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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As stated in a previous thread, I broke down and decided to change out my transmission fluid to Valvoline MaxLife ATF.
Over the weekend I did 3x drain and fill with 50-100 miles between each d&f.

Since then, I have driven over 300 miles. Majority of that interstate with some stop and go city driving as well.

My verdict is...unimpressed
The improvement was similar to the small improvement you can feel after a 1x drain and fill.
The only downside is I feel some shifts a bit more.
Going forward, I think I will continue to use VML due to convenience/price.

I have to admit I was expecting some night and day differences after finally ditching the killer DW-1. Oh well. At least I'll be saving $20 and a trip to the dealer any time I want to do a drain and fill.
 

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After owning my 2008 during 2 GA summers of city driving, the DW-1 held up just fine. So I don't doubt it will do well, but there was nothing wrong with what I was using.
You just saved yourself lots of future transmission problems. It will be hard to thank us for fixing problems that will never happen. 😁
 

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Well I am also in the camp of "if nothing else it is better to have a full synthetic fluid than a blend or non-synthetic". Honestly, I liked that I could feel the shifts a little bit more with VML, the act of slurring the shift so much that you don't feel it is a big heat generator. I know @Nail Grease and some others have gone off the deep end with looking at all different DW-1 compatible replacements, their viscosities and what that will do to shift behavior but for availability and price I will stick with VML as many have done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well I am also in the camp of "if nothing else it is better to have a full synthetic fluid than a blend or non-synthetic". Honestly, I liked that I could feel the shifts a little bit more with VML, the act of slurring the shift so much that you don't feel it is a big heat generator. I know @Nail Grease and some others have gone off the deep end with looking at all different DW-1 compatible replacements, their viscosities and what that will do to shift behavior but for availability and price I will stick with VML as many have done.
The convenience will keep me using VML but I am far from an evangelist about it.
 

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I did have some occasional TC chatter that has gone away since my change to VML last summer and hasn't yet returned. Previous change was DW-1 and it too got rid of the chatter for about a year so still remains to be seen whether VML is better. You really shouldn't expect a night and day. It's like oil... you won't feel the difference going from dino to full synthetic or any combo in between but that doesn't mean it isn't better for the motor.

There are examples in non-automotive life where you get the same result for less money... rebranded electronics, supermarket brands, monoprice cables vs. monster cables ;-). I see the change to VML in this light... I'm seeing the same result but for less money and so this goes in the win column.
 
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Well I am also in the camp of "if nothing else it is better to have a full synthetic fluid than a blend or non-synthetic". Honestly, I liked that I could feel the shifts a little bit more with VML, the act of slurring the shift so much that you don't feel it is a big heat generator. I know @Nail Grease and some others have gone off the deep end with looking at all different DW-1 compatible replacements, their viscosities and what that will do to shift behavior but for availability and price I will stick with VML as many have done.
My two 5-speed 2012 Crosstours are on VML and I would never recommend anything else.
I used VML in my 6-speed 3rd Gen Pilot to save my transmission from the ravages of DW-1 and a torque converter clutch lock issue. When I joined the forum, I dont recall anyone brave enough to use VML in a new 3rd Gen Pilot. Being the guinea pig in a bad situation I made the move. This along with disabling the VCM has put the fears of loosing a transmission behind me..., for now. There are a few satisfied 6-speed VML users on the forum. I would advise any who owns an out of warranty 6-speed to make the move to a compatible full synthetic ATF to avoid future transmission repairs. VML was my 1st choice for the 6-speed, it may not be my last. I am leaning towards trying blue cap Amsoil ATF.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I did have some occasional TQ chatter that has gone away since my change to VML last summer and hasn't yet returned. Previous change was DW-1 and it too got rid of the chatter for about a year so still remains to be seen whether VML is better. You really shouldn't expect a night and day. It's like oil... you won't feel the difference going from dino to full synthetic or any combo in between but that doesn't mean it isn't better for the motor.

There are examples in non-automotive life where you get the same result for less money... rebranded electronics, supermarket brands, monoprice cables vs. monster cables ;-). I see the change to VML in this light... I'm seeing the same result but for less money and so this goes in the win column.
I agree. VML is nothing special. It's a universal ATF that is full synthetic. It's much cheaper and easier to get. My transmission shifts just like it would if it received fresh DW-1. Smooth, but a little clunky at times. I've come to expect this from every Honda with an automatic transmission I've ever driven. That's fine with me.
 

