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#2592883 - 04/07/12 06:35 PM Kia Optima Trans Fluid - Dump and Fill
bigblumer Offline


Registered: 09/21/11
Posts: 176
Loc: Mn
The trans fluid in the 07 Kia Optima was looking a little gray, so I decided it was time for a change. The manual calls for Kia/Hyundai SP-III, but after doing some reading, I've found that people have had good luck using Valvoline Max Life.

The fluid exchange was easy. The Kia has a drain bolt in the pan, and no easily serviceable filter, and according to the dealer, its just a screen. If you get it serviced at the dealer, all they do is a dump and fill, so I figured I could do the same for a lot less.

The drain bolt is a 24mm, and almost exactly 4.5 quarts drained from the pan. You'll need a flexible funnel to make the least amount of mess.

I've only driven the car for about 30 miles, just to get it warmed up enough to verify the fluid level, but everything seems to be working well. I have not noticed a difference in shifting either way, but I am glad that dark fluid is out of there.

I may do a 2nd dump and fill in a few weeks to try and get more of that old fluid out of there. We'll see.
_________________________
07 Kia Optima 2.4l
M1 AFE 0w-30 and Napa Gold

12 Toyota Sienna XLE 3.5V6
Mobil 1 AFE 0w-20 and Fram Ultra

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#2592905 - 04/07/12 06:49 PM Re: Kia Optima Trans Fluid - Dump and Fill [Re: bigblumer]
beast3300 Offline


Registered: 12/24/09
Posts: 3145
Loc: Ohio
NICE!!! Fresh fluids are always the best!
_________________________
'03 Regal GS L67: PP 5w30/FU3980

'99 Grand Prix L36: QS HM 5w30/STP 3387A E-core, Filtermag

'07 LaCrosse L26: PG 5w30/ProSelect 21040

ASE L1 MT


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#2592913 - 04/07/12 06:57 PM Re: Kia Optima Trans Fluid - Dump and Fill [Re: bigblumer]
wymi516 Offline


Registered: 11/15/08
Posts: 383
Loc: Illinois
Yep, it's any easy trans fluid drain & fill procedure on the Kia/Hyundai's. My 07 Sonata I4 has the same set up as your Optima. I do 3 drain & fills a week apart every other year, might be a little excessive but that's why were on this board! I used Castrol IMV the first time and it made the shifting a little to harsh for my liking. Second time around I use Maxlife which took the shifting in the other direction and slipped a little too much. This last drain & fill I used Valvoline ATF+4. The ATF+4 has been the best so far. The shifts are crisp without being harsh and no slipping. I also use the ATF+4 in my 09 Santa Fe V6, it smoothed out a rough 1-2 shift and produced the same crisp shifting as in the Sonata.
_________________________
2016 KIA Forte 1.6L T-GDI
2013 Chevy Impala 3.6L DI
2014 Chrysler 200S 3.6L PFI

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#2592914 - 04/07/12 06:57 PM Re: Kia Optima Trans Fluid - Dump and Fill [Re: bigblumer]
toyota62 Offline


Registered: 09/24/05
Posts: 896
Loc: Australia
Castrol Transmax E far better than the OEM ATF.
_________________________
Bob.
AIAME
2012 Rav4 Mobil1 EP 0w-20
2016 c250 diesel Mobil1 0w-40

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#2592933 - 04/07/12 07:10 PM Re: Kia Optima Trans Fluid - Dump and Fill [Re: bigblumer]
johnachak Offline


Registered: 12/08/10
Posts: 1612
Loc: L.I. NY USA
Kia?
_________________________
06 Ford Freestyle, PP syn 5w20 MC filter
09 CTS 3.6 D.I. AWD, M1 5w30 Delco filter
Daughters Jeep Compass 2011, 2.4 AWD, 4WD switchable on the fly.
JMH

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#2592934 - 04/07/12 07:10 PM Re: Kia Optima Trans Fluid - Dump and Fill [Re: bigblumer]
toyota62 Offline


Registered: 09/24/05
Posts: 896
Loc: Australia
You must use SP3 rated ATF,Otherwise sooner or later auto will fail.
_________________________
Bob.
AIAME
2012 Rav4 Mobil1 EP 0w-20
2016 c250 diesel Mobil1 0w-40

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#2592950 - 04/07/12 07:17 PM Re: Kia Optima Trans Fluid - Dump and Fill [Re: toyota62]
wymi516 Offline


Registered: 11/15/08
Posts: 383
Loc: Illinois
Originally Posted By: toyota62
You must use SP3 rated ATF,Otherwise sooner or later auto will fail.


