What to replace Kia/Hyundai SPIII with?

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What is the best replacement for Kia/Hyundai/Mitsubishi SP3? Mobil 1 used to carry the "recommended for" verbiage and it has since been removed. Mobil has said a reformulation did not occur and internet lore says Mobil was threatened by Kia/Hyundai. Do we know what makes SP3 so special that it does not have any approved aftermarket replacements? I am wanting to use Mobil 1 in my 2010 Kia Optima. The car has a warranty until 60K and I have 42k now. I really am not overly worried about the warranty aspect. I have read where Mercon V is the closest formula. Then I read where ATF +4 is the closest formula. Some people say that Valvoline Maxlife is the stuff to use. The trans holds around 10 quarts and I have done two drain/fills (With SP3) which replaced about 9 quarts. I had planned to do yearly drain/fills but I have read so much that states SP3 is a poor fluid. Am I safe with yearly drain/fills or do I look for a synthetic replacement?
 
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4,557
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Lima, Ohio, USA
ok, pardon my inquisitiveness - it is your car,after all, to maintain as you wish - but why on gods green earth would you do annual drain/fills on your trans????? surely they don't spec that often? my last car was a 2000 Hyundai Sonata. 2.4l, auto trans. in the 8.5 yrs i had it(Aug'01-Feb'10), i only had it changed/flushed/filter changed, once. @ around 60k. Per manuf. specs. sold it @ 105k mi, but probably would have done again @ 120k mi. I do remember the local independent trans shop wouldn't do it, cuz he had done this on his personal car,only to have hyundai refuse to pay for a trans repair that popped up later,because"he didn't use their specific fluid", or something to that effect. I ended up taking to local Hyundai dealer.(This was back when i was afraid to mess with anything non-electrical under the hood)
 
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4,574
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Merritt Island FL, USA
You are gonna love that transmission to death, the yearly drain and fills with the SPIII will be way more than enough to keep that tranny working well. Just stick with the Hyundai spec. fluid and you will be absolutely golden.
 
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Originally Posted By: earlyre
ok, pardon my inquisitiveness - it is your car,after all, to maintain as you wish - but why on gods green earth would you do annual drain/fills on your trans????? surely they don't spec that often? my last car was a 2000 Hyundai Sonata. 2.4l, auto trans. in the 8.5 yrs i had it(Aug'01-Feb'10), i only had it changed/flushed/filter changed, once. @ around 60k. Per manuf. specs. sold it @ 105k mi, but probably would have done again @ 120k mi.
It has an OEM drain plug. Why not do a yearly drain/fill? A drain/fill is rougly 4.25 quarts. Cheap/simple/easy maintenance.
 
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4,557
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Lima, Ohio, USA
Originally Posted By: 04SE
It has an OEM drain plug. Why not do a yearly drain/fill? A drain/fill is rougly 4.25 quarts. Cheap/simple/easy maintenance.
i like that answer. why do it? because i can.
 
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305
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Florida
For something that calls for SP-III, I recommend the Castrol Import Multi-Vehicle if you're trying to keep the price down also. Used this in one of my mitsubishi's and it actually helped my transmission with 176k miles shift smoother compared to when I've changed it with factory fluid. Never had any experience with the Amsoil stuff, I'm sure it would do great. What you hear about factory SP-III fluid is non sense. I have it in my 226k mile galant and it shifts fine. The one thing I like about my older mitsubishi transmissions is that they have a top, spin-on filter.
 
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1,712
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Virginia
I've used MaxLife in my girlfriend's XG350. It currently has around 15k on the Maxlife ATF and has exhibited zero issues.
 
