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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Auto trans fluid change?

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3 replies to this topic

#1 Joe719


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Posted 31 December 2005 - 09:37 AM

I have looked at my owners manual and done some research over at cars101 but I cannot find when to change my transmission fluid. The manual and the other web site only show an inspection needed every 30,000 miles. I would assume this is something more than a fluid level check but I don't know. The added part to this question is; when I change and I want to go with synthetic what would be the recommendation? Would someone please shed some light on this dilemma for me? I am getting my stuff together for the 30,000 mile check.

Oh yea its a 2003 Outback sedan H-6, 3.0.


#2 outback_97


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Posted 31 December 2005 - 10:13 AM

I think most people here recommend changing at 30K miles. It's easy to do (at least on my 97 it is), not too expensive, and important for the longevity of the transmission. Most cars fall into the "severe" service category (short trips, stop and go traffic, etc) and therefore the mfg recommends more frequent fluid changes.


#3 Strakes


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Posted 31 December 2005 - 10:54 AM

30000 miles change is good. I would do it if you are planning to keep it for a long time.

We bought our 93 used with 90000 miles on it. There were all sorts of records for oil changes and routine stuff done to it from mostly independent shops. Not one record of transmission services. The transmission started to have problems at 100000 miles and gave up at about 115000 miles. I think its failure can be linked to the lack of transmission services. He seemed to have followed the guidelines in the owners manual...but the transmission service interval was difficult to find in it. I looked at the fine print and there was "replace fluid if operated in a severe service at 30000 miles", and severe service was most people drive.

The transmission service is super easy to do on Subarus. Also recommend Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF thats Dexron III (or higher) compatible. They sell it at the local Autozone...so I assume it is easy to find. Been using that since the overhaul.

Also, make sure you don't drain the differential instead of the tranny. The drain plugs are confused often by the highly talented folks at Jiffy-Lube and other quick change places.

#4 lytnin88


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Posted 31 December 2005 - 12:19 PM

You should be aware that just removing the plug will not completely drain all of the auto trans fluid. I was able to drain about 4 out of 10 quarts doing this on my '03 Forester. But if you repeat this procedure 3 times, running the engine in between drains, it should be a pretty good flush. On my car, you can remove another quart or two by removing the ATF filter, which looks like a motor oil filter.

The alternative to the above procedure is taking it to an auto trans shop, where they have a special machine that sucks out the old fluid while replacing it with new.

There is another procedure for the do-it-yourselfer, which involves opening up the transmission fluid line at the radiator, draining the old fluid into a bucket (with engine running) while replacing it with new fluid. I haven't tried this, and it seems a bit risky.

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