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Hige mileage transmissions...

Lord Summerisle

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An odd question for a guitar forum, I know, but I get the sense there are a lot of practically minded people here.


If you had an 11 year old GM car (OK, it's a Chevy Impala), 70,000 miles, bought used, and suspect the transmission fluid had never been changed, would you go ahead and change it, along with the filter?


The fluid is red/brown. Not bright red like new fluid, but certainly not burned or black. It's red, tinged with brown. The car shifts just fine at the moment.


I sort of want to change the fluid to help extend the lifespan of the transmission. I'm slightly terrified to drop the pan and add new fluid because the interwebs are full of stories about, "I changed my transmission fluid and the transmission died 250 miles later."


Chevy says change at 50,000 miles for heavy use, change at 100,000 miles for regular use. 100,000 miles on the original fluid just sounds crazy. And it also doesn't account for age. I know the proper thing to do is change it every 30,000 miles, but then I'm the second owner of the car - I didn't buy it new. And the original owner never changed the fluid.


I want to keep the car until about 175,000 if possible (I never drive much more than 15,000 a year). So I want it to last a good few years before I decide to change it.


If it were your car, what would you do? (a.) Change the fluid and filter? or (b.) do nothing - because this is a can of worms I really don't want to open right now?


I figure (b.) means a transmission rebuild sometime in the future, which I can save up for. But then the same could be said for (a.) - only sooner....


Many thanks for any insights.



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I am a ASE Mastertech and do this for a living.


I would replace the filter and flush the transmission using Dexron 6 fluid.


I would have the shop break open the old filter, these filters are like vacuum cleaner bags, if these it something breaking inside the transmission, it will suck up all the bits and pieces and be in there.


If the filter does not have a pile of metal in it, it should be just fine.

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I had my '06 Chevy Uplander automatic tranny flushed after about 78K. Apparently it loosened a tiny enough particle which floated into and plugged a solenoid and so I had to use it like a manual when at a stop or come up with $700. It shifted fine once in 2nd so I ran it that way. My experience has been that very few things fix themselves, but this one did almost 2 yrs later. I'll change fluid and filter but won't ever have a tranny flushed again.

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You can change the tranny fluid without any issues. It's a myth that it makes it worse just like the old myth that if you use synthetic motor oil you can't go back to conventional motor oil. I've heard tons of those myths. I was a mechanic for years and went to school for it and worked at an automotive garage (1992-2001). I stopped doing it as a job because I started hateing it plus 3 back surgeries kinda limited me. I still do mechanic work on my stuff along with family and friends vehicles. I change the tran fluid every 20k in my vehicles.

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