 3 yr warranty was over. and i never saved the file for some reason. but it said something about abnormal wear on the secondary clutch pack caused my materials defect. it shouldve been a recall. remedy is to replace the trans, i still dont think they have an updated part for it.
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Old 10-28-2010   #10
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

Hey guys I have a 2000 civic. Do you think I should consider an tranny cooler ? Its an auto as well. I don't usually drive it hard, but I'm usually quite cautious about overall transmission life.
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Old 10-28-2010   #11
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

it will help any car, and your year civic does not come with its own trans cooler. only the HX models have an external cooler from the factory. keeping the trans fluid cooled is a very good choice. it is always much better to have the fluid too cold than too hot. it may take an extra 5-10 mins for the trans fluid to warm up in the winter before it shifts normally, but its worth it esp in the summer. heat can kill a trans in no time at all. and its really not possible to have the fluid "too cold" to function, esp with a smaller style trans cooler. you can even sandwich it between the condenser and radiator so its not getting direct air cooling. thats what i did and also its much easier to mount that way. even better, you can get a trans temp gauge to monitor fluid temps. this is really only useful if you do alot of mountian driving, long distance freeway driving, or towing. also keep in mind that each time the trans shifts, it makes more heat. so if you are in traffic where you constantly are moving between 10-25mph, lock it into 2nd gear so it does not shift up and down so much. also in the summer, putting the trans in neutral at long lights can cool it off a bit (use the ebrake so you dont roll back).
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Old 10-28-2010   #12
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

Yea, I was considering it, I live up in ontario, near Toronto. I spend a TON of time idleing and hitting lights :/ damn traffic. So between the condenser and radiator eh, that sounds like an idea. Where can i pick up a temp gauge? Thanks.
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Old 10-28-2010   #13
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

any gauge company like autometer or isspro should have trans temp. im not sure how you would hook it up tho. it would have to be tapped somewhere that trans fluid flows thru, but without blocking fluid flow. http://egauges.com/
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Old 11-02-2010   #14
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

I thought the first ATF service is about 50K ? hmm but the first time that I changed ATF is 13K. : )
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Old 11-04-2010   #15
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

good thing you did. the service manual says 30k, but thats way too long and fluid will be long gone by then. every 10k is more realistic.
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Old 11-05-2010   #16
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

gearbox,

I just checked my wife CR-V 08 ATF which it has 25,000 mi on it. I am telling you i have to drain and fill the ATF before it causes any problem. It wasn't nice red. I hope I had time to change it out. : (

I hope the DW1 will serve me right!!
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Old 11-05-2010   #17
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

you are probably fine on the crv. its only the civics that have the serious issues, mostly from defects and not caused by changing fluid too late.
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Old 11-19-2010   #18
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Re: Curious Q About ATF

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearbox View Post
you are probably fine on the crv. its only the civics that have the serious issues, mostly from defects and not caused by changing fluid too late.
gearbox,

hopefully, I still check for the fluid on both car every 2 weeks to make sure it didn't smell burn or anything
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