Elantra ATF Change - Question for Hyundaitech

Our local Hyundai dealer uses a exchange system for changing the ATF. This is effectively a power flush system I believe, and they also mentioned that they use "SPIII-approved synthetic ATF" instead of the
OEM Hyundai or Mitsubishi SPIII ATF. Of course, the exchange system flushes the old ATF from not only the sump, but the torque converter, and cooler/lines.
I have two worries here: 1). I've been told that power flushing an automatic transmission can be harmful to the transmission, however, the Service Advisor at the Hyundai dealership told me that there is no worry . . .? and 2). I'm concerned that they're using an "SPIII- approved synthetic ATF" rather than the Hyundai spec OEM SPIII. I have no qualms or arguments, per se, against synthetic lubricants, as I use Mobil 1 for the engine. However, the "SPIII-approved" worries me.
One would think that they should know what they're doing, but you never know, as I don't want to cause a problem with a perfectly operating transmission in our 2006 Elantra. The Maintenance Schedule calls for "service service" replacement of the ATF at 30K miles or 24 months. The car is 24 months old, but only has 13K miles on the clock. It does see mostly in town, stop and go driving, which certainly qualifies as severe service. I want to adhere to not only the intent, but the letter, of Hyundai's preventive maintenance schedule, so that down the road there is absolutly no question regarding proper and timely preventive maintenance should a warranty repair question arise.
Any thoughts on this would be certainly appreciated.
Thanks, Don
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I apologize for the typo in the 4th line of the 3rd paragraph. Obviously, I meant to type "severe service."
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

That certainly beats the dealership near me, who said they use Dexron/ Mercon. I'm never going back to them.
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I guess I am as curious as you are, as I am not aware of a synthetic out there (at least yet) that specifically lists "SP-III" as one of the fluids approved for use.
In fact, only recently, and for the first time, have I seen a fluid that actually lists SP-III by name. You can get it from AutoZone, and it is called, "Import Multi-Vehicle ATF." Haven't used it, so I currently have no comment on it.
I have used ATF+4 (Chrysler) in one vehicle, without any problems. But bluntly, if the synthetic still seems to be a "Dexron-Mercon" based fluid, I would avoid it. That is one fluid, synthetic or not, that apparently can cause problems.

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Although I made an appointment for later this week to have the ATF changed by this dealer, I'm going to cancel the appointment. I don't feel comfortable with their assertion that the synthetic ATF is "SP- III-approved." I would rather have them use genuine SP-III. If I can't find a dealer who will use what's specified by Hyundai, then I will drain and refill the transmission myself. I know this method doesn't drain the fluid from the toque converter, cooler, and lines, but if I were to perform a simple drain and refill with SP-III every year, I would think that this process should provide benefits in the long-term.
I guess I'm confused why an authorized Hyundai dealer doesn't use the fluids specified by the manufacturer! This is exactly why I've become so paranoid with some dealer's service departments, and perform most of the maintenance on my cars myself.
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wrote:

