Went for winter checkup (01 Hyundai Elantra GT) at firestone and came back
with a "strong" recommendation to do transmission flush.
Went to a quick oil change place and did a $79.99 Automatic Transmission
Now, my friend says Automatic Flush is not a flush and I should have done
a full flush.
Did I do something foolish ? SHould I go back and spend more and do a full
Thanks in advance
Why not ask your friend what he meant by what he said, and then call the
quick oil change place and ask them what they did? I've never wasted my
money on these services, so I really don't know what they do.
With a partial flush, sometimes the torque converter isn't fully
drained. Thus, you end up with the new fluid mixing with the old. More
importantly, and this is unfortunately from experience, I would only
let the dealer drain and refill the transmission. A number of
independent shops may not use the correct ATF and this is super
A couple of questions for you:
*Have you EVER had anything else done to your tranny?? A drain and fill,
another flush, whatever?? (did you get this new or used).
*Can the shop tell you what fluid they used?
In general, the more attention you give to the tranny fluid through the life
of the car, the better off you will be, no matter what kind of attention it
is, as long as you don't use the wrong fluid.
Hyundai usually calls for tranny fluid changes at 30000. If that has been
done, no matter how it was done, you should be fine.
Unlike the opinion of some, the flushes at fast oil changes have usually
done a pretty good job SO LONG AS the right fluid is flushed back in, and
you are doing it in even a reasonably timely way.
If this is a company owned Firestone, they have the best transmission fluid
flush system known. You will not go wrong with it. If it is a local yokel
(which the majority of stores which have Firestone signs are), no telling
what it is.
Key is to ask the Firestone person as many questions as you need to. If you
trust them to do it, trust them to answer some thorough questions.
My local Firestone (which IS a company-owned store) is the best auto shop of
any kind in the area. The mechanics know their cars, fluids, tires,
everything. They will not do me wrong, and will answer every question I
have. Hopefully, they are the same to you.
Hope this helps.
The only thing foolish about this would be if they used the wrong fluid.
At $79.95, I strongly suspect they did. That's the approximate cost just
for the fluid for a flush with Hyundai fluid. You should call them and
ask them what fluid they used. If the response is anything other than
SPIII, you should demand a refund and immediately have your transmission
flushed with SPIII fluid.
No Matt - what I meant was that the way I service my tranny is to drain it,
fill it, and break the line at the radiator and start the car to pump it
(while keeping it topped off) until it flows nice bright new fluid. That's
a flush. Draining a tranny is not a flush.
I've heard of folks doing that successfully, but it is also a way to
shorten the life of the transmission if you let that pump get low enough
on oil to pump air. Also, I don't think you will exchange all of the
fluid in the TC by doing this.
In any event, it is completely unnecessary. Transmissions don't
contaminate the oil anywhere near what engines do with their combustion
byproducts. Changing half of the fluid at the recommended intervals is
plenty good enough maintenance.
Well yeah - if you run the tranny low, but it's not at all difficult to keep
it topped off while you're flushing it. You'd have to be asleep under the
hood to drain it down low enough to pump air. You do exchange the TC fluid
this way - it's a closed loop system. Perhaps one could argue that there is
some very, very small percentage of the old fluid that mixes with the new,
but that is such a small number that it is inconsequential.
Correct - there is not combustion in a tranny so the fluids don't
contaminate like engine oil does. But - why bother changing tranny fluid at
all then? It's so easy to flush the tranny, and it's done so infrequently,
that it's hardly worth *not* doing it.
As an aside - have you ever run flush/cleaner through tranny lines before
installing a rebuilt, or a new tranny? Did you see the amount of ugly black
crap that comes out of those lines? Trannies are constantly wearing and
degrading. Clutch residue, etc. has to go somewhere and it does not all
accumulate in the pan. Flushing the lines, though not the same as a real
cleaning, does a lot to clean out the whole system. It's the only way
you're going to clean the residue out of the intercooler and the lines
How do you keep it full? How do you even check the oil when you have
the dipstick out to pour the oil in?
I'll take your word for it on the Hyundai TC as I don't have a shop
manual for one yet. Many of the older TCs didn't really exchange oil
much until they were spinning at a pretty high RPM. At idle, not much
oil was exchanged between the TC internals and the rest of the transmission.
The main reason generally is to change the filter. I think you or
someone else said that Hyundai has no filter, but that seems like a
major oversight if true. Changing the filter and half of the fluid
probably removed 90% of the wear particles and also gave you a fairly
large dose of new additives for the seals, friction modifiers, etc.
