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I had my Passat go into limp mode because of accessive slipping and I had it reset by a shop and drives fine now. The shop told me I need to have the transmission serviced because of low and dirty fluid. So would it be a bad idea to change it with this high of mileage? My Passat has over 157,000 miles and has always been serviced by the dealership since about 145,000 miles which leads me to believe it would be the original fluid.
 

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If you intend to keep the car for a while, I would have the fluid and filter changed. It is more work to change the filter than a simply drain-and-refill, but one benefit is that the pan will, or should be, cleaned inside. You will also get more of the old fluid out by doing this. I typically have to add 6+ quarts of ATF after a full pan drop, which means that about 2/3 of the capacity gets renewed.

Regarding the ATF, this is a subject like engine oil; people have their preferences. Many folks have peace of mind using the OE factory ATF, which is pricey. I take the pragmatic approach- in my opinion, and use a major-brand synthetic multi-vehicle ATF. Valvoline Maxlife is what I've used for more than 10 years in several of our cars. Whether you do the job or have a shop do it, the unusual refill procedure has to be followed.
 

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I had my Passat go into limp mode because of accessive slipping and I had it reset by a shop and drives fine now. The shop told me I need to have the transmission serviced because of low and dirty fluid. So would it be a bad idea to change it with this high of mileage? My Passat has over 157,000 miles and has always been serviced by the dealership since about 145,000 miles which leads me to believe it would be the original fluid.
Shouldn't you be changing atf every 60-80k? I've heard people say if it's never been done you'll mess it up putting fresh in cause it'll clean out sludge and buildup and cause slippage but I think it would be way worse to keep pushing it on overdue fluid. You're saying the dealership has been working on it only for the last 12k? Did I read that right?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No, I’ve owned for the last 12k. I read that the vw dealerships won’t service the transmission because it’s a “lifetime” fluid
 

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Per the Bentley manual, the transmission oil is said to be "lifetime".
I'm quite sure your car isn't stored under a glass case and when it comes out at night it is never subject to any harsh conditions.
Now if my grandma owned the car and put on 12k miles in the last 20 years, I would consider it lifetime.

'ylwagon' and I were just discussing this the other day. Theoretically, if the transmission were set-up in exactly the right way you would only have a very minimal fine metallic dust in the oil from assembly and break in, after that there shouldn't be any wear. But seeing it's a mechanical assembly things can go wrong.

I personally would change the oil and filter.
Make sure the change of the oil procedure is followed to the tee.
 
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I had my Passat go into limp mode because of accessive slipping and I had it reset by a shop and drives fine now. The shop told me I need to have the transmission serviced because of low and dirty fluid. So would it be a bad idea to change it with this high of mileage? My Passat has over 157,000 miles and has always been serviced by the dealership since about 145,000 miles which leads me to believe it would be the original fluid.
I have a concern of the slipping. When did it slip? Do you have the Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC)?


.
 

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+1 on changing the fluid and filter. This would be a good time to check the magnets in the pan to see how much wear has already occurred.

If the fluid was low enough to cause slipping there is a leak. Best to keep an eye on the fluid level since once the clutches wear away they are gone.
 

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do you have rust on and around pan and fill/drain plugs?, I will check back in tmrw. and will post a pic of the valve fill/drain setup I use ,no spillage and accurate ,and you have no doubt when fluid filled to correct level,more than welcome to borrow it, in regards to my query ,if rusted you might want to replace bolts /plugs ,etc. as removal can be a pita. ,torque wrench needed also. This is not a difficult job, a 2-3 on scale of 1-10, however one must be precise, certain, and methodical through all the steps in a sequential manner. Keep us posted with progress.
 

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...will post a pic of the valve fill/drain setup I use ,no spillage and accurate ,and you have no doubt when fluid filled to correct level
I would like to see that picture too. Some spillage is unavoidable when the ATF overflows the stand-pipe, at least by my fill technique.
 

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Shouldn't you be changing atf every 60-80k? I've heard people say if it's never been done you'll mess it up putting fresh in cause it'll clean out sludge and buildup and cause slippage but I think it would be way worse to keep pushing it on overdue fluid. You're saying the dealership has been working on it only for the last 12k? Did I read that right?
Our 2003 V6 has never had the fluid changed and at 119k miles not sure if I should risk it after reading stories removing sludge which in a way it's "helping" the transmission, I even had the owner of a german shop tell me he doesn't recommend it....

Not sure what's the best course of action...
 

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will do YL ,will post pic Monday as I'm not at home this weekend ,and as to when and if to fill,does it matter ? I would think it could only be of help to keep fresh fluid in there, like oil changes but obviously longer. It must break down a little from the heat I would think. And after lets say 16 years with a loss of only 2 ozs. (not much at all) per year,and there goes a quart.
 

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if rusted you might want to replace bolts /plugs ,etc. as removal can be a pita. ,torque wrench needed also.
I did not use an impact driver and was screwed big time when one of the bolts were stripped. Tried many different attempts/tools to get the stripped bolt out with no avail.

The result: I was not able to drop the pan and just did drain/refill without changing the filter. I use two gallons of Valvoline MaxLife to double drain/refill to make sure I got the most of the old fluid out. After a couple of hours I noticed a leak from the missing bolt area. My indy charged me $95 to just put one bolt in place. After nearly two years the tranny has started slipping. It never shifted as normal again.

I'm armed with a DeWalt impact driver now. I plan to drop the pan, change the filter, and fill it with genuine VW ATF fluid. It's gonna cost me around $125 but I don't mind.
The only issue I have is the bitter cold right now. So I may do this in late Spring and see what happens.

The morale of the story: 1) never save on buying cheap tools 2) never cheap out on ATF fluid.
 

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I'm kind of in the same boat as the OP. My B5.5 is nearing 140k miles and I'm not sure it ever had the fluid/filter changed. When I bought the car about 8 months ago, the Carfax showed 49 previous services, all at the VW dealer in Fargo, ND, with many regular 5k, 10k, 15k & 30k services. But, as you know, changing the ATF fluid is not part of the regularly scheduled maintenance, so I can only assume the fluid is original. I never drove one of these cars when they were new, so I have no idea what the tranny felt like when new. Mine downshifts like right now when you press the gas to order quick acceleration, but is somewhat sluggish on the upshifts unless you really gas it hard, and seems to be programmed to upshift early for fuel economy reasons. I have not noticed any slipping at all. Compared to the autobox in my Honda Element it's a rather crude transmission, though I will say the Passat tranny shifts down and hunts around a lot less here in hilly western N. Dakota than the Element when using the cruise control on the highway, but I attribute that mostly to the far superior aerodynamics of the Passat vs the blocky, upright body of the Element.

I spoke to my current VW service people about servicing the transmission and they seemed to lean toward NOT servicing it. For now I'm leaving well enough alone. Is there any way to inspect the fluid without servicing the transmission? I guess I haven't even looked in the engine bay to see if there's a diptstick for the transmission and just assumed there isn't one.
 

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No, there's no dipstick, so no simple way like that to check fluid condition. Checking the fluid and changing the fluid are practically the same amount of work, since checking necessarily involves loosing fluid that has to be replaced. So the question is: do it/don't do it.

My A4 just turned 200,000 miles and is due for another change, last at 150K. I've got all the ATF and equipment ready, just waiting for the motivation.
 

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I changed the fluid and filter on my 98’, 1.8t. at 200.000 miles. Drives perfectly.
DON’T USE ANYTHING BUT Pentosin or ZF FLUID. MaxLife etc. will destroy it.
 
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