Most people would think that this is the case. However unless it states it in the dealers contract that they must use OEM fluid and parts, they can use whatever they want. Even the parts don't have to be Hyundai OEM although most dealers do it as they can mark them up substantially.
I know on Hondas the only thing the dealer is required to change with OEM is the oil filter. Putting on anything else violates the dealer agreement with Honda. They can however use the cheapest crud of oil they can find. That's why I change all my fluids. This way I know what's in my car.
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You're correct to have great concern. There's no way I would have this service performed at this dealer at this mileage.
First, there's no real reason to change the fluid other than the fact that the manual has a time requirement. Transmission fluid doesn't significantly degrade over time. Mileage is the key component. Also check the definition of severe service in your manual. While I'm not familiar with your driving, I feel safe in saying that few people who drive 6500 miles a year would qualify for the severe service conditions for transmission fluid change. Under normal driving, fluid change is required every 105,000 miles, although the fluid must be checked every 30,000 and changed at that time if the condition warrants. (There are also what I consider irrelevant time intervals equal to 15k/year).
Furthermore, the service the manual is talking about is draining and refilling your transmission. There's absolutely no need to flush a transmission at 30k miles. Even on the severe service schedule, using the time interval rather than mileage, you're meeting guidelines if you pull the plug from the bottom of the transmission and refill (about 5 quarts). Like you, I'd find this favorable to a flush with questionable fluid. Purchase 5 quarts of fluid and a drain plug washer from the dealer of your choice. If you've got a funnel, a drain pan, and a 24mm socket or wrench, this job is a snap.
-- Message posted using http://www.talkaboutautos.com/group/alt.autos.hyundai / More information at http://www.talkaboutautos.com/faq.html
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Thanks Hyundaitech . . . According to the owner's manual maintenance schedule, the specified service for the automatic transmission at 30K miles or 24 months is "inspection of the ATF" under normal service, and "replacement of the ATF" under severe service. Severe service is defined in the owner's manual as: repeatedly driving short distances of less than 5 miles in normal temperatures or less than 10 miles in freezing temperatures (my wife drives 4 miles to work one way each day in the city, and we live in central Illinois where temps were 0 degrees a few days ago), frequent stop-and-go conditions (this is again the case with my wife driving to work in the city) - these are but two of the severe service conditions the car experiences, hence my desire to adhere to the severe service maintenance schedule.
I will follow your recommendation, and only drain the fluid from the transmission's pan, and refill with SP-III. Since the 2006 Elantra only has around 12,800 miles, and averaging around 6,500 miles a year, I would think that draining the fluid every 24 months with a refill with Hyundai SP-III should be sufficient to maintain Hyundai's powertrain warranty. I am very fastidious on maintaining not only the online Hyundai service log, but the maintenance log that came with the Elantra, my own service log, and filing all receipts for all self- performed work in a file. Hopefully, this will be sufficient data should a warranty claim ever be required.
I'm really mystified why a Hyundai dealer would use anything else but SP-III ATF, especially with all of the reported failures of Hyundai, Kia, and Mitsu automatic transmissions due to the use of incompatible ATF.
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Don't forget that KIA dealers sell genuine SP-III as well - often for much less than the Hyundai dealers.
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Thanks Matthew. The local Hyundai dealer is also the local Kia dealer. This dealer has a brand new mega-store complex with over 1,500 vehicles in stock that has Toyota, Scion, Mazda, VW, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, and Chrysler franchises. Toyota/Scion has a standalone building and service center (a franchise requirement), as does VW. Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, and Chrysler share the same huge showroom building, and a separate super-service center. The super-service center is gorgeous with a stone interior, restrooms that would make a nice hotel jealous, plasma TVs, free Wi-Fi, free designer coffee and munchies, and leather seating. All of these amenities are moot if they don't use the correct ATF for my Elantra!
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A question for you, Mr. HyundaiTech about changing the fluid. You recommended a new drain plug washer. But on both of my older Kia Sedonas (2002 and 2004), the drain plug dropped right onto a frame rail. You had to keep the pan pretty close to that frame rail to keep the fluid from splattering all over everywhere.
There was no way, from what I could tell, to get that drain plug completely off to change that washer, thanks to that frame rail. When the fluid was all drained out, I just made sure it was significantly re-tightened with the same washer. To my knowledge, it never leaked.
Did I miss something? Is there a way to get that off to change that washer?
One more question. My son has an '02 Elantra that is about due for the drain and refill. Would that also be about 5 quarts?
Thanks for your help.

