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According to the owner's manual service/maintenance guide, automatic transmission fluid, differential oil & transfer case oil should be inspected for leaks at the following intervals:

Transmission fluid/Differential Oil: every 3750 miles Transfer Case oil: every 7500 miles

According to the notes, "if towing a trailer, using a camper or driving on rough/muddy roads, replace fluid/oil every 30,000 miles or 24 months." This is also the replacement interval recommended under the "Premium Maintenance."

Is there a good rule of thumb for changing these fluids during light city/highway driving, or should I just go by the 30k interval?

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What most don't understand is that when we are driving a vehicle, we should be servicing it under the "premium plan" or whatever your particular brand of manufacture calls it. We abuse our vehicles far more than we understand. Light city driving is a plethora of stop and go which is actually pretty strenuous on vehicles. If you are driving it on the highway, are you only going the speed limit? Around my neck of the woods, the "speed limit" is quite often flowing with traffic between 75-80 mph. That is actually strenuous on a vehicle. If you "only" drive the posted speed limit, then you could be considered driving easy on your car.

Secondly, something to consider is if you maintain your vehicle at the lower mileage, and can prove it, a dealership will never come back at you if you should ever have a problem with the vehicle. There would be no way they can tell you a problem with the vehicle which should be covered under warranty ever happened due to lack of maintenance.

Thirdly, you will not be doing your vehicle any harm by doing the maintenance on the quicker schedule. Clean oil and filters will only prolong the it's life.

So the point is here, as long as you can afford it, there is no downside to doing the maintenance on the quicker schedule.

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Motor manufacturers test their vehicles over thousands of miles in dozens of environments, to arrive at their recommended service schedules. It follows on that the best maintenance schedule would be the vehicle manufacturers using their recommended oils, fluids and OEM replacement parts. You can of course operate your vehicle with your own custom plan, but it would be at your own risk of any problems that may, or may not, arise.

  • I am very skeptical about some of the really long oil change intervals manufactures recommend theses days. Sure, you will not have any problems during the warranty period. But once that is over, the manufacture is not going to take responsibility if the engine wears prematurely. – rana Oct 14 '15 at 16:50

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