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14,898
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NE,Ohio
I would just use SPIII its around 6$ if you shop around at dealers. If you want to use other fluid at least use one that lists as "suitable for" such as maxlife or castrol import. mercon V doesnt have the right FM's .. spIII is more friction modified than mercon V To summarize.. if it was me I'd use the factory fluid esp with warranty. Kia and hyundai at least around here are notorious for flaking with warranty repairs and doing fluid sampling for any trans failure (spIII has specific markers they test for)
 
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102
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OH - IO
2x drain/fill on the wife's '10 Sportage with MaxLife ATF. Great stuff. The Kia fluid was a little dark for my liking, but still looked serviceable. Figure I'll just do one drain/fill @ every 15k since there isn't a serviceable filter. The ML really smoothed out the hard shifts under load and the "auto stick" feedback seems better.
 
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816
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McGregor TX
Dealers around me price the fluid WAY too high, but I've always paid it. I have about 145K on my 2003 Santa Fe and have always stuck with Hyundai SPIII. I do a drain/fill every 30K. Is is super easy. I'm almost due for another and I'm going to buy a case of fluid online. If you check ebay you can find it much cheaper than at the dealer as long as you don't mind buying a case of 12 quarts.
 

JTK

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12,871
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Buffalo, NY
Originally Posted By: 04SE
What is the best replacement for Kia/Hyundai/Mitsubishi SP3?
Valvoline Maxlife ATF has proven over and over to be a perfect replacement. I know I've used it in Hyundai, Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Ford products with no issues. It spec's it's "suitable for use" right on the bottle, costs less than dealer juice, is the easiest and cheapest to source and is a synthetic (blend?) product. How can you go wrong? Joel
 
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IL
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I emailed Mobil about using their Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF and they said "Mobil does not produce a suitable replacement." However, directly from the Mobil website: Question: Can Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF Replace Toyota and Hyundai Branded ATFs? I have a 2004 Toyota Sequoia 4.0 V8, and a 2005 Hyundai Tiburon GT 2.7 V6. Both these manufacturers stress to use their branded ATF. Toyota is Type IV and Hyundai is SP3. On your label it says your products can be used to replace both of these OEM ATFs. Question: Are they direct replacements with no chance of damage to the tranny? The Hyundai Tiburon forums are full of stories of wrong fluids causing damage. I put Mobil 1 synthetic oil in all my cars and put the synthetic ATF in my son's Mustang. Works great. Thanks, ML -- Marlon Lee, Phoenix, AZ Answer: Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF would work for both your engines.
 
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3,244
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Austin, TX MSA
Beck/Arnley is now making a SPIII specific fluid. Problem is, it costs more than the SPIII at the dealer. I paid $6.60 a quart last time at the dealer, the B/A stuff is $11.99 at O'Reilly.
 
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8,598
Location
Florida
Originally Posted By: jcwit
Why do you wish to use something other than whats recommended by the manufacturer?
Because there are fluids that have superior oxidation resistance, cold flow, and other properties that are superior to SP-III fluid. In Canada, many Lancer Evolution and Lancer Ralliart models are having failed ACD pumps because SP-III fluid does not have good cold flow properties for example.
 
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818
Location
Tacoma, WA
Originally Posted By: 04SE
What is the best replacement for Kia/Hyundai/Mitsubishi SP3? …. I have read where Mercon V is the closest formula. Then I read where ATF +4 is the closest formula. Some people say that Valvoline Maxlife is the stuff to use ….
Here is what I have found with my Hyundai: An elemental analysis of the SP II ATF is almost identical to an elemental analysis of Mercon V. I have tried the following in my 2005 with zero problems shifting: Red Line C+ ATF Mobil 1 ATF Mobil ATF 3309 I cannot say that they all feel identical, but they all seem to work. I like the cold weather performance of the synthetics. I do a drain plug drain and refill every 30k miles, which changes about half the contents of the transmission.
 
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3,577
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no. indiana
Originally Posted By: artificialist
Originally Posted By: jcwit
Why do you wish to use something other than whats recommended by the manufacturer?
Because there are fluids that have superior oxidation resistance, cold flow, and other properties that are superior to SP-III fluid. In Canada, many Lancer Evolution and Lancer Ralliart models are having failed ACD pumps because SP-III fluid does not have good cold flow properties for example.
So the manufacturer is putting inferior products in the vehicle. OK, now we know!
 
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