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My 2011 Cruze just reached 100,000 miles and I made an appointment for her first oil change after reaching this milestone. When I called the dealer to schedule an appointment, the service advisor recommended a transmission fluid exchange. I accepted his offer, as I have not had that performed in the 3 years I've owned the car.

However, when I received my email confirmation of the appointment, the ticket says "Transmission Flush and Diagnosis." Is there a huge difference between the two, and should I keep the appointment? I checked with a friend who is knowledgeable about cars, and he said that in an exchange, they drop the pan and do a better inspection of the transmission, and recommended I find a dealer who will do the exchange and not the flush. On the other hand, another friend said that since I'm going to a dealer, they'll just follow whatever recommended maintenance from GM.

As I mentioned, I bought the car 3 years ago with 30-odd something miles on it, so I'm not sure if anything transmission service was done beforehand, or the dealer would do anything as part of the certified pre-owned process.

My family has had bad luck with transmissions in the past, so I want to make sure I'm getting the correct service. Thoughts?
 

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I hit 42 K and asked the same question, this particular car isn't designed to have the transmission pan dropped for maintenance rather than repair so the fluid they hook a machine up and mechanically vacuum the fluid out, every drop. Even out of the filter and then replace with new, the exchange they take the transmission apart and drain it, in my opinion not as a reliable of a fluid change, but that's just what the dealer told me and the exchange where I live is more money ski trusted this information and 5 thousand miles later have no reason to believe it was incorrect

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The only reason I would suggest dropping the pan is to replace the filter, the fluid flush doesn't include the filter change so at that mileage you may want to have the filter changed

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The key detail is what they mean by a "flush". If it's just running new fluid under normal pressure to flush out the old - that's fine. If it's something special with added pressure or special fluid - no.
 

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Whatever you do, don't let them FLUSH the transmission. I went in a few months ago to have what was supposed to be a transmission fluid change done. To my dismay the invoice showed they flushed it using equipment etc. user manual says nothing about getting the transmission flushed, only having the transmission fluid changed. Reason why is because it puts the system under pressure and your are then at risk of having the used clutch material and debris clogging the valve body and causing the transmission to not engage properly and slip. In theory these flush machines are supposed to only build pressure that is the same as that of the torque converter itself, meaning no harm but I just my trust it. Ever since having mine flushed over been paranoid and it seems like the transmission allowed the engine to rev higher before switching gears. Maybe im
just paranoid.
 

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We bought our 2007 mazda 3s new and have had the fluid changed every 30,000 miles at the dealer we bought it from. They let me watch one time and they hook a machine up to the transmission and then run the car and they let the fluid flow through the machine and it somehow exchanges the old fluid for new fluid. The machine basically just becomes part of the transmission and just put new fresh fluid into the transmission. There is no extra pressure applied they told me they just use more fluid than what the transmission requires in the exchange. So far we just turned 104,000 on the car and it shifts the same as when it was new. Last time I brought in a bunch of Amsoil fluid and they used that for new fluid instead of their own. I assume GM does something similar and would not tear up your transmission by applying extra pressure. I had to bring in 3 gallons of fluid when I had my cruze done around 30,000 miles and they gladly used it so I assume it was just something similar to what mazda has done. Personally I think this is better as it gets everything in the torque converter and taking the pan off the transmission is just messy and has a lot more chances of errors happening. This exchange method you just have to make sure you have enough new fluid. I am just glad I have dealers that appreciate that I want to use great fluid and don't mind me bringing it in for them to use.
 

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Drain and refill is much better than a flush. You want to keep some of the old fluid in an older transmission.
There's really zero benefit in keeping old, contaminated fluid inside the transmission.

Whatever you do, don't let them FLUSH the transmission. I went in a few months ago to have what was supposed to be a transmission fluid change done. To my dismay the invoice showed they flushed it using equipment etc. user manual says nothing about getting the transmission flushed, only having the transmission fluid changed. Reason why is because it puts the system under pressure and your are then at risk of having the used clutch material and debris clogging the valve body and causing the transmission to not engage properly and slip. In theory these flush machines are supposed to only build pressure that is the same as that of the torque converter itself, meaning no harm but I just my trust it. Ever since having mine flushed over been paranoid and it seems like the transmission allowed the engine to rev higher before switching gears. Maybe im
just paranoid.
Please be aware that professional shops that have updated their equipment over the years do not function in that manner when they perform a flush. A flush involves the transmission's internal pump cycling fluid out, while a machine measures and fills fluid back in at the same rate. This is not harmful to the transmission in any way. Please be careful when referring to a flush, as your recommending strongly against it without an acknowledgement for which type of machine was used is a disservice to any readers.
 

