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#4515760 - 09/14/17 04:50 AM How does "Universal" CVT fluid work?
SirWired Offline


Registered: 11/12/13
Posts: 14
Loc: North Carolina
I have a '17 CR-V, and like all current Hondas, the CVT fluid is Honda's HCF-2 and NOT the older HMMF/"Honda CVT Fluid". Honda states that the two fluids are specifically neither forward nor backward compatible.

With that in mind, how can there be "Universal" CVT fluids that claim to meet both specs at once? One claiming you can use it as a substitute for, say, Jeep and Nissan fluid, I could understand. But how can a single fluid claim to work with two (unpublished) specs from the same company that the manufacturer states are in conflict?

I'm not due for a CVT fluid change any time soon, but I'm curious...

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#4515775 - 09/14/17 05:39 AM Re: How does "Universal" CVT fluid work? [Re: SirWired]
FordBroncoVWJeta Offline


Registered: 04/16/16
Posts: 790
Loc: KS
I think its just Honda. Honda has been know to push there fluids quite hard. I too have a 15 CRV i take care of. I thinking about using a universal fluid in there next change which will be the next oil change. Castrols CVT fluid can be had at a reasonably good price. They legally have to accept the warranty if you use fluid that meets or exceeds HCF2. As under magnuson moss warranty act of 1975.
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#4515786 - 09/14/17 06:01 AM Re: How does "Universal" CVT fluid work? [Re: SirWired]
Sayjac Offline


Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 12332
Loc: The Old North State
Quote:
..... how can there be "Universal" CVT fluids that claim to meet both specs at once?

If you read the PDS for Valvoline and Castrol CVT fluid they don't claim "to meet" any spec. Valvoline uses a 'recommended for' and Castrol uses a 'suitable for' listing of appropriate applications. It's the same as what is done with an ATF like MaxLife, eg. covers old Dex/Merc to new Mercon LV and Dex VI

Under warranty, I'd stick with the OEM to cover any warranty issues that might arise. After that, I'd have no fear using either Valvoline or Castrol CVT fluid.

As reference long time MaxLife user in maintaining two Hondas specing Z1 both with original trans, no issues.

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#4515787 - 09/14/17 06:04 AM Re: How does "Universal" CVT fluid work? [Re: SirWired]
LoneRanger Offline


Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 4100
Loc: Midwest USA
Use the OEM fluid.
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#4515849 - 09/14/17 07:39 AM Re: How does "Universal" CVT fluid work? [Re: SirWired]
Langanobob Offline


Registered: 04/24/09
Posts: 212
Loc: Reno, Nevada
I thought that the Magnuson Moss act required car companies to provide a product for free if they required its use to keep warranty coverage intact? Anyone know if this is correct?

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#4515885 - 09/14/17 08:19 AM Re: How does "Universal" CVT fluid work? [Re: Langanobob]
TheOilWizard Offline


Registered: 06/02/16
Posts: 107
Loc: US
I would stick with OEM for CVT fluid.


Edited by TheOilWizard (09/14/17 08:27 AM)

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#4515892 - 09/14/17 08:30 AM Re: How does "Universal" CVT fluid work? [Re: LoneRanger]
Bgallagher Offline


Registered: 04/17/12
Posts: 3159
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: LoneRanger
Use the OEM fluid.


+1 Considering how finicky CVTs can be and that the technology, while not new, has become more mainstream (with issues from what I read) I would stick with the OEM fluid or an approved fluid.
_________________________
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#4515898 - 09/14/17 08:35 AM Re: How does "Universal" CVT fluid work? [Re: Langanobob]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20565
Loc: Upstate NY
Originally Posted By: Langanobob
I thought that the Magnuson Moss act required car companies to provide a product for free if they required its use to keep warranty coverage intact? Anyone know if this is correct?