I've never seen a car maker require transmissions flushes so I think
they are largely a waste of money and fluid.
You'd have to run probably 2-3 times the capacity of the transmission
through it to have any hope of anything approaching a 100% exchange of
fluid, and even then I'll bet you don't get it all.
Nope, I've never had to replace a transmission in 30 years of car
ownership. My last vehicle before the Sonata was a 96 Plymouth Grand
Voyager with the supposedly fragile electronic 4-speed. It went to
178,000 miles before a drunk ran into me an totaled it right before
Christmas. The transmission was original and working great. Regular
maintenance and sane driving practices and you shouldn't have to replace
a transmission, unless you get the occasional lemon.
I'm not saying there aren't conditions where a flush makes sense, and it
sounds like a rebuilt tranny is one of them, however, to me this
indicates a really lousy rebuild. A good rebuilding of either engines
or transmissions should ensure that things are squeaky clean before
I'm saying that there is no need to flush an automatic as part of
You watch the oil pouring into the catch pan. It's not at all hard to guage
how much to put it. You really have to pump out a lot of ATF before you get
into any trouble, and it's quite simple to stay ahead of that point.
Not so high an RPM. Most cars are well at stall by 2,000 RMP or so. The
torque converter pumps quite well at an idle or just above. But - don't
confuse stall (which occurrs at higher RPM's) with pumping which occurs even
at idle. The torque converter is pumping all the while it is turning.
Well, trannies have been serviced by a lot of people by simply changing the
filter and draining the tranny itself, and refilling, but shops have been
pumping the whole system for decades. It's not a novel practice. Any
decent tranny shop will do so as part of a routine tranny service.
What I said about the Hyundai filter was that I thought someone here said
there is no changeable filter in the Hyundai. I believe it was said that
there is a wire mesh filter that is internal to the tranny and is not even a
dealer serviceable item, short of a full tranny teardown.
As far as Hyundai's recommendation, the tech service manual specifically
calls for disconnecting the line to the intercooler while the engine is
idling, for up to one minute or until it stops pumping ATF out.
Not at all. You can't say this when by your own admission you've never even
seen the process done. Typically you don't go through more than two quarts
before you are pumping bright new fluid.
But then again there are those of us who use our vechicles in different
ways. I had to rebuild my tranny in my pickup last winter after it lost
reverse. In part due to normal wear and in part because the truck plows
snow and at a little over 100,000 the tranny bit the bullet. The truck is
serviced on a regular basis, and is well cared for and not driven hard.
Even plowing snow it is driven easy, though one can never call plowing snow
truly easy. There are lots of reasons that trannies die - one can't say
that regualar maintenance and sane driving practices will ensure a trouble
Read my post again Matt. The flush was to clean out the intercooler and the
tranny lines. Those don't get removed when you pull a tranny to take it to
the shop. They are what held all of the contaminate.
Fine, I won't argue with it, but I'll insist it's not a waste of money. I
know what comes out of the lines when a flush is done and I have every
reason to spend the extra 15 minutes and two quarts of ATF to get the system
fully cleaned when I service my tranny.
Oh sit on it! (God hates those who gloat). My plow truck before this one
was a standard and I had 0 problems with it plowing for 176,000 miles. It
was a little less forgiving of an end over end flip which landed it on the
cab, though. So - I bought this truck used in '96 and except for toasting
the tranny in the middle of plow season last year, it really has been pretty
much trouble free. It's a '94 Silverado with the 4L60E in it and though
it's really not a bad tranny, it's not really beefy enough for plowing. We
get a lot of snow around here - I think I've mentioned in the group that we
get in the neighborhood of 300 inches per year, and that's a lot of plowing.
The truck had 32,000 on it when I bought it and it had never plowed snow,
but it did pull a hard body camper and I can't speak to the previous owner's
towing experiences. I'd have gladly bought another standard, but this truck
came along and it's so nice in so many other respects, that I just bought
it. The tranny only cost me $500 for a complete rebuild - and I mean a
complete rebuild, through a buddy who is a tranny mechanic. I had to pull
it and put it back in, but it was worth the effort for that price.
I don't get nearly the snow you do, but my driveway is 3/8 mile long, so
even 6" of snow means a fair bit of plowing. Even though people freak
out when they hear me say I plow with a standard shift truck, I still
think that properly driven a standard shift is a much better plow
vehicle. Not quite as fast for things like parking lots, so I
understand why the commercial plow guys use an automatic. Then again,
plowing fast with an auto means shifting gears while you are still
moving at the end of each run, and that is part of what kills the
automatics so quickly.
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