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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all... new here to the site, so I have a 2012 with 122k on it, runs great, so I just got a light, a13, that seems to be a transmission fluid change notification...as I looked at the fluid, it seems to be red, and still looking fine with no burnt smell. My question is do I change it, or ignore it... conflicting info online, looking for input. Thanks
 

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Hi all... new here to the site, so I have a 2012 with 122k on it, runs great, so I just got a light, a13, that seems to be a transmission fluid change notification...as I looked at the fluid, it seems to be red, and still looking fine with no burnt smell. My question is do I change it, or ignore it... conflicting info online, looking for input. Thanks
Do you know the last time it has been changed? I think anyone on this site (including me) will tell you to change it. Which fluid you use is up to you, some use factory DW-1 and others use Valvoline MaxLife. I used VML since it is a full synthetic and my '15 is happy with it.

Has the timing belt been done? If not, get that on the list ASAP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yea... timing belt is done. Thanks for the input, to my knowledge, the fluid has never been changed, at least since I've owned it. I bought at 40k miles in 2015
 

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Yea... timing belt is done. Thanks for the input, to my knowledge, the fluid has never been changed, at least since I've owned it. I bought at 40k miles in 2015
Have you never before seen the '3' subcode at any point between 40K and 122K miles?
Have you been following the maintenance minder for scheduled maintenance?
Do you ever reset the maintenance minder before the oil life reaches 15%, or less?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No... I haven't seen that code before. And, I've done the maintenance that the minder suggests, and I've never reset the oil change before 15%.
 

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The MM doesn't suggest the fluid be changed based on the condition of the fluid. It goes off of time, driving conditions, etc. So technically even though it smells/looks fine, that doesn't mean you shouldn't change it. You can pick up 4 qts of DW-1 or go pick up some Valvoline Maxlife ATF at Walmart. Regardless of what you choose, ensuring you have clean fluid in your transmission is the most important to keeping it alive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So some of the articles I read about is to not mess around with the trans fluid if it's still good. New fluid could disturb the transmission... Any opinions on this?
 

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So some of the articles I read about is to not mess around with the trans fluid if it's still good. New fluid could disturb the transmission... Any opinions on this?
The suggestions are to drain+fill NOT FLUSH which are two different things. If in doubt about your ATF fluid condition the simple drain+fill(s) could make for a happier trans.
 

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Honda DW-1 is not full synthetic and age is a factor in the ability for ATF work properly and protect you transmission.
I'd find the nearest Wal-Mart and pick up three 1 gallon jugs of Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF to do 3 separate drain and fills to remove the old stale DW-1 from the transmission. Immediately do 1 D&F. drive until the engine and transmission are warmed to operating temperature to mix fluid, then do a 2nd. After a week or a month, 100-500 miles, no rule, do the 3rd. D&Fs of the ATF can be done on your Pilot on level ground. No jackstands needed.
 

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Frequent fluid changes are key to keeping these transmissions shifting decently. "Decently" being about the best you're ever going to get.

I personally think mine shifted best with DW-1, but that smooth shifting never lasted very long for me before it degraded to "average". If using DW-1 I'd suggest a drain and fill every 20k. Thankfully it's easy to do.

I recently switched to VML and it's fine. Initially it seemed a bit harsher in comparison to DW-1, but overall seems fine. I suspect it'll last a lot longer than DW-1.
 

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Knowing Honda's history with earlier versions of this transmission, many of us cynical ones have decided that the more frequent fluid changes are essential to extended life without failures. Looking at some service descriptions, my car sees what is typically described as "severe service". In my case that's mostly local driving, and includes idling in traffic, picking up people, in-town traffic with more shifting than a steady freeway pace all the time. Virtually everything short of steady-state minimum load cruising, weather not too hot or too cold, minimum start and stop of the engine for fuel stops, etc., is "sever service", so maintenance schedules are doubled. So the engine oil gets changed when the maintenance minder oil life drops to 50%, and the ATF gets one swap at every other oil change. That works out to about every 4k miles on the oil, and each swap replaces about a third of the fluid with new. The math is asymptotic, but essentially swap in a whole transmission fluid load every 25k since new. Since you have no history of prior changes, follow the guidance shared by others and do three swaps in quick succession, just running through the gears a couple times between changes.

In my limited experience, deciding on an ATF change schedule based on whether the old fluid smells or looks burnt is a sucker's guess; It's better suited for "is it time to overhaul yet?" decisions, the ones you find yourself pondering only after you've ignored the PM schedule for too long. :)
 
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