I agree, sooner or later the auto will fail!
_________________________
2016 KIA Forte 1.6L T-GDI
2013 Chevy Impala 3.6L DI
2014 Chrysler 200S 3.6L PFI

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#2593040 - 04/07/12 08:17 PM Re: Kia Optima Trans Fluid - Dump and Fill [Re: toyota62]
antiqueshell Offline


Registered: 03/02/12
Posts: 5133
Loc: chicago, Illinois
Originally Posted By: toyota62
You must use SP3 rated ATF,Otherwise sooner or later auto will fail.


It's funny that most people refuse to follow legit instructions about manufacturer specified fluids. They don't say it for the heck of it.

Just the fact that the OP experienced degraded shifting should have told him he was on the wrong track. Willful ignorance is very expensive in the end.

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#2593160 - 04/07/12 10:32 PM Re: Kia Optima Trans Fluid - Dump and Fill [Re: antiqueshell]
Ursae_Majoris Offline


Registered: 03/28/09
Posts: 1350
Loc: South
What degraded shifting????? OP said nothing of this sort. As a former owner of 2008 Kia Spectra I can confirm that SPIII fluid is not up to the task of being ATF. It oxidizes REALLY fast. Semi-syn fluid, such as Maxlife is much, much better.
Before recommending to stick with SPIII, have any of you experienced ANY failures using aftermarket SPIII-compatible fluids?
OEMs gave us Dexcool and LIM failures, so OEM do not always know best.
_________________________
2011 Chrysler T&C, Dealer bulk fill/, OEM filter
2002 Isuzu Axiom, PureOne, 5w-30 G-Oil

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#2593172 - 04/07/12 10:51 PM Re: Kia Optima Trans Fluid - Dump and Fill [Re: bigblumer]
beast3300 Offline


Registered: 12/24/09
Posts: 3145
Loc: Ohio
Maxlife ATF is full synthetic.
_________________________
'03 Regal GS L67: PP 5w30/FU3980

'99 Grand Prix L36: QS HM 5w30/STP 3387A E-core, Filtermag

'07 LaCrosse L26: PG 5w30/ProSelect 21040

ASE L1 MT


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#2593177 - 04/07/12 10:53 PM Re: Kia Optima Trans Fluid - Dump and Fill [Re: beast3300]
Ursae_Majoris Offline


Registered: 03/28/09
Posts: 1350
Loc: South
thank you.
_________________________
2011 Chrysler T&C, Dealer bulk fill/, OEM filter
2002 Isuzu Axiom, PureOne, 5w-30 G-Oil

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#2593191 - 04/07/12 11:20 PM Re: Kia Optima Trans Fluid - Dump and Fill [Re: bigblumer]
bigblumer Offline


Registered: 09/21/11
Posts: 176
Loc: Mn
Shifting has not been a problem so far. I have not noticed any difference in shifting. I've heard that this transmission design is the same/similar as a Chrysler design, so I may go with ATF+4 when I do my next pan drain, or I may go back to SP-III if I find shifts to be a problem.
_________________________
07 Kia Optima 2.4l
M1 AFE 0w-30 and Napa Gold

12 Toyota Sienna XLE 3.5V6
Mobil 1 AFE 0w-20 and Fram Ultra

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#2593226 - 04/07/12 11:50 PM Re: Kia Optima Trans Fluid - Dump and Fill [Re: bigblumer]
Ross Offline