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I'm not sure I've ever done this on a Sedona. If I recall correctly, I left the Kia dealer in 2003, about two years after the Sedona was introduced. If I've done it, I've never had the "stopped by the frame" issue you describe. I'd remember something like that. It's possible that the plug needed to be cocked to the side a little to bypass the frame. That I wouldn't remember.
And in regard to the Elantra, yes, about 5 quarts.
-- Message posted using http://www.talkaboutautos.com/group/alt.autos.hyundai / More information at http://www.talkaboutautos.com/faq.html
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FWIW, I'm losing faith and confidence in my local Hyundai dealer, although the very few times I've required warranty service, they've been very responsive and good. In my earlier posts, I mentioned their plan to use "SP-III-approved synthetic" ATF, of which we all now know there is no such beast, in a routine service of my 2006 Elantra's automatic transmission. Here's my last experience this morning. I went to their Parts Department and asked for a drain plug washer for the automatic transmission sump, and they had none. It is a non- stocked part at this dealership - interesting.
But, what's even more interesting, is their price for Hyundai SP-III ATF. I've noted a number of price complaints on SP-III ATF here on Usenet groups, and on Edmunds.com. The generally accepted price is somewhere around $6.50 per quart, sometime a bit higher. This dealer sells the 00230-11000 Hyundai SP-III ATF for $10.09 per quart! Another Hyundai dealer 30 miles east sells it for $6.51 per quart. I know dealers can set their prices anywhere they wish, but this is somewhat ridiculous.
Remember the Hyundai Parts Website that was recently taken offline? I used it a few times to purchase parts, and it was easy to use, and a real time saver. There were some later discussions on why Hyundai took the website down for use by owners. The general consensus was that some dealers may have complained since the website allowed owners to purchase parts at the real MSRP price of the part, accessory, etc. There is no doubt in my mind now that this was, and is, the case. Simply, some dealers are simply overcharging. Caveat Emptor - let the buyer beware was never more applicable than in this case.
I think I will take my business elsewhere whenever I need OEM parts, accessories, or fluids for my Elantra.
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Hey, Don, don't ever feel a conscience over doing something like that.
I have two Hyundia/Kia dealers in the area (and actually a third one within 50 miles - no experience with them). One is a peach, has sold me all my vehicles, and has been magnificent with service. Their parts department even gives me all the drain plug washers (oil, not transmission fluid) that I need free of charge.
The other one is a blemish to the names of Hyundai and Kia. Their salespeople are underhanded and very disreputable, and their service department has one of the worst reputations of any dealer in the area (and there are a lot of area dealerships). But, for whatever reason, their parts, especially their SP-III tranny fluid, are priced a little cheaper than the other dealer. Since they are a little closer, and I am in that neighborhood a bit, I do buy parts from them, even if that is all they will EVER get from me.

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Does anyone know of a website where we can share this kind of information with others? I feel like naming names..

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Trouble is, Mr. HyundaiTech, no matter how much you twist or turn it, it can't come out. The transmission drain plug is just plain too long, and the rail is just plain too close to the opening..
But if your dealership is Hyundai only, and not Hyundai/Kia (as all of my area dealerships are), I will apologize to all for bringing this onto a Hyundai chat group.

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> GUEST wrote: > Our local Hyundai dealer uses a exchange system for changing the ATF. > This is effectively a power flush system I believe, and they also > mentioned that they use "SPIII-approved synthetic ATF" instead of the > OEM Hyundai or Mitsubishi SPIII ATF. Of course, the exchange system > flushes the old ATF from not only the sump, but the torque converter, > and cooler/lines.
> > I have two worries here: 1). I've been told that power flushing an > automatic transmission can be harmful to the transmission, however, > the Service Advisor at the Hyundai dealership told me that there is no > worry . . .? and 2). I'm concerned that they're using an "SPIII- > approved synthetic ATF" rather than the Hyundai spec OEM SPIII. I > have no qualms or arguments, per se, against synthetic lubricants, as > I use Mobil 1 for the engine. However, the "SPIII-approved" worries > me. > > One would think that they should know what they're doing, but you > never know, as I don't want to cause a problem with a perfectly > operating transmission in our 2006 Elantra. The Maintenance Schedule > calls for "service service" replacement of the ATF at 30K miles or 24 > months. The car is 24 months old, but only has 13K miles on the > clock. It does see mostly in town, stop and go driving, which > certainly qualifies as severe service. I want to adhere to not only > the intent, but the letter, of Hyundai's preventive maintenance > schedule, so that down the road there is absolutly no question > regarding proper and timely preventive maintenance should a warranty > repair question arise. > > Any thoughts on this would be certainly appreciated. > > Thanks, > Don
Not sure if the Elantra is the same as 02 Sonata, but the factory service manual has instructions for replacing the transmission fluid which go beyond just draining and refill.
1. Disconnect hose that goes between transmission and radiator. I took it off at the radiator. 2. Start engine in neutral and run one minute. 3. Remove plug on transmission and drain fluid. 4. Replace drain plug and fill with fluid. 5. Start engine and run one minute. 6. Reconnect hose removed in step 1. 7. Fill with fluid and you're good to go.
I did this and it took around 8.5 quarts of fluid at $5.50 per quart. The transmission holds a little over 8 quarts. With 70,000 miles on the car, the fluid ws not very dirty but it is done. The Hyundai fluid turns brown pretty quickly compared to normal transmission fluids so this may not be a good indicator of condition.
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