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Question DetailsAsked on 8/5/2015

do u have to get transmission fluid from the dealer

nissan altima. my mechanic saying i need to get the fluid from the nissan dealer

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1 Answer


No - there was a court case many years back banning that sort of requirement by car manufacturers. Check your owner's manual in the Fluids or Transmission section - probably specifies one of the various ATF grades of fluid if an automatic, could specify ATF or motor oil or a gear lube like 80/90W if a manual transmission, depending on manufacturer and transmission model. Be sure to use right specification type, because there are different types with different properties and different chemical bases - using wrong one or mixing them is BAD for the transmission.

However - one caveat and what he might have been driving at - because when you drain an automatic transmission (assuming that is what you have), especially if you have a transmission cooler attached (standard on some, and part of towing package on most others) you actually drain only 1/2-2/3 of the fluid in the system at a fluid change, so using another brand means you are mixing brands and characteristics in the system. Safest to stay with the original manufacturer brand with automatic transmissions (and power steeering, brake fluid, radiator fluid if not totally blowing out the sysstem) to avoid mixing brands. Extra cost probably about $5 to 20 for a minor to complete fluids change out cycle, plus then they cannot claim a failure is due to mixing of different fluids.

Also quite important for air conditioner to use same gas/lubricating oil as was originally installed - minimal additional cost if having a leak repaired.

Engine and differentials and transfer case oil it is a good idea to stay with the same brand every change, but as long as you are draining the oil completely out AND changing any filters you are getting most of the fluid out, so going with another brand meeting the manufacturer specification for that application is not as big a thing.

One other thing - commonly the dealer parts department will tell you who makes their fluids - or google for it - then buy that same brand at your local store.

BTW - I presume you are changing the fluids yourself. IF you are having to add fluid, you have a leak - there should be no detectable drop in fluid level with use except with engine oil - just changing of fluids at recommended mileage intervals because it wears out and loses its lubricating effectiveness with use.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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