checking transmission fluid on malibu

Greetings, Everyone that posted was very helpfull on my last post. Thank you. I have researched both on the internet and this newsgroup on how to
check the transmission fluid on my 2002 malibu. I do not mean to start another war, but I consistently find conflicting methods. Some say running at operating tempreture while others say cool and not running. I know wher the fill cap is on the transmission and am confident I can find the plug on the side of the transmission. The other "dilema" I am having is weather or not to change the filter/fluid. My car has just over 80,000 and I am quite uncomfortable with GM's theory that you should not worry about it ever (unless you drive in heavy city traffic, pull trailers, etc.). Would like to keep this car running another 80,000 miles or more. I would not do a complete fluid change... just what comes out when dropping the pan. I have also read the transmission gasket is reuseable?? Thanks again, Chris
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I've driven cars 180k+ with no change. The only two cars I had the trans serviced needed repairs within 10k later. I'll never touch it again. If it is not burnt looking, I'd just leave it alone.
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Yes, Trans pan gaskets are supposedly reusable on the newer cars. I bought one a new one for my 05 Buick just in case I break it removing the pan in a couple weeks. There are steel washers that the bolts pass through to prevent the gasket from getting crushed down.
Some people have had good luck without servicng a transmission, others have not. You have to decide what you want to do for YOUR car.
I've changed trans oil about every 50 to 60,000 miles on my Bonneville and I got 192,000 out of it before it began to slip.
A friend with a 92 Corolla changed his every year / 30,000 miles and got 253,000 miles on it when the trans died .
I'll change the trans oil on the Buick this month sometime, technically the car is now two years old, only its one year old to me.
Good Luck
harryface 05 Park Avenue 37,809 91 Bonneville 306,528
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The fluid should be checked.....running....in park..after you have gone thru the gears with the shifter. Remove the plug at the passenger side of the trans, slightly below the axle seal on the passenger side.
If you attempt to check it without the engine running, you "will" screw it up.

Of course you should change the fluid and filter. It's called "maintenance". You will get the poster that will tell you how they went a million miles, never changed the fluid..etc. They were lucky. And the gasket is re-usable. Your vehicle will take 7 liters of fluid to fill after you remove the trans pan and filter. Install 4 liters of fluid, remove the plug, start the engine, go thru the gears, put it back into park, continue installing fluid slowly and take a peek under the vehicle every now and then (put a pan under the location of the plug) and when you see fluid running out, stop pouring in the fluid. Put the plug back in....and away you go!
Ian
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