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James, I have a 2002 Mercedes all wheel drive SUV. My question is about my transmission fluid replacement interval. According to my owners manual it says it is “sealed for the life” of the transmission. There is no fluid change replacement interval. I have 130,000 miles on my transmission and would like to keep my vehicle running well for another 130,000 miles. What say you on the fluid and filter change? Larry, Manderville, La.

Larry, This question has been asked by many a Mercedes owner about the fluid and filter. According to the manufacture the fluid will last as long as the life of the warranty of the car. Once you get 100,000 miles your warranty is over and your fluid needs to be changed as well as the transmission filter. The manufacture can say the fluid tested good for the life of the car under laboratory conditions. These are normal conditions that are really not the way you and I drive. You and I are severe service drivers. This means we drive short trips to school and work and live in a hot, dry, humid, dusty, wet part of the world. In my opinion this would be normal driving conditions. This is why “most” new car dealerships are “tearing out” the normal maintenance schedule out of their owner’s manual. Too many car owners have followed the normal schedule down the road to premature mechanical failure. If the engine or transmission fails at 150,000 miles most Mercedes Benz owners can’t understand why. They have been following the scheduled maintenance (or so they thought) for their car. When they take it back to the dealership they are informed they are SEVERE SERVICE driver’s not NORMAL SERVICE drivers. By then, the damage is done and all they can do is give you a trade in for a new car. To verify what I am saying just Google “How often should I change my transmission fluid on my Mercedes?” What you will pull up is a Mercedes Benz website that MB owners have posted their experiences. Most are upset with their owner’s manual saying the fluid is “Sealed for Life”. Most owners have stated changing their transmission fluid every 100,000 miles was money well spent. There are a lot of comments about adding a $2.00 magnet to the oil pan to help collect the metal particles that float around in the transmission. It appears that Mercedes didn’t think it was necessary to install this magnet at the factory. In my opinion as well as automotive engineers, Synthetic Mercedes transmission fluid is excellent transmission fluid. It needs to be changed on a regular basis to extend the life of the “sealed for life” transmissions. Transmission fluid will break down and need to be changed on a regular basis. If you tow or go “off roading” will mean you should change it every 50,000 miles. If you don’t change the fluid don’t blame me when the transmission fails.


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