Registered: 09/10/02
Posts: 699
Loc: Bismarck, ND
I use atf+4 in all my mitsubishi built chrysler cars that spec sp3 in the trans and ps systems. This was from a chrysler TSB.
Been doing this since about 2003 No issues yet. But I more time is needed. I also have a 2011 hyundai accent that will be changed over to atf+4 at some point.
_________________________
land of fieros
88 fiero gt t-tops 3,000 original miles
09 saturn outlook
11 hyundai accent se
03&04 mitsubishi made chrysler sebrings
06 buick lucerne

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#2593381 - 04/08/12 09:00 AM Re: Kia Optima Trans Fluid - Dump and Fill [Re: antiqueshell]
The_Eric Offline


Registered: 03/31/10
Posts: 5205
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: antiqueshell
Originally Posted By: toyota62
You must use SP3 rated ATF,Otherwise sooner or later auto will fail.


It's funny that most people refuse to follow legit instructions about manufacturer specified fluids. They don't say it for the heck of it.

Just the fact that the OP experienced degraded shifting should have told him he was on the wrong track. Willful ignorance is very expensive in the end.



Manufacturers are people too. And just like everyone else they too can make mistakes - like spec'ing a less than optimal fluid.

I often hear that "You need to use GENUINE SP III or your transmission will come unbolted from the engine and drop onto the road and throw a temper tantrum"... or something to that effect, and it's [censored].


I personally have used Amsoil ATF for 20k miles with no issues and others have used a multitude of other fluids with no issues. Even the big Hyundai dealer in my area uses Kendall Versa Trans in place of the SP III! I know because their lube supplier told me AND the dealer confirmed it. So, if the dealer uses a multi vehicle formula and doesn't have problems then it mustn't be THAT big of an issue.
_________________________
2005 Lincoln Aviator 4.6 DOHC
2000 Honda Accord 2.3
2001 Hyundai Elantra 2.0
1979 Ford F-150 351M

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#2594286 - 04/09/12 09:29 AM Re: Kia Optima Trans Fluid - Dump and Fill [Re: bigblumer]
bigblumer Offline


Registered: 09/21/11
Posts: 176
Loc: Mn
I would like to add that I did not choose MaxLife over SP-III because of a gut feeling, or because "that's what my dad always used" or because I thought the bottle was good looking. I did do a little research into which fluid to use. The MaxLife (Along with the Castrol IMV) bottle actually says its a replacement for SP-III. Anybody who's been around here for a while knows that an aftermarket manufacturer won't say their product is suitable for use in something if it wasn't actually suitable for use. They wouldn't take on the liability.

http://www.valvoline.com/pdf/maxlife_atf.pdf

I think we've seen a proliferation of company specific transmission oils because auto manufacturers have found a way to make money out of doing so. They create their own spec that is only slightly different than Dex/Merc, say you must use it, and then sell it to you for 6.00/qt.,or get a licensing fee if somebody puts the time and effort into selling a specific fluid, like Eneos.

Car manufacturers know that people are afraid to touch their transmissions. They think they are a dark, scary, Pandora's Box of machinery, gears and moving parts and a little bit of black magic. They are counting on you to run to the dealer every time you need some maintenance done on your transmission. My local Kia dealer charges $139.99 for what I did for less than $20.00 and a half-hour's worth of my time. I think it actually took me longer to run out and buy a 24mm socket, than it did to change the fluid.

At the 70k mi. mark, I had the transmission serviced at Pepboys. (I was living in an apartment, and I didn't know the tranny fluid was so easy to change) According to the service receipt, Pepboys put in Synthetic Merc/Dex III. It ran for the last 38k Miles on that without issue, so I am pretty confident that I'll be good for the next 30k mi.

Yes, some day my transmission will fail, and some day I will die. Some day you will die too, and one of these days in the future, the sun will swell, and cook our world until there is nothing left. Until then, happy trails with whatever transmission fluid you use.
_________________________
07 Kia Optima 2.4l
M1 AFE 0w-30 and Napa Gold

12 Toyota Sienna XLE 3.5V6
Mobil 1 AFE 0w-20 and Fram Ultra

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