should one change the transmission fluid on a E36

automatic transmission
no problems , 90K miles
BMW says its for life but . . .

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I would have changed it long ago. But sure, change it now. It's probably not far enough gone that you'll start having trouble changing it.
If you do a conventional change, you wind up not changing all the fluid, only about half of it. So, you want to change the fluid well, well before it starts to degrade since you're still going to have some fluid from several changes back in there. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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I've not heard of any problems with an automatic transmission in the E36 that are related to the fluid, but the E46s have lots of troubles that look like fluid could be part of the problem.
I'd encourage you to go ahead and flush the transmission and torque converter, but do not stress about it. Transmission fluid has changed A LOT since I was a kid, and it had to be replaced on a pretty regular basis. Not only has the fluid changed, but the transmission internals have changed too, and the actual work that it does has changed.
I'm a bit of a sceptic about "lifetime" fluid, but I tend to let the engineers with mechanical degrees make these kinds of calls. I'd suggest that at 90k miles, and no problems, you are in good shape. I don't recall that you said which car you have, and which transmission, but it is important that you (or whoever does the fluid change) know which fluid is specified for your application. The wrong fluid can foam-up inside the transmission, and this will lead to an undesirable result. The wrong fluid can also have any number of other consequences that might actually be worse than leaving the fluid you already have alone.
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