Transmission Fluid Change on 125,000 Mile Vehicle

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4
Location
California
Thread starter
Hey All, I have a 2002 Ford Ranger with automatic transmission and 125,000 miles on it. As far as I know, the transmission fluid has never been changed. I was wondering if I should go ahead and change it, or if I'd be doing more harm than good at this point? I was thinking of maybe doing one of the following: (1) Doing a drain and fill with maybe a transmission filter change. (2) Siphoning and replacing maybe 1 quart of fluid every 1,000 miles or so from the dipstick hole? Any recommendations would be really appreciated. Here's a photo of what the current fluid looks like: [Linked Image] Thanks in advance!
 

JC1

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4,731
Location
Oshawa, Ontario Canada
That fluid looks pretty clean IMO. I would do a drain and fill first. Drive it for a few hundred miles and then do another drain and fiil along with dropping the Transmission pan and replacing the filter and cleaning the inside of the pan and magnets. Then every 2 years or 30K miles or whatever you are comfortable with, I would do a drain and fill. Every second or third time, I would drop the pan and change the filter. I know there are some guys that never change Transmission fluid or just do drain and fills and never touch the filter. The only cars I don't change the AT filters on, are my 97 Civic.
 
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Messages
35,852
Location
ME
+2, what you have is clean. If it were dirty you'd have a brown or grey ring around your pink blots. Change it anyway. I brought a nearly dead cutlass ciera back to life by changing its fluid. Old filter was so plugged it wouldn't make pressure. The whole "old fluid holds it all together" is a falsity.
 
Messages
34,652
Location
NY
Originally Posted by FordBroncoVWJeta
I highly doubt that's the original ATF. Looks way too new.
Me too. Either way I'd change it since the OP is not sure when the transmission was last serviced.
 
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4,384
Location
Parts Unknown
I would drop the pan, replace the pan with one equipped with a drain plug, change the filter, refill and you can then easily do additional partial changes quick and easy.
 
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7,939
Location
Champlain/Hudson Valley
Is your Ranger a RWD or 4WD? The 4WD has a deeper pan and a filter with an extended pick-up. I installed a Dorman pan (with drain plug) on my Ranger 4WD and changed the filter. You can do this on a RWD Ranger. It'll increase the pan capacity. My vehicle had <50K. The fluid was darkened but not bad. I'm going to wait until Summer to perform a drain & fill. My OE deep pan can be had for $10 over postage.
 
Messages
8,449
Location
Virginia
Originally Posted by demarpaint
Originally Posted by FordBroncoVWJeta
I highly doubt that's the original ATF. Looks way too new.
Me too. Either way I'd change it since the OP is not sure when the transmission was last serviced.
I agree demarpaint.... The fluid does look quite new... Interestingly the new fluid in my car looks rather different... A fair amount less color on it now. Before it looked like motor oil with about 2k miles on it while it was on the dip stick. Now it looks like it is translucent clear. Rather hard to see on the dip stick. Like brand new motor oil is when first put in.
 
Messages
4
Location
California
Thread starter
Thanks all, I appreciate the replies. I'll go with the drain, fill, and filter replacement. Vehicle doesn't have a drain plug, so I'll look into getting a replacement pan. I'll stick to JC1's maintenance schedule after that. My Ranger is a RWD (I wish I had the 4WD though!). Thanks again all
 
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