Should I change atf on 2003 vw passat

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I am babysitting my pastors car while he is away on vacation. I am surprising him by doing some maintenance on his car. He has a 2003 vw passat 1.8t fwd with the 5hp19. He bought it used and I dont think the atf has ever been changed. It has 153,000 on it right now. It shifts great and I would really like to change the atf and filter but I do not want to run into any transmission issues down the road by changing the fluid. I am a firm believer that it is always better to change the fluid then leave it even at high miles but that is easy to say when its your own vehicle. He doesnt have alot of money and i am just trying to make the car last. What would you do? Change the fluid or not?
 

Kestas

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The Motor City
You have a good heart, but I'll have to agree with JC1. More than once I tried to do someone an unrequested favor, only to have it bite me. Give it a good wash and vacuum.
 
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Illinois
Do not open that can of worms. Never touch a transmission that isn't yours and don't have permission to alter. God forbid anything happens after changing the fluid. Oil change and a full tank of gas, no problem imho.
 
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Maricopa Arizona
Originally Posted by maxdustington
Change it and don't say anything about it. Real altruism, and he will be none the wiser if anything goes wrong!
This is the best course of action.
 
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1,882
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Minnesota
IMO...the answer is a big NO. Too many things could go wrong and besides, its not your car. Cut his grass, or perhaps fill his fridge before he gets home. Tasks that cannot cause problems. The car is 16 years old.....
 
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167
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NJ
I flushed the atf on a 1.8t 2003 passat at 90,000. The result was improved shifting. It took 11 quarts of Maxlife syn atf with lt71141 spec on the back. I was horrified at the black color that came out for the first 7 quarts. Glad I did it.
 
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WA
Do not touch it. ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ or do whatever the Bible directs as far as neglected transaxles.
 
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WI
"...for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do."
 
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Colorado Springs
Do not touch it. If you want to do something good, check whether engine has big oil filter. Those engines were notorious for sludge due to a. VW/Audi messed up oil recommendation and b. oil capacity. Solution was moving engines to proper full synthetic oils (VW502.00) and large oil filter. Often, people who are not well versed in these vehicles neglect that oil filter and get small version. So, check that, and of it is small filter, get large, preferably VW or MANN or Mahle, and put some nice juice like Castrol 0W40. Also, check if there is rattling at the back of the engine when engine is cold. That engine has timing belt and chain. Chain is in the back and it is known to cause problems. If there is rattling, there is your way to help him.
 
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1,318
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NY
Thread starter
He takes it to a foreign car specialist so they are familiar with working on the car. Just had the timing belt replaced and the engine does have the big filter.
 
Originally Posted by maxdustington
Change it and don't say anything about it. Real altruism, and he will be none the wiser if anything goes wrong!
In other words lie by omission to your pastor. Really? Change the oil, detail it, mention when he gets back the ATF fluid could stand to be changed and explain the change/don't change schools of thought. If he wants it done you could offer your help. Decide now what you'd do if the tranny would start to act up. Or offer to have it done by the specialty shop.
 
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