If your required to use only a Honda product then they must provide it for free. They are fine in saying the CVT oil must meet a certain spec, even if there is no CVT oil made that will meet that spec except for Honda.
_________________________
2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
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2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)


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#4516060 - 09/14/17 11:32 AM Re: How does "Universal" CVT fluid work? [Re: SirWired]
SirWired Offline


Registered: 11/12/13
Posts: 14
Loc: North Carolina
Don't get me wrong, I was planning to use the official Honda CVT Fluid; even after the warranty expires... official Honda juice ain't cheap, but it's not a bank-breaker. I was just wondering how those aftermarket fluids can claim they meet two different specs the writer of said specs claim are incompatible.

As far as the Magnuson Moss Act goes: Really, the only relevant requirement the act imposes is that if they allege your non-factory service caused a failure they must supply some evidence that this is the case; they cannot just make a blanket statement that the presence of aftermarket parts invalidates the warranty. That said, if your CVT fails in a manner consistent with bad fluid, blaming it on aftermarket fluid isn't much of a stretch.

Personally, I have no issue with, say, using motor oil off the shelf or DOT X brake fluid, as those specs are completely public. But I just don't see how it'd ever be a good idea to use aftermarket fluids without public specs for said fluids to test themselves against. And unlike, say, an oil filter, there's no small and well-defined set of properties to test the fluid against.

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#4516085 - 09/14/17 12:01 PM Re: How does "Universal" CVT fluid work? [Re: SirWired]
dogememe Offline


Registered: 04/15/17
Posts: 712
Loc: SF BAY AREA, CA
Hondas are insanely picky about fluids. They have several different power steering fluids, and at the auto parts store our house brand of fluids even makes two different Honda-specific fluids. For transmission fluid, on a CVT, or new models, go OEM, for older automatics, you can use off-the-shelf fluids that meet the requirements (such as Maxlife)
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1997 Suburban 5.7 ~214K Miles, VWB 5W-30, VO-55, Personal.
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#4516298 - 09/14/17 04:39 PM Re: How does "Universal" CVT fluid work? [Re: SirWired]
slacktide_bitog Offline


Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 6378
Loc: USA
Castrol CVT fluid is a great price on Amazon smile

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#4516745 - 09/15/17 05:47 AM Re: How does "Universal" CVT fluid work? [Re: SirWired]
ATex7239 Offline


Registered: 01/19/17
Posts: 331
Loc: Texas,USA
Only OEM with CVT's.

Universal anything is [censored].
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#4517011 - 09/15/17 11:47 AM Re: How does "Universal" CVT fluid work? [Re: SirWired]
ryanm8 Offline


Registered: 07/30/15
Posts: 119
Loc: FL
Castrol CVT fluid has been working better than OEM on my girlfriend's Nissan rogue. If it meets your spec, use with confidence. My guess is that the new Honda spec is probably lower viscosity so they say they are incompatible, when in reality the only detriment would be a bit of fuel economy loss.

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#4517464 - 09/15/17 10:13 PM Re: How does "Universal" CVT fluid work? [Re: SirWired]
Silk Offline


Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 4614
Loc: New Zealand
Jatco CVT's are used in a lot of brands - a universal fluid could be used in a Jatco rather than a brand specific oil.
_________________________
1987 BMW R65 - Penrite V Twin 20/50
2005 Nissan Expert - Gulf Western 10W-40
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#4517590 - 09/16/17 05:47 AM Re: How does "Universal" CVT fluid work? [Re: SirWired]
SirWired Offline


Registered: 11/12/13
Posts: 14
Loc: North Carolina
Yeah, I could totally understand a fluid that claimed to work in a bunch of near-identical JATCO transmissions that are scattered all over the auto industry. (Though it'd be nice if JATCO came up with their own name for the fluid spec and made it clear which transmissions it was good for; not everybody knows who made their transmission.)

The part I don't get is how a fluid can possibly claim to meet two specs the OEM says are incompatible. I don't think Honda likes keeping two different CVT fluids on the shelf any more than consumers want to get confused by them. (And Honda makes those transmissions in-house; the only way they'll be like JATCO fluid is through coincidence.)

I suspect using out-of-spec CVT fluid will work short-term in nearly all circumstances, but in my mind, long-term durability would be in doubt; CVT's are very dependent on that fluid working how the transmission controller expects it to work.

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