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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I checked the level today and the fluid looked a little different. It’s been about 10,000 miles of pretty heavy duty city driving (about 3,000 miles of road trip driving). I was aiming for every 15k miles or so but now I’m second guessing myself.
The transmission shifts like a dream so it hasn’t been acting different.

Please no suggestions on which fluid to use.
139090
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
As a precaution I have been changing mine every 2-3 oil changes since I’ve owned the car. I figure for 20 bucks it’s a pretty cheap and easy precaution



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if I wait until 15,000 miles, that would be the 3rd oil change. (I change oil every 5k miles)
Based on my picture I’m wondering if I should change it early or that’s just normal “wear” on the fluid. It’s been hot here and I’ve done lots of stop and go driving recently as well.
 

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Based on the color you provided, I would change x3 to hopefully avoid any problem why the color is brown when it was just changed 5k miles ago? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Based on the color you provided, I would change x3 to hopefully avoid any problem why the color is brown when it was just changed 5k miles ago? Thanks.
It was changed 10k miles ago.
 

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How many miles total? When did you start changing and how frequently?

Honestly just based on the color, I'd look to do at least 2 D&F's over the next couple oil changes, maybe more depending on the color.

As far as what fluid to use, you should definitely use...

Whichever fluid you like!
 

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What does the fluid smell like? Sweet? Burnt?
 

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And had you previously done a 3x or 4x drain and fill 10k miles ago? That would more concerning if that’s the case. My wife’s Pilot’s tranny, currently at 117k miles, only gets 1x drain and fills each 15k miles (since 30k miles) and the fluid always has a red tinge to it when wiped on a white paper towel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
How many miles total? When did you start changing and how frequently?

Honestly just based on the color, I'd look to do at least 2 D&F's over the next couple oil changes, maybe more depending on the color.

As far as what fluid to use, you should definitely use...

Whichever fluid you like!
When I purchased the car last April it had 171,000 miles.
It currently has 197,000 miles.

4/24/2019- 1 drain and fill 172,000 miles
8/17/2019- 1 drain and fill 178,000 miles
3/7/2020- 1 drain and fill 189,000 miles.

Most of this is stop and go city driving if that makes a difference.

The reason I changed it so regularly was because I wanted to start fresh with almost 100% new fluid since I wasn't sure of the history prior to me purchasing it.
The transmission works fine, no flare or slippage. The fluid doesn't smell sweet like it does when it's in the bottle, but it doesn't smell burnt. It doesn't smell any different then when I'm checking the level after filling it back up.
 

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I would keep changing it every oil change until you get much closer to the new fluid color. If you want to get their faster, do a 3x over a couple weekends. I do believe it is worth driving a hundred miles or more between to ensure thorough mixing of the fluid.

Cheap insurance IMO.
 

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I would personally wait until your planned drain and fill.

Mine has 325,000+ on it, so at this point I do 1x drain and fill every 6 months, regardless of miles. I changed the pressure switches in spring 2019, which was the first ATF change in almost 75,000 miles (previous owner didn't change it after about 225,000 miles). Even after that abuse mine still shifts fine; the AFT looks quite a bit darker than yours (right now) when I change it...
 

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Quick question/thought -

Are you using Honda or another ATF?

Not looking to start another fluid debate, but they are different. Honda's formulation is more like an actual 'oil' and (in my experience at least) will turn brown/dark very quickly, much quicker than something like MaxLife. Even if you've been using MaxLife there's still probably enough of the original Honda fluid in there that it would turn dark pretty quick, definitely after 1000+ miles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quick question/thought -

Are you using Honda or another ATF?

Not looking to start another fluid debate, but they are different. Honda's formulation is more like an actual 'oil' and (in my experience at least) will turn brown/dark very quickly, much quicker than something like MaxLife. Even if you've been using MaxLife there's still probably enough of the original Honda fluid in there that it would turn dark pretty quick, definitely after 1000+ miles.
i use DW-1. It’s not burnt so I’m not as concerned. I compared it with new fluid and it feels the same on my fingers too.
I’ll check the 2013 which was drain and filled 10k miles ago and compare
 

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139097

Pilot 2005 with 140k miles (upper/smaller blot) was drained and refilled x4 5k miles ago--after radiator failed and replaced. The second and bigger blot (Accord 2011) was drained and refilled x3 10k miles ago. I have only used DW1.Thanks.
 

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Pilot 2005 with 140k miles (upper/smaller blot) was drained and refilled x4 5k miles ago--after radiator failed and replaced. The second and bigger blot (Accord 2011) was drained and refilled x3 10k miles ago. I have only used DW1.Thanks.
OP has never done a complete drain and fill x3, he won't have red-colored ATF on a tranny with 170k miles. My experience is that with a single drain and fill all color is gone within 1000 miles, possibly sooner.
 

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"I checked the level today and the fluid looked a little different." Hmm, what does "a little different" means? What changed? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I did a drain and fill today. There was no metal on the plug and a small amount of black stuff I had to wipe off but nothing out of the ordinary. I could see through the fluid while it was draining and it smelled sweet. I figured it couldn’t hurt to do it now. Cost me $25 and took me about 20 minutes. It wasn’t shifting bad to begin with but we’ll see if it runs better now.
The fluid may not have looked concerning but now I have some peace of mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
"I checked the level today and the fluid looked a little different." Hmm, what does "a little different" means? What changed? Thanks.
it just seemed to be a little darker than typical.But just as a precaution I did a drain and fill. The fluid was clean.
 

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If you really want to know the truth about your ATF, there is only one thing you can do. Get it Tested via Blackstone Labs

I'm personally waiting on my results for the "mystery" ATF and Oil that came in my previously loved Pilot. Waiting on USPS to finish delivering my used samples. Plan is to do drain and fills on the ATF every 3k miles / next 2 oil changes, given the unknown service history. For reference, here is what the paper towel / drain plug looked like on mine when I pulled my sample with unknown mileage since last change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
If you really want to know the truth about your ATF, there is only one thing you can do. Get it Tested via Blackstone Labs

I'm personally waiting on my results for the "mystery" ATF and Oil that came in my previously loved Pilot. Waiting on USPS to finish delivering my used samples. Plan is to do drain and fills on the ATF every 3k miles / next 2 oil changes, given the unknown service history. For reference, here is what the paper towel / drain plug looked like on mine when I pulled my sample with unknown mileage since last change.
Im not at the conclusion that I probably made myself nervous for no reason nd changed the fluid early. Oh well.

and in all seriousness if the transmission were to die, I wouldn’t be that upset. Anything over 200k miles on a weak SUV transmission is a win in my book. Especially with the lack of maintenance by the previous owners.
As of now the transmission shifts great with the exception of a light clunk from 2nd to 3rd. It’s random and it’s been that way the entire time I’ve owned it.
 
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