Ford says I don't need to service my transmission. What do you think?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

The owner's manual for my 1987 Ford Taurus lists "Fluid changes of band adjustments on a 4-speed overdrive automatic transaxle" under "items never requiring maintenance." The dealer recommends that I DO have the transmission serviced every 30,000 miles. The Ford service hot line said it was basically up to me. Should I have it done just in case?

TOM: I'd say so. If you read the fine print in your owner's manual, it says that you SHOULD service the transmission if you drive under one or more of the following conditions: You drive in hot weather, you carry heavy loads, drive in hilly terrain, tow a trailer or carry a car top carrier, or operate a taxi or a door to door delivery service.

RAY: And since anyone with kids operates a taxi and a door to door delivery service, most people fall under at least one of these categories.

TOM: The bottom line is that it will probably help, and it certainly can't hurt. And spending $50 or $75 every 30,000 miles is not much money to maintain a part of your car that could cost $1,000 if it needs to be replaced someday. So I'd especially recommend it if you plan to keep the car for the long haul.

RAY: If Ford backed up it's recommendation with, say, a lifetime warranty on the transmission, I'd say fine, leave the transmission alone. But since they're leaving themselves all that wiggle room with all those conditions, I think it's safer to spend a few bucks and change the fluid. Good luck, Barbara.

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