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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I now own a 2006 9-3 2.0T with 137k miles. The auto transmission fluid has never been changed. There are no problems with shifting. Is it too late to change the fluid now? I have heard in the past that it is not recommended to touch the fluid if it has gone past a certain point or you will cause problems. Thanks.
 

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I now own a 2006 9-3 2.0T with 137k miles. The auto transmission fluid has never been changed. There are no problems with shifting. Is it too late to change the fluid now? I have heard in the past that it is not recommended to touch the fluid if it has gone past a certain point or you will cause problems. Thanks.
I'd call bs on that one, I think (personally) its better later than never, I just did 152k ATF change on one of my 9-5's and it runs better than it did before hand.
 

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I've seen the argument both ways. I do read alot of "I just changed my fluid and...somethings busted, etc." But i assume alot of people dont post bragging that they did change it and its better or the same or whatever the case may be. Also i question how many of those problems were cause of new oil or some other dilemma be it human error or if just new fluid caused some sort of problem. Personally i would change it since i dont see how some old, dirt, worn out fluid can work or protect like new fluid. IDK maybe a new filter causes increase in pressure that causes leaks that are already there to become more pronounced? I'm not really backing this by any scientific studies, just my thoughts on the matter.
 

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I am almost at 143k with the original fluid, and am in the same boat. My shifting is fine doesn't matter if I leave it in drive or go into the Sentronic mode. I was also wondering if I should do this. Was going to do a full tune-up at 100,000, I did everything but the trans, cause the dealer wanted close to $250 just for the flush.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I had a friend who a few years ago had a 1997 900SE with 185k miles. The ATF had never been changed and was shifting fine, but the local Saab dealer refused to change it saying that to do so would cause problems. The car went about 225k until the transmission failed.

On another note, I was chatting a couple of years ago with the owner of a transmission repair shop. His recommendation was to never change the ATF. His personal experience had shown that auto transmissions typically fail in the same mileage range whether the fluid was changed regularly or not. I am not ready to subscribe to that theory myself.

I will probably order some fluid soon and go ahead and change mine.
 

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Just to note, ATF needs to be changed correctly, not too much, not too less, otherwise it will screw up, I left it to my Saab expert to do the job, it's one of those things. I've had a 04" V8 Ford last year and that had similar shifting issues like my 9-5, would be delayed for few secs changing from R to D and so on, (on cold start) and I suggested the fluid be checked during service which revealed that it was running low. They flushed it and topped it up and bam, worked fine again. My experiences, going to change my 2007 9-5 and my 2004 9-3 Aero next.

I assumed it was every 60k to change the ATF but was advised every 20k.
 

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I had a friend who a few years ago had a 1997 900SE with 185k miles. The ATF had never been changed and was shifting fine, but the local Saab dealer refused to change it saying that to do so would cause problems. The car went about 225k until the transmission failed.

On another note, I was chatting a couple of years ago with the owner of a transmission repair shop. His recommendation was to never change the ATF. His personal experience had shown that auto transmissions typically fail in the same mileage range whether the fluid was changed regularly or not. I am not ready to subscribe to that theory myself.

I will probably order some fluid soon and go ahead and change mine.
I guy I knew that worked at a transmission shop said he recommended that you never change it. He based that on the cost to change it over time would be more than a new transmission. If you changed it, it would still fail in about the same mileage and the cost of the flushes would make it a lot more expensive than someone who just changed the trans when it failed. Having said that, I still think I'd change it.
 

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This is an old controversy. My intuition about the "it failed right after I changed it" group is that they used the wrong fluid, they got a high-pressure flush from a crappy quick-lube joint, or they put in the wrong amount.

The quickie flushes are bad: they can dislodge old shavings or gunk and lodge them under valves, etc, thus creating new problems. a simple drain-and-refill or an old-fashioned fluid replacement (disconnect a hose and refill while running) are safer.

I'm skeptical of the "never replace the fluid" crowd. Transmission fluid deals with high temps and constantly moving parts---it will degrade eventually, and its additives will degrade quickly.
 

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This is my understanding as to why you don't change the fluid in an unmaintained transmission--

When the transmission fluid goes unchanged it accelerates wear on the friction medium of the clutches and brake bands. The old fluid has some of the friction material that has worn off in suspension. Most of it can pass by the screen filters and continue circulating through the system. This helps the worn out clutches and brakes continue to function. Though it probably does a poor job of lubricating gears, etc., you rarely lose an AT to planetary gear failure.

When the old fluid is dropped, the friction material goes with it. New oil may be too viscous, and the old clutches/brakes are no longer able to fully bind leading to slipping.

In my opinion, unless the transmission is really worn out, new clean fluid is better than old dirty fluid. I use the fluid as a guide rather than miles when deciding whether or not too change. If the old fluid is really gritty, very burned, etc., it may be too late to change. If the old fluid still smells OK, isn't gritty, it can probably be safely changed. Keep in mind, 137k of my driving is different from 137k of someone else's. The fluid will usually tell more than the odometer.
 
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