Automatic Transmission Fluid Change
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Thread: Automatic Transmission Fluid Change

  1. #1
    Platinum Member Jamis's Avatar
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    Automatic Transmission Fluid Change

    Has anyone with a maintenance minder equipped Civic ever gotten an A3 or B3 message? The 3 is calling for a transmission fluid change, but the OM has no documentation on when that might occur. I'm assuming that procedure is a dealer one as the only way to completely change the auto fluid is with a machine. I've done many drain/fill operations on my cars over the years, but that only gets about 50% of the fluid out. I'm wondering what triggers a "3" code from the computer. I'm guessing the ECU does some calculation based on driving habits like the OLM calculation.
    Last edited by Jamis; 11-19-2014 at 06:40 PM. Reason: added blather
    2013 CBP EX-L sedan w/Navi.: K&N Drop In
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  3. #2
    Nooblets
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    I do not know anything about the code. How many miles do you have on your car? I never heard of any Honda that requires 100 per cent removal of all of the transmission fluid. I always felt if it was changed every 30,000 miles with a drain and refill the cars should last form many, many years and miles. I have an 05 Ford F-150 Lariat Crew Cab that I use to pull my boat and I change the ATF in the torque converter and in the pan as well as a new transmission filter. The truck looks like new and has 204,000 miles on it. I always thought a person should be good with the 30,000 mile intervals. I did read where the Honda Civics automatics have a transmission filter. The 9th generation cars are so new that I have not heard a lot about the filters on the transmissions. I wonder if maybe it would require a new transmission filter? I had a 5 speed manual on my 06 coupe therefore the 9th generation is all new to me.

  4. #3
    Platinum Member Jamis's Avatar
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    30K ATF changes were a good idea before synthetics and I usually did that. I learned that my '97 Civic EX didn't like synthetics, but I've used Amsoil ATF in my '03 Mazda P5 since 30K miles and it still shifts great at 92K. The last interval on the P5 was 60K and the fluid was nice cherry red with no burnt smell when I drained it out. I believe the Civic inline filter is on top of the transaxle and under the battery tray. IIRC, the filter is made with no connectors and is part of the pipe that connects the transmission with the cooler, so changing it is not like changing an inline fuel filter. Don't know for sure. I'm just looking for anyone that has had the "3" message come up. Of course I still check the dipstick the first of every month to see if there is any change to the ATF fluid as the OM states.
    2013 CBP EX-L sedan w/Navi.: K&N Drop In
    54,000 Mi.;Avg MPG:33 city;44 hiway;87 E10;ECON On
    79 mos. old, not a single problem, issue, or recall.
    2017 Milano Red Fit EX-L w/Navi. K&N Drop In
    17,000 M. Avg. MPG 35 City, 45 Hiway 87 E-10 ECON On
    I've gone out to find myself. If I return before I get back, have me wait for me.
    Old Age & Treachery Trumps Youth & Exuberance.


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  6. #4
    Top Dawg!! ScootR's Avatar
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    Oh GOD, ATF. Most are fill for life now. All have filters and must due to friction material debris. I know my 06 Accord said 100,000 miles. Yes to do it right need flush/charge machine. Just about every OEM now has their own ATF spec/fluid and critical you use the right stuff. Had magnetic drain plug here too.
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  7. #5
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    I have been doing one drain and fill every 20,000 miles. Have been following this schedule on my 13 Accord with CVT as well. Honda recommends doing 3X drain/fill around 50K-60K miles. The dealer would not do this when you get the "3" code.

  8. #6
    Nooblets
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScootR View Post
    Oh GOD, ATF. Most are fill for life now. All have filters and must due to friction material debris. I know my 06 Accord said 100,000 miles. Yes to do it right need flush/charge machine. Just about every OEM now has their own ATF spec/fluid and critical you use the right stuff. Had magnetic drain plug here too.
    These are definitely not a fill for life. Change it at 30,000 miles. I have a 2005 Ford F-150 crew cab that has 204,000 miles on it. The transmission filter and fluid have been changed every 30,000 miles and I pull a large fishing boat with it most of the time. That transmission would have been toast a long time ago if I never serviced it. I changed my 2012 Honda fluid at approximately 36,000 miles and it was previously a Honda lease car. The previous owner told me it had been done at 30,000 but I did it for peace of mind. The previous owner didnt have the service record but said it was on the computer at Honda and the owner was a Honda sales manager.
    scottyrocks likes this.

  9. #7
    Question Authority Roadcourse's Avatar
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    My dealer put it very simply.

    "Drain what will come out every 30k miles and replace it with Honda fluid only. The people that do this don't have transmission problems. The people that don't do this will eventually have transmission problems. 100k miles is too long to leave it in. ".

    I've done this on all my AT cars for years and never had problems. Just did it on a Nissan with 211k miles on it. Used OEM fluid. There ya have it.
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  10. #8
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    My dealership recommands it every 15k miles, its included in the intermediate service, and also included in the major service at 30k

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roadcourse View Post
    My dealer put it very simply.

    "Drain what will come out every 30k miles and replace it with Honda fluid only. The people that do this don't have transmission problems. The people that don't do this will eventually have transmission problems. 100k miles is too long to leave it in. ".

    I've done this on all my AT cars for years and never had problems. Just did it on a Nissan with 211k miles on it. Used OEM fluid. There ya have it.
    ^^^^^^Good advice here.

  12. #10
    Platinum Member Jamis's Avatar
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    Good advice all around, but I was looking for someone that has had an A3 or B3 code come up on the iMID to see what their mileage and driving style was. I'm still assuming that there is an ECU calculation that triggers it like the A1 or B1 codes, but it puzzles me on a couple of issues.
    1. There is no reset like there is for the OLM.
    2. As such, how does the ECU know when the ATF is changed?
    3. There is no way to display the life percentage of the ATF, so you know what to expect.
    2013 CBP EX-L sedan w/Navi.: K&N Drop In
    54,000 Mi.;Avg MPG:33 city;44 hiway;87 E10;ECON On
    79 mos. old, not a single problem, issue, or recall.
    2017 Milano Red Fit EX-L w/Navi. K&N Drop In
    17,000 M. Avg. MPG 35 City, 45 Hiway 87 E-10 ECON On
    I've gone out to find myself. If I return before I get back, have me wait for me.
    Old Age & Treachery Trumps Youth & Exuberance.


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