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I agree. VML is nothing special.
I dont see where the person you made this comment to, referenced VML as "nothing special."
Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF does what it says on the back of the bottle. That makes it special in comparison to DW-1. A fluid that truly is "nothing special."
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I dont see where the person you made this comment to, referenced VML as "nothing special."
Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF does what it says on the back of the bottle. That makes it special in comparison to DW-1. A fluid that truly is "nothing special."
The way the fluid has been talked up on here would lead one to believe it would cause a night and day difference in the way the car shifts. That hasn't been the case. That's why I say it's nothing special.
It is universal transmission fluid that happens to be synthetic. It works and it probably works well. It's not some miracle fluid. That's all I"m saying.
 

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The way the fluid has been talked up on here would lead one to believe it would cause a night and day difference in the way the car shifts. That hasn't been the case. That's why I say it's nothing special.
It is universal transmission fluid that happens to be synthetic. It works and it probably works well. It's not some miracle fluid. That's all I"m saying.
Makes you wonder if there is some sort of "pay for play" going on, just like a certain Piloteer likes to imply about the objective tire comparison tests on the TireRack site.
 

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The way the fluid has been talked up on here would lead one to believe it would cause a night and day difference in the way the car shifts. That hasn't been the case. That's why I say it's nothing special.
It is universal transmission fluid that happens to be synthetic. It works and it probably works well. It's not some miracle fluid. That's all I"m saying.
Have you ever had transmission trouble and refreshing your old DW-1 with new DW-1 didn't fix your problem? I have as well as others. VML is special in many ways. Price, convenience and it does what it says on the back of the bottle. It will be hard to appreciate now what it can do for your transmission long term. Me personally, looking back and with no desire to go on the internet to find forum advice (which no one would ever suggest leaving factory fluid back then), I was just looking for a convenient replacement ATF for a 98 Honda Civic I brought home VML. I had no appreciation for the product other than it was compatible with my vehicle. 20+ years later, that appreciation has grown with many Honda vehicles among others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Have you ever had transmission trouble and refreshing your old DW-1 with new DW-1 didn't fix your problem? I have as well as others. VML is special in many ways. Price, convenience and it does what it says on the back of the bottle. It will be hard to appreciate now what it can do for your transmission long term. Me personally, looking back and with no desire to go on the internet to find forum advice (which no one would ever suggest leaving factory fluid back then), I was just looking for a convenient replacement ATF for a 98 Honda Civic I brought home VML. I had no appreciation for the product other than it was compatible with my vehicle. 20+ years later, that appreciation has grown with many Honda vehicles among others.
The only issues I had were remedied by disabling VCM.

My Pilot has 208k miles on it. The transmission performs like a transmission with that many miles on it. Not great, but it doesn't slip. It owes me nothing at this point. When I drained the fluid after buying it, it hadn't had a fluid change in over 100k miles. The fluid was dirty but not black. It didn't smell bad either.

I am not saying MaxLife ATF is bad or not good. It makes no difference for me. It's a plus that it is easy to get and a little cheaper than DW-1. That's the only reason I'm not going back. But DW-1 is not a transmission killer.
 

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The only issues I had were remedied by disabling VCM.

My Pilot has 208k miles on it. The transmission performs like a transmission with that many miles on it. Not great, but it doesn't slip. It owes me nothing at this point. When I drained the fluid after buying it, it hadn't had a fluid change in over 100k miles. The fluid was dirty but not black. It didn't smell bad either.

I am not saying MaxLife ATF is bad or not good. It makes no difference for me. It's a plus that it is easy to get and a little cheaper than DW-1. That's the only reason I'm not going back. But DW-1 is not a transmission killer.
By my experiences, DW-1 can be a transmission killer. If not monitored more closely.
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Have you ever had transmission trouble and refreshing your old DW-1 with new DW-1 didn't fix your problem? I have as well as others. VML is special in many ways. Price, convenience and it does what it says on the back of the bottle. It will be hard to appreciate now what it can do for your transmission long term. Me personally, looking back and with no desire to go on the internet to find forum advice (which no one would ever suggest leaving factory fluid back then), I was just looking for a convenient replacement ATF for a 98 Honda Civic I brought home VML. I had no appreciation for the product other than it was compatible with my vehicle. 20+ years later, that appreciation has grown with many Honda vehicles among others.
Was VML a full-synthetic formula 20+ years ago?
 

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Was VML a full-synthetic formula 20+ years ago?
Probably not. I was just glad it got me out of going to the dealership at the time.
 
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