CV transmission fluid service, only at dealership :(

In the spirit of pet threads, I’d like to introduce you to my car. His name is Bluedio (rhymes with studio). This is a picture of Bluedio just after he was adopted in May of 2008. The rehoming fee was outrageous, but he was worth every penny. And here he is, playing outside in a snowsuit. :smiley:

Now, onto the point. I drive a 2006 Ford Five Hundred, which has a continuously variable transmission. He just passed the 60k mile mark a couple months ago. I was checking the 60k maintenance schedule, and the transmission fluid is due to be replaced. Even though I know very little about cars, I agree he needs it. I can feel the transmission is more sluggish to respond than it was at 48k, and he complains when I want to change from park to reverse to drive. But, every time I’ve gone to a few of the small oil change places around here, and they come in with the upsell and the fluid colors, they say I need to take him to the dealership to change this particular fluid. I guess it’s a closed system that only the dealership (or skilled, determined warranty-voiders*) can access. :mad:

Now, I am broke as shit, although I realize I have no choice but to get this done. I am wondering, is a total flush absolutely necessary, or can I just have them dump and replace it for less? What about a new filter, which I assume they’d try to upsell me even if it weren’t necessary? And most importantly, what should I expect this service to cost me? I did a bit of light reading about the procedure, and a couple people have been advised (by their trusted mechanics, or so they say) that the filter *truly *only needs replacing at 120k. Which is great news, if it’s true. But if it’s hogwash, I’d appreciate knowing from a group of people I trust.

I just like to educate myself before I go in for auto repairs, because I hate being taken advantage of. And seeing as I’ve *never *gone to a dealership before, I’m especially nervous. I hear they’re particularly predatory toward young females who appear to be car-dumb. And I would never go to one, except that I have to, for this. :frowning:

*I don’t have an active warranty, I’m just a smartass.

An oil change place is not a transmission shop. You may want to look at yelp or something for a specialized tranny shop in your area. One that has a guarantee.

Thanks for the tip about transmission shops, I didn’t know that was a big enough category to warrant a separate repair shop. I just looked online, and actually found a good one in my area. And they have a 10% off coupon available online! yay :smiley:

By the by, I do realize that quickie-lube places don’t specialize in transmissions. But I have been led to believe, by their upselling tactics, that standard transmissions can have their fluid changed out there. And I assume they charge a lower fee than the dealership would.

I really just brought the lube place up to illustrate that my car is a ginormous pain in the ass.

I don’t know that many transmission shops would know too much about a CVT. for one, they do indeed take special fluid; if you dump just any automatic transmission fluid in there you’ll kill it in short order. Two, properly servicing that transaxle requires some special equipment and a dealer/tech trained on servicing that trans.

long story short, find a Ford dealer that is certified to work on the CVT and take it there. don’t faff around with quick lube places or your average trans shop.

Go to the Ford dealer and tell them exactly what you told us. Don’t go to the Ford dealer and just cross your fingers.

Where do you live again? If its chicago i know factory trained ford techs who can help you out.


Go to a dealer or a GOOD transmission shop. It’s essential to use the specific fluid, and the procedure is rather picky – for example, there’s a very narrow temperature range the fluid has to be in for properly checking the level. Ford warns that checking it at the wrong temperature can result in underfilling or overfilling which could damage the tranny. Repairing a damaged unit can be in the 4000-5000 range, so don’t take a chance with any shop that you’re not SURE can do it right.

My info says to replace the fluid at 30,000 mile intervals, and the filter at 60,000 mile intervals. Then the service procedure says to always replace the filter when changing the fluid. :dubious:

For an independent shop I’d look for a member of ATRA, and avoid a chain franchise.

Thanks! This information was very helpful :smiley:

I’ll probably go ahead and get the filter as long as it’s under $50. I know transmissions for this make/model are notoriously finicky, so I don’t want to fuck around. And I’ve got the number of a highly-reviewed Ford dealership in Naperville.

hey, anyone so concerned: buy the correct fluid from any ford dealer, buy a pan gasket and filter, and go to any mechanic you can trust and get it done! it
:o It appears these are pretty strong transmissions, like anything they need proper service!

Are you a responsible car owner? Have you had Bluedio neutered? (You could get him fixed at any reputable mechanic’s clinic.) Has he had all his shots? Have you had him chipped? Is he housebroken?

if you remove his nuts then the wheels will fall off.

Rachel, Unless the filter is over $50.00?? I have been very broke, so I understand cost cutting. This is not the place to be cheap. $4000 to $5000 risk to save $100? think about it.

I do not know if these transmissions are “pretty strong” or if they are “finnicky”. I do know that the majority of the “Jiffy Lube” shops do not hire real mechanics, they just can not pay a competitive wage. I would probaly take it to a Ford Dealership, just to get a factory trained mechanic to do this service. They will know when and how to service your special transmission. Also, if anything goes wrong they will take care of it.

Think of this and all regulaly scheduled maintenance as a “yearly check-up” with the Vet for your pet. It is part of the cost to “own” a pet.

As an aircraft mechanic, I ALWAYS replace filters when I replace the fluid. It is cheap insurance.IHTH.

Note this is a zombie thread, last posted to in October 2011.

Besides the concern that “any mechanic you can trust” is not necessarily capable of doing this particular job properly, note that professional auto repair facilities have sound technical, business, and legal reasons for not using parts provided by the customer. It’s akin to taking raw food to a restaurant and asking them to cook it for you.

So, this can be like Car Talk’s “Stump The Chumps,” where we find out if the asker acted on the advice given, and whether it screwed up her car. :slight_smile: