About a year ago...
I bought a used 2006 Hyundai Elantra with an automatic transmission and about 70k miles on it.
Before buying it, I had it checked out by a mechanic who said it looked good. They mentioned that the transmission fluid was fine and looked like it had been changed fairly recently.
After buying it, I took it to my trusted mechanic for other maintenance. He looked the car over and also said it seemed in good shape.
The Carfax shows regular maintenance records from before I bought it.
I checked the transmission fluid and saw that it was brown.
This was also pointed out to me when I got my oil changed recently. The guy (just an oil change guy, not my trusted mechanic) tried to urge me to get it flushed.
It doesn't smell burnt to me, although it doesn't smell quite as sweet as I remember it when I first got the car.
- n.b. I've never smelled really badly burnt fluid so I'm not sure if I'm missing something, but a lot of sources seem to say "you will notice a burnt smell".
It doesn't feel sludgy
- I don't see or feel any small particles in it.
- It's not black.
- I haven't noticed any big problems driving it. No clunks or grinding noises.
The owner's manual says:
"As driving distance increases, the fluid color turns darkish red gradually. It is a normal condition and you should not judge the need to replace based upon the changing color."
The fluid is not listed to be replaced until 105k miles (or every 30k miles under "extreme conditions", which seems like a large difference!).
My thinking is that if the fluid was nearly new when I got it, it should be okay now unless there's some transmission problem that neither mechanic noticed, but that is so extreme as to cause it to get toasted after driving only about 7000 miles.
I've also heard that, if the transmission is indeed going bad, changing the fluid can push it over the edge.
- Does it make sense to replace the fluid solely based on the color, even though the manual says not to?
- Was the guy who told me to change it just trying to make a buck off me?
- Should I leave it alone?