I'm looking a purchasing a 2006 BMW X5 3.0i and found out that the transmission fluid (by dealer) is not suggested until the vehicle surpasses 100k. They also state that the vehicle will let me know when fluid change is needed by dashboard warning light illumination. That seem quite boastful especially if it includes the filter.

My questions are:

  • How can a transmission survive 100k miles with no filter change and still perform?

  • How can BMW do this while other vehicles must change fluids and filters at preordained intervals?

  • This vehicle is only at 86k.
    – Dee
    Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 21:43
  • 1
    Most new vehicles have a 100k tranny fluid change interval. Not sure what you are suggesting is much different? I think a lot of it has to do with newer fluids. Dexron VI in GM vehicles fits this bill. Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 22:04
  • @MaxGoodridge - Shifting noise usually isn't an issue in an automatic, it's the lack of shifting or slipping which is much more troublesome. Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 23:37

1 Answer 1


Advanced fluids that resist breakdown mostly, and good filters. Old automatics (and I'm assuming the car in question is an auto) usually had service intervals of ~60k, so new technology pushing it out to 100k isn't beyond the realm of possibility. My '02 330i (stick shift) has the same claims, that the fluid is good for the lifetime of the car.

(Personally, I don't buy it, and changed it this summer after buying the car with 160k on it. Lo and behold, the car shifts a bit smoother. I will continue to change it out at 40k mile intervals as I have done with all my cars. I do all my own work so the cost is minimal, and a fluid change takes all of an hour, including getting the car in the air and on stands.)

I wouldn't worry about it, as long as the car shifts smoothly. Most newer cars have longer service intervals. If you're really worried you can have the fluid analysed or just changed out for peace of mind.

  • When you changed the fluid ...you only changed the pan fluid or all?
    – Dee
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 2:30

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