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#2750030 - 09/21/12 12:21 AM Transmission fluid change or flush on Chevy Malibu
sceco5 Offline


Registered: 06/08/09
Posts: 16
Loc: Midwest US
At the beginning of this year I bought a 2006 Chevy Malibu LS, 2.2 Ecotec 4 cyl AT, with 112K miles. As it sits now it has almost 122K miles on it. Since I have owned it I have driven it 80% highway miles to work, and the previous owner claims that the car was used for mainly highway travel also. I know that if I want this car to last a while, a transmission fluid and filter change is in onder at the minimum.

I was planning on taking it to the Chevy dealer since they have a special going on to flush the transmission and change the fluid and filter for $110. The filter alone is $60, so that doesn't seem bad at all to me for $110. I have heard though that flushing transmission fluid from a higher mileage car isn't a good thing to do. Is there any truth at all to this? IMO it seems that getting the old, broken down fluid out of the differential and transmission will be nothing more than a benefit.

What do you all suggest doing on a car with this kind of mileage, do it myself or let the dealer do the flush on it?

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#2750065 - 09/21/12 04:27 AM Re: Transmission fluid change or flush on Chevy Malibu [Re: sceco5]
eljefino Online   content


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 22965
Loc: ME
The filter is $60? Isn't this a 4T65E? I can get a generic filter from advance for $15 or so.

No matter what you do it's a good idea. IMO I'd rather do a straight pan drop and refill.

I'd corner the guy and make sure the filter change is in writing on the repair order, so they don't just flush via cooler lines and walk away from it.

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#2750066 - 09/21/12 04:33 AM Re: Transmission fluid change or flush on Chevy Malibu [Re: sceco5]
chad8 Offline


Registered: 08/26/09
Posts: 1247
Loc: michigan
The oem filter is $28 on rock auto. aftermarket are $12. I pay even less.
http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/x,carcode,1432073,parttype,8600

Either way is better than letting old nasty fluid break down in your transmission. If the transmission is shifting fine, it will do nothing evil to change fluid. That is an old wives tale.
would u leave old oil in your car because it might hurt a bearing if you took it out. Just use common sense.
If the trans is shifting badly or slips , that is a different matter.

You could do it yourself for $50-60. dextron 6 is readily available and fairly cheap.

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#2750067 - 09/21/12 04:33 AM Re: Transmission fluid change or flush on Chevy Malibu [Re: sceco5]
sprocketser Offline


Registered: 09/01/12
Posts: 140
Loc: Canada
When I had my tranny oil changed at around 63K , the guy did 3 drop & fills & the oil s nice now , it was dark before these 3 drops & fills , I would suggest the same but you re the boss .


Edited by sprocketser (09/21/12 04:33 AM)
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#2750075 - 09/21/12 05:17 AM Re: Transmission fluid change or flush on Chevy Malibu [Re: sceco5]
demarpaint Offline


Registered: 07/03/05
Posts: 20187
Loc: NY
Here's what I'd do. Drop the pan and filter, [or have someone do it] fill with fresh fluid and drive a bit. Extract the fluid or drop a tranny line, get as much fluid out as you can and refill. Take a drive and do it again. Take a drive and look at the color of the fluid, repeat if necessary. Add a bottle of LG red at your final fluid swap. You should be GTG at that point.
_________________________
GOD Bless our Troops!


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#2750076 - 09/21/12 05:21 AM Re: Transmission fluid change or flush on Chevy Malibu [Re: demarpaint]
Slick17601 Offline


Registered: 12/04/04
Posts: 1223
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: demarpaint
Here's what I'd do. Drop the pan and filter, [or have someone do it] fill with fresh fluid and drive a bit. Extract the fluid or drop a tranny line, get as much fluid out as you can and refill. Take a drive and do it again. Take a drive and look at the color of the fluid, repeat if necessary. Add a bottle of LG red at your final fluid swap. You should be GTG at that point.


I do the same, works well.

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#2750078 - 09/21/12 05:27 AM Re: Transmission fluid change or flush on Chevy Malibu [Re: sceco5]
Barkleymut Offline


Registered: 01/27/04
Posts: 2277
Loc: Richmond, VA
I do a pan drop (and usually a filter change) on the wifes van every 10K miles. Transmission service is the best money you can spend on a car IMHO.
_________________________
09 Vue(83K) 2.4 4spd auto-Maxlife 5w30 / 09 Flex(45K) 3.5L / Moms car 04 Pilot(99K) 5w20 PP + Puro

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#2750081 - 09/21/12 05:33 AM Re: Transmission fluid change or flush on Chevy Malibu [Re: sceco5]
eagle23 Offline


Registered: 01/11/08
Posts: 414
Loc: Roswell GA
I had the previous generation Malibu (03) and it didn't have the tranny dipstick...part of the growing "lifetime maintenance-free" concept that ultimately helps the trans overhaul business.

To fill mine, I think you had to add from the side or something strange, almost like a manual trans. I haven't had the car for over five years now.

Yours may be different, which I hope is the case. Check that before pulling the plug and the pan yourself.

Mine wasn't something to do on my own, in addition to being a company car, so I used an outside shop.

To my knowledge, those trans are durable. A fluid change now is a good idea, and I agree with the LG red comment. But even without LGR, definitely change it out.

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#2750094 - 09/21/12 05:58 AM Re: Transmission fluid change or flush on Chevy Malibu [Re: eagle23]
Zaedock Online   content


Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 3572
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: eagle23
To fill mine, I think you had to add from the side or something strange, almost like a manual trans. I haven't had the car for over five years now.


