I took my 2015 Honda Accord to the dealership to have a recall serviced. While performing the service, the mechanic recommended that I also had my manual transmission fluid (MTF) flushed since the car's odometer had recently passed 30k miles. I declined because they were asking for $130 to do it and I figured I could do it myself for less.

The problem is that when I got home from the dealership and reviewed the service manual which stated that the MTF should be change every 120k miles under normal driving conditions.

How can I determine if I really need to change my MTF? I searched around and found that if the fluid is bright red then it means that it's still good. And that brown or black fluid means that it should be replaced. However, I don't think my car has a dip-stick to the transmission fluid, so I don't know how to inspect it. What should I do?

1 Answer 1


tl dr: Unless you have a leak somewhere in your manual transmission, leave it alone and don't worry about it.

If you look at the maintenance schedule for Hondas, you'll find there's no schedule for changing standard transmission fluid. You have to inspect the fluid, but there's nothing for changing it. With all things for maintenance, you need to follow what the manufacturer states to do to get it done right, especially if you want to keep your warranty.

NOTE: These are general rules about manual transmission. Some manufacturers may require fluid changes, so pay attention to what the manufacturer states and call it a day.

To be quite honest with you, there's usually no need to change the fluid in a manual transmission. It doesn't see the wear/tear that an automatic does. It doesn't get hot like an auto tranny does. It doesn't have clutches inside which exhibit wear and flake off into the transmission fluid. About the worst which happens to it is synchros break down over time, but really, that's so insignificant in the oil, I really shouldn't even be mentioning it.

You did right by refusing the oil change in your transmission. It is my suggestion the tech was trying to upsell you on what you needed done for the vehicle. In most places, if a tech suggests a service or maintenance which you end up purchasing, they will get a larger percentage of that service in their paycheck then they would for normal things which you brought to them. It isn't uncommon for them to ask you if you want one of these services.

  • 1
    I wouldn't use that mechanic again, @Marcos, they were trying to sell you something you don't need.
    – GdD
    Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 12:32
  • @GdD It was at the dealership and I was taking my car for a recall service. I didn't have a choice. I usually service my car by myself.
    – Marcos
    Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 2:53
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2♦ How can I inspect my fluid if my car doesn't have a dip-stick?
    – Marcos
    Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 2:55
  • @Marcos - To be honest, most cars with manual transmissions aren't designed to be inspected. If it doesn't have a dipstick, not much you can do about it. Really, though, if your tranny isn't leaking, don't even worry about it. Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 10:45

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