Q: Does my transmission fluid need to be changed?

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I took my 2008 Ford Escape to get and oil change and they did an inspection. They said my transmission fluid was turning dark and was due to be changed at 100,000 miles. My car was at 98,000 miles. It is now at 106,000 miles. I called a mechanic to get it changed and they said changing it would probably cause problems. Should I get it changed?

My car has 106000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

The color of used transmission fluid is not particularly relevant in judging the remaining life of the fluid. If the fluid is visibly contaminated with particulate matter and/or the fluid has a burnt odor, as a consequence of overheating, those would be relevant inspection factors. Fluid with a burnt odor, for example, should be changed at once. There is no recommendation in your Ford manual to change the automatic transmission at any particular interval, assuming the vehicle is used in normal service. However, Ford does clearly state that if the Escape is used for trailer towing the fluid should be changed every 30,000 miles, that is frequently. As a compromise, even though Ford does NOT require it, it is definitely a good maintenance practice to change the fluid at least every 100,000 miles in normal service. As far as the mechanic’s remark that changing the fluid would cause problems, in YOUR circumstances, that is with a relatively new vehicle that has only moderate miles, that advice is technically incorrect and unwise. If you are curious, ask the mechanic to cite specific literature, journal articles, field test data, lab results or other actual, tangible, documentable evidence that there is potential harm. If he supplies such evidence, take it into consideration. If he supplies nothing, you can safely ignore the "advice" that he gave you. If you desire, YourMechanic does perform transmission fluid exchanges on a mobile basis. The service to request would be transmission fluid/filter change. If you have any further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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