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Facts about the car:

  • 16 years old VW with 280kkm/170k miles on the odometer
  • I plan on driving it until it dies
  • 2.0 TDI motor and a DQ 250 02E, wet-clutch, six-speed original DSG transmission
  • no access to service records
  • dual mass flywheel changed in 2016, unsure about transmission work
  • don't know if DSG fluid was changed previously
    • previous owner was organized so probably yes, but can't contact them to ask
  • transmission feels fine, though sluggish at times (i.e. shifts later/at higher revs than I'd expect it to, even though I'm in D, not S), and there are no clunks, weird noises, or jolts when shifting.

The question: I want to maintain it so it lasts as long as it can. Am I fine to change DSG fluid now, or do I risk messing it up if it wasn't changed and is now worn out? I know that's a risk in traditional torque converter based automatics, but DSGs are different.

Since it has wet clutches, maybe contaminants in the fluid are providing extra friction to the worn clutches?

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  • I'm not a VAG nor DSG expert, but I sure would. May 25, 2023 at 20:47

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Your DSG transmission is like a manual transmission with an automatic clutch and shifting action. There's no torque converter or complicated valving and hydraulic passages like a normal automatic, so it's not subject to the same fluid change precautions. If it belonged to me, I'd change the fluid now and every 40,000 miles, or as recommended in the manual.

If you provide the VIN, any VW dealer can look it up and give you the history of any completed recalls or warranty work, and the dealer who performed it. They won't have a full service record unless they did the work right there. But if you then contact the servicing dealer who did the warranty or recall work, provide the VIN and say you're the new owner and want to know the last time the trans fluid was changed, they can tell you.

They don't have to tell you, so be nice. Visit in person if it's not too far away, and don't go on a Monday morning or just before closing time.

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  • My understanding of these is they are wet clutches. If so, the oil can get contaminated just like auto transmissions can. May 25, 2023 at 23:10
  • My previous VAG with wet-clutch 6-speed DSG box needed an oil change every 60000km. A later VAG with dry-clutch 7-speed DSG box didn't need the oil changing. There's no torque converter or complicated valving but there is a complicated 'mechatronic' unit that can fail. May 26, 2023 at 11:03

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