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My 2011 Cruze just reached 100,000 miles and I made an appointment for her first oil change after reaching this milestone. When I called the dealer to schedule an appointment, the service advisor recommended a transmission fluid exchange. I accepted his offer, as I have not had that performed in the 3 years I've owned the car.

However, when I received my email confirmation of the appointment, the ticket says "Transmission Flush and Diagnosis." Is there a huge difference between the two, and should I keep the appointment? I checked with a friend who is knowledgeable about cars, and he said that in an exchange, they drop the pan and do a better inspection of the transmission, and recommended I find a dealer who will do the exchange and not the flush. On the other hand, another friend said that since I'm going to a dealer, they'll just follow whatever recommended maintenance from GM.

As I mentioned, I bought the car 3 years ago with 30-odd something miles on it, so I'm not sure if anything transmission service was done beforehand, or the dealer would do anything as part of the certified pre-owned process.

My family has had bad luck with transmissions in the past, so I want to make sure I'm getting the correct service. Thoughts?

Hi DannyC990,

Congratulations on reaching this milestone with your Cruze! We would be happy to offer our assistance and connect with your dealership regarding your appointment. If this is of interest to you, please feel free to send us a private message with your full contact information, VIN, mileage and the dealership you are working with.

Best,

Cristina
Chevrolet Customer Care
 

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There's really zero benefit in keeping old, contaminated fluid inside the transmission.



Please be aware that professional shops that have updated their equipment over the years do not function in that manner when they perform a flush. A flush involves the transmission's internal pump cycling fluid out, while a machine measures and fills fluid back in at the same rate. This is not harmful to the transmission in any way. Please be careful when referring to a flush, as your recommending strongly against it without an acknowledgement for which type of machine was used is a disservice to any readers.
I agree with all of this, and in personal experience I feel as though the flush is definitely as abrasive as you need especially considering that's the procedure recommended for this car with its tranny, and if the dealer were to screw something up with a more simple less invasive procedure then they would have most definitely screwed up a fluid exchange calling for a drop in the pan and a filter swap.

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In reality, most shops are going to do what's technically an "exchange." As noted, that's where a machine collects the old fluid from the tranny and provides new fluid to the tranny. Even if they call it a "flush," what they're probably doing is really an exchange.

There's nothing wrong with doing a fluid exchange. The old wive's tales about transmissions dying after a fluid "flush" were probably from people who had the fluid changed after their transmission started having problems, then blamed the fluid change for the death of the tranny, even though it was already on its way out.

Now, if by chance the dealer is offering some kind of flush that involves pumping cleaning solvents into the transmission, that's something you don't want. But likely, they're just offering and exchange and calling it a "flush."

Just ask about the details of the service they're offering. It may be that the clerks at the desk don't know the details. They're mainly there to push add-on services like fluid exchanges.
 

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Debate on this subject has been going on for over 60 years now as whether to flush or not to flush, some claim stuff will get loosened with a flush and give you new problems you never had before. I personally prefer to flush and do it my self.

Worse part is blocking up the vehicle, have cooler lines running up either to the radiator, cooler or in better vehicles, both. Open up any line, but both will have a container. Running the engine at idle in neutral, and even through the gears, lets all that fluid leak out. Would even waste a couple of cans, guess you guys don't remember when it was 25 cents a quart to even flush it out better.

One vehicle I really did a complete flush on was a 72 Ford motorhome with a C-4 AT on it, that fluid would really get dark, but if I had any brains at the time, would have installed an oil cooler on it, did this for my 82 Chevy P-30, now the fluid is staying nice an pinkest.

With older GM vehicles, like my 65 Buick that had a drain on the pan, that was easy, drained and dropped the pan, replaced the filter, don't know why, like a screen door screen, always was clean. But the real tailtale sign was the amount of debris found in the bottom of the pan, should be less than a teaspoon. Would only replace about four quarts and good to go. Zero problems even after 330K miles. In later years, GM dropped the drain plug, that was a mess.

The key factor of the fluid is the color, once it gets dark, time to get it changed. Not only did they dump the drain plug, but the pan as well, easy to check the color of the fluid with the dipstick, what happened to this?

You can check the color of your fluid by one of two ways, either block up all four wheels so the vehicle is level, or park in in level ground and dig a hole so you can get under it. Have to remove the top fill plug, but only do this when the transmission is cold or will lose fluid.

They sure don't make this task easy anymore, but we do have a choice, just leave these things in the showroom, and maybe after 10-15 years or so, would get the idea.
 

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My 21 year old son has a 2005 Pontiac Vibe, same drivetrain as the Toyota Matrix, I change his transmission fluid about every 25k miles, spin on transmission filter and just drain and replace the fluid. It doesn't have a large capacity of fluid so for about $30 I can do it myself and I use Toyota transmission fluid and filter. Zero issues and it has 131k miles.
 
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