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Old 03-13-2012, 02:30 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 168

Great points CT! This is cheap insurance for an incredibly costly piece of equipment. . .depending on the year of your vehicle, Honda switched over to ATF DW-1 in the middle of 2011, before that it was ATF Z-1. So your manual might say Z-1, but if you go to the Honda dealer toady they will service your trans with DW-1, and it is acceptable to mix them. The move to DW-1 was done (according to that bulletin, and other sources) for fuel economy and better cold weather shifting.

CT makes an *excellent* point about OEM fluids. There are plenty of really amazing lubricants out there, for ATF I can think of Valvoline, Redline, Amsoil, Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF, etc. to name a few. However, the reputation and quality of the brand is not what is important here, the manufacturer demands not only specific viscosity requirements of an oil but also an extremely specific additive package that may or may not be present in other ATFs. Our transmissions were engineered for, and tested with Z-1 & DW-1 in mind.

On a tangent. . .I like to run Mobil 1 Synthetic oil in my BMW 325ci, I could buy the Mobil 1 Synthetic off the shelf at pep boys for $8 or so @ quart, but. . . it does not have the additive package specified by BMW. So instead I get that special kind on Amazon where it's currently on sale for $50 @ 6-pack, but it's very interesting if you read under "
product description product description
" how this particular oil meets a bunch of very specific recommendations that other Mobil 1 Synthetics don't meet.

Here's some stuff from the service manual on how to check and how to change your ATF fluid. And CT is exactly right (again) that you're only changing about 3 quarts at once (due to fluid being trapped in your tranny valves, gears, torque converter, and trans cooler [looks like a radiator, but with much stiffer hoses]). So it's not a bad idea to change this with some regularity, cause you're only doing half of it at once.

Two things - from scanning the service manual it looks like only the dealer computer can reset your maintenance computer manually to make it aware an ATF change has been done. So, just keep your own records I guess. . .

And in the captures I'm about to post you'll see mention of a "trans cooler cleaner," the only circumstances they say that this device will be used is if your replace your entire transmission and need to start off with a sparkling fresh trans cooler, otherwise this doesn't look like it's ever necessary. (If your trans cooler was failing you would immediately know, there are multiple temp sensors in your tranny). To help illustrate how the Jiffy Lube "trans flush" is BS, for Honda just to clean out one part of your transmission, the cooler system, it takes a machine the size of a large wheeled air compressor, that injects hot ATF through the cooler and recirculates it through magnets, all at about 100psi. It is a specialized machine with weird fittings and they recommend extreme caution in using it (due to the 100psi hot oil and everything. . .!). I'm pretty sure I could spot this beast at a jiffy lube, and I never have. . .

And lastly, as someone who has had a modern automatic trans spontaneously fail on him somewhat lately - most new cars will go into a "limp home" mode where they will lock themselves in 2nd gear (or some such thing. . .) to prevent unnecessary shifting, if your car is doing this you'll have a check engine light on (at the minimum) and it means either drive directly to dealer or pull over and call a flatbed.

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