I'll be doing my wife's '04 Maxx very soon. Fluid/filter change and then pull a bolt on the pass side, while filling on the driver's side, all while the car is level and at temp.
I'm very experienced with driveline work and am not looking forward to it.

To the OP: If your tranny does not have a dipstick and is filled in this fashion, I recommend collecting all the old fluid and measuring so you can add the same amount. In my case, if the tranny is cold and you remove the "sight" plug, fluid will just pour out. It has to be warm, even after the change.
_________________________
2012 F150 Ex-cab 5.0L/2004 Malibu Maxx LT
1992 YJ "The Heep"/1994 Olds Cutlass Ciera 3.1/auto
1975 Ford Bronco/1959 Willys CJ5/20XX Custom rock crawler

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#2750102 - 09/21/12 06:05 AM Re: Transmission fluid change or flush on Chevy Malibu [Re: Zaedock]
demarpaint Offline


Registered: 07/03/05
Posts: 20187
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: Zaedock


To the OP: If your tranny does not have a dipstick and is filled in this fashion, I recommend collecting all the old fluid and measuring so you can add the same amount. In my case, if the tranny is cold and you remove the "sight" plug, fluid will just pour out. It has to be warm, even after the change.


That's how I did my Jeep, but I would strongly recommend confirming that the fluid was properly filled before starting the project. Chrysler uses a special dipstick, I took mine to a buddy mechanic that was able to confirm the level was correct before I started the job. I made my own dipstick to eliminate the need for the dealer or a shop to check the ATF level in my Jeep. Cost cutting sucks for the consumer. JMO
_________________________
GOD Bless our Troops!


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#2750116 - 09/21/12 06:22 AM Re: Transmission fluid change or flush on Chevy Malibu [Re: demarpaint]
Zaedock Online   content


Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 3572
Loc: Massachusetts
I omitted in my post that the vehicle must also be idling when the level is checked.

So, level, idling, up to temp, sight plug on pass side, fill on drivers.

Only in a GM. duh

After all the trouble we had initially (for those who remember us suing GM), the car has been pretty good. Good in snow, good mileage, and *knock on wood* not too many additional issues. I just did both front control arms and outer tie rods for about $180.00. The arms are typically $170 a piece. Oh, I did the pass-side wheel bearing too. At 101,000 miles, I guess that's not too bad for a commuter/go-getter living it's life on doo dee western Mass roads.
_________________________
2012 F150 Ex-cab 5.0L/2004 Malibu Maxx LT
1992 YJ "The Heep"/1994 Olds Cutlass Ciera 3.1/auto
1975 Ford Bronco/1959 Willys CJ5/20XX Custom rock crawler

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#2750124 - 09/21/12 06:34 AM Re: Transmission fluid change or flush on Chevy Malibu [Re: sceco5]
pbm Offline


Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 4937
Loc: New York
I believe you have a 4T45E (and not a 4T65E).
I recently dropped the pan and changed the fluid and filter on my 2005 Ion with this set-up.
There is no drain bolt so you have to be careful dropping the pan (to avoid a mess) but I got approx. 7 quarts out (of a 10 qt. system).

I cleaned the pan and magnets and added LG red with the new fluid (Shell 'formerly approved for Dex III').
It is important to measure what comes out because checking the level involves using a lift (the car must be level and raised).

PS: I bought the Saturn from the original owner with 25K and changed the fluid at 31K. I was surprised how clean and RED the old fluid came out. I do believe this is a well designed transmission and that you should service it for long life.

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#2750145 - 09/21/12 07:03 AM Re: Transmission fluid change or flush on Chevy Malibu [Re: pbm]
satinsilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 2764
Loc: Ohio
+1 on the LubeGard Red. I was going to mention it even before seeing the above post.

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#2750172 - 09/21/12 07:34 AM Re: Transmission fluid change or flush on Chevy Malibu [Re: pbm]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 6953
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Originally Posted By: pbm
I believe you have a 4T45E (and not a 4T65E).
I recently dropped the pan and changed the fluid and filter on my 2005 Ion with this set-up..


Yep, it's the 4T45E. Good little engine/trans combo. Only marginally awful to do an ATF change on if you follow procedure to a "T". I normally don't bother with the level check. I just put in the amount I took out. I've seen aftermarket pans avail for the 4T45E with built-in drain plugs, but they were pricy. Installing a universal plug is an option, but is it worth the hassle? I dunno.



Joel


Edited by JTK (09/21/12 07:36 AM)
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2014 Subaru XV Crosstek 2.0L, 5spd, 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan SE (Babe magnet III)

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#2750472 - 09/21/12 12:11 PM Re: Transmission fluid change or flush on Chevy Malibu [Re: Slick17601]
Bgallagher Offline


Registered: 04/17/12
Posts: 1129
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: Slick17601
Originally Posted By: demarpaint
Here's what I'd do. Drop the pan and filter, [or have someone do it] fill with fresh fluid and drive a bit. Extract the fluid or drop a tranny line, get as much fluid out as you can and refill. Take a drive and do it again. Take a drive and look at the color of the fluid, repeat if necessary. Add a bottle of LG red at your final fluid swap. You should be GTG at that point.


I do the same, works well.


I do the same and I have a near identical Malibu (05 with same engine/transmission) I currently have Supertech Dex VI and a bottle of LGR. Great combo. Shifts are crisp and never any hesistation or shift guessing
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2005 Chevy Equinox - 116k - M1 and AC PF52 (non e-core)
2005 Chevy Malibu - 132k - QS Defy and Purolator L15436

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