ATF aftermarket vs. OEM

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656
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Portland, OR
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I've been on this site for a while and used a lot of its advice. In my last honda I dumped the Z1 and used Castrol import multi vehicle. It helped a lot! It seems everyone (almost) on here seemes to like the way their car shifts better with aftermarket fluids. Why is that? We dident build the tranny, the aftermarket company dident build the tranny, and come to think of it the OEM fluid company dident either! You would think that the people who did build it and select the OEM fluid whould choose the best one. Or at least a fluid that would let it operate well for a good long time? Why do we all think we know better I guess is my question?
 
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10,008
Location
Upstate NY
Honda seems to be more common than most. I believe it's because their OEM ATF-Z1 was a mediocre at best fluid for many years. The fluid was leapfrogged by aftermarket products, so many people report more satisfaction with aftermarket fluids.
 
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656
Location
Portland, OR
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I also own a 09 Hyundai sonata. A lot of people say that the spIII is junk. I also own a 08 bmw 328i and people say that the liftime fill that BMW claims is a lie. I dont own one but people say the same about VW.
 
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1,480
Location
FL
OEMs use the cheapest fluid just to be "good enough" and nothing more. I just flushed by P/S fluid with Castrol import ATF a few weeks ago and steering has never felt better. The OEM fluid was junk. I will flush the tranny in a few months, hopefully.
 
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14,460
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The Old North State
Can't speak to other folks with Honda's or any other vehicle for that matter. But IME only, Z-1 has worked admirabley in an 01 Civic(~148k) since new with some regular maintenance, ie., Z-1 drain and fill @ ~30k intervals after 60k ff. My attitude as regards Z-1 then has been, if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it. The fact that it ain't broke yet (knock wood), in an 01 Civic AT, says something. So, while I have nothing to compare Z-1 to, I'm satisfied with the it's durability and shift characteristics using it. Also have done a Z-1 drain and fill @25k in a 3.0L Accord. While there may or may not, be better ATF out there for a Honda, I have no reason or desire to experiment. That said, in other makes I would likely be more open to a change.
 
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35,762
Location
ME
It seems if they could run cheaper fluid but compensate with PCM programming they'd do it. Chrysler uses (used?) shift quality feedback to influence how things shift in the future.
 

JOD

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3,577
Location
PNW/WA
Originally Posted By: ryland
It helped a lot! It seems everyone (almost) on here seemes to like the way their car shifts better with aftermarket fluids. Why is that?
I have to wonder how much of it is simply changing the fluid with newer fluid, versus the type of fluid. When I changed a friend's Honda transmission fluid with new OEM fluid, the car definitely seemed to shift better.
 
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3,252
Location
Florida
I usually like to stick to OEM for things like ATF, PSF, antifreeze. I don't see any issues with Z1, but I change it often and recommend extra filtration.
 
I blew a trans line on my 1998 Dodge 1500 with 318.I had Amsoil in it for 40k.It was installed using a BG exchange machine.Blew a line.Lost lots of fliud.Refilled with ATF+4. It was ok.Shifting and such.Pulled pan,cleaned with new filter and more ATF+4. It was OK.But it just didn't feel the same.Not as smooth and torque converter lockup was almost rough.Couldn't take it anymore.Got 17 qts of Amsoil ATF,hooked up a BG machine and did a 17 qt exchange.BINGO.Shifted nicer,smoother and no roughness in torque converter lockup.Made a believer out of me.
 
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