I called my local dealer today and asked a "service advisor" when they recommend replacement of manual trans fluid(gear oil). This is what they said.
2011 Golf tdi
VW: I see DSG and non-DSG automatic service intervals here but there is nothing here listed for manual transmission fluid, so I believe it is a lifetime fluid. We never change the fluid in the older models either, unless there is a problem.
I really wanted to say "well my problem is that the gear oil in my transmission has broken down and lost its cooling and lubricating capabilities...." but i held myself back and just said "thank you, have a nice day"
Anyway, you get the point. When should it be changed, and what fluid is recommended?
He doesnt, he cant, unless he already pulled it and did some kind of testing on it.
There is no and to my knowledge never has been a recommended change interval on MT fluid, on any VW I'm familiar with (older Golf/Rabbit/Jetta), and there is no reason for there to be one.
So yes, the dealer is correct, more or less. There is no fundamental reason to change your gear fluid at regular intervals. It sees some heat cycling, but no combustion byproducts, so it really isnt subjected to typical sources of breakdown (the less harsh environment means it can be tailored to deal with heat just fine).
As long as the gearbox is sealed, the fluid can last a long time. Certainly change it no more often than every 100kmi, maybe even ever 150 or 200kmi.
You are correct I could never know that without sending it out to a lab.
I just don't see how it could be lifetime if many other manufacturers recommend replacement of gear oil and diffs. What kind of oil does VW use from the factory? Whatever it is, I want some.
Whenever I bought any used car, I would make a habit of changing all fluids, including gear oil, when I got it so I would know that everything was fresh. Now that I have my shiny new golf I just wanted to make sure it was being maintained properly, as I'm putting 50k a year on it.
Ill probably do mine around 100k then since the car does take a hefty beating driving that much in PA.
The service advisor is correct.
In many other OEM (Ford, Toyota...) even the conventional automatics are filled for life, and those see a lot more clutch friction material wear and other moving parts wear (pistons, balancers) that manuals do not see.
So unless your MT oil became contaminated with something or you subjected the MT to very extreme temperatures (I mean below -40 or above 150C) you should not need to change it.
On my passat I did it at 75k miles.....I would not go much longer, just makes sense and is relatively cheap. Sure beats DSG costs.
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If you're @ 50k mi., I'd personally change it out now. Vw recommends 30-40k mi auto trans. fluid changes, which is prudent. IMO, not recommending a 50-60k mi. manual trans. fluid change seems foolish. As to which fluid, I'd use the factory fill. If you want to learn all about oil, check out "Bob is the Oil Guy." Great website!
Changing transmission oil after it ages will help make shifting smoother too.
I find it hard to believe that companies can say an oil in a vehicle is lifetime. Even if you don't run the vehicle, oils still age.
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There are some people whom believe that a new engine needs to broken in hard and others believe gently w/gradual increasing revs with the additional miles. I believe in the latter. I've seen the metal shavings from a new engine in the oil and transmission. Some believe it's ok to let it stay in there for a long period of time/miles. I like to get fresh fluid in early. I've felt the difference. I don't believe in "lifetime" fluid changes. (Check out Mini Cooper owners whom were told not to change out their transmission fluids. The Asain-Wagner transmission were falling @ 80-100k w/ $6k repair estimates.) i think oils are much better these days, but there are limits where I feel comfortable. To each their own.
Buy some Motul 75w90 Manual Transmission fluid, buy a fluid transfer pump from Autozone $12.99 and just swap it out. Smells like crap but it's completely worth it. I just did mine at 36k and I think it was the perfect time to do so. Car shifts like butter now once warmed up.
you guys know VW and most other manufactures define "lifetime" as to the end of the original warranty period, don't you?
Nor do they define it as never "needing changed".
knowledge is power, and if you think a hydro fluid "never" needs replacing your not a smart person; and, I have some 24k gold dog turds for sale for .01 cent
why do you think there are so many B5 Passats, Audi A4s, MK4 VW's with auto trans self imploding, and fluid black after 50k. why do you think so many die around 120 or a little more thousand miles.. why do they sell a replacement filter? etc..
yes I know this is about a manual trans, but the "lifetime" is still BS. The Trans is used more than the brakes, and the brake fluid is every 2 years regardless of miles. yes, brake fluid is a bit thinner fluid but it's still a hydraulic fluid.
If you can't take the HEAT be a COP
2B1 ask 1
Great point. Also with so many metal parts moving and meshing together you'd better believe no matter how good of a driver you think you are, there is always some grinding of gears going on, even if you don't notice it. Those metal shavings find a home amongst the fluid and need to be removed eventually. I plan on keeping my fluid changes to about 35k miles.
Brake fluid and MT fluid have almost nothing in common in terms of their functional requirements. You cannot compare them whatsoever.
Comparing AT and MT fluid is also not very valid. AT internals see a lot more in the way of work load put on the fluid, and probably in the way of contamination. (im not an expert on the matter, so I'll avoid saying more, but I do know ATs are quite a bit more severe fluid performance requirement).
That said, I agree "lifetime" probably doesnt mean forever, however it also probably does mean past the warranty period, certainly more than the 60kmi of current VW factory power train warranties. Certainly, regular changes more frequently than that is wasted.
I would tend to agree, if youre gonna change, do one early, to dump out some break-in wear metals. After that, I would expect 100kmi intervals to be no problem whatsoever. MT fluid basically just lubricates warm metal parts. It doesnt contend with crazy shear or thermal loads, or combustion contamination. It's easy to make it last long. The only thing it deals with is some heat cycling and metal particles. But even metal particles arent necessarily a problem - they generally wear down to less than the viscous boundary layer, if they ever even form larger than that to begin with, meaning they have negligible impact to further wear.
Incidentally, I took apart my Mk3 Jetta's tranny at about 110kmi. Did one fluid change early on (maybe 15kmi) to put a "performance" fluid in there. So after about 95kmi, metal particle in suspension appeared negligible. More importantly, the 5th gear and syncro (was in there to swap a 5th) were in very good shape. The car is at 200kmi and shifts and performs fine.
Last edited by RogueTDI; 05-02-2012 at 03:29 AM.
As far as every thing else goes, it seems as though we are on the same page. I put mine a little simpler is all..
Trans. fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid are all different by the properties they hold, but they are all hydro fluid. My point was if the manufacturer suggests 2 of the 3 should be replaced, why not the 3rd?
why does my mk4 have 325k miles (yes, three hundred twenty five thousand miles) on the original 5 spd trans? because of regular fluid changes. I wounder what would have happened if the fluid was never changed.
I will try to find the correspondence I have where VW defines "lifetime" as to the original purchaser through the original warranty. I also agree with you that the fluid should be good past the 50k power train, but I can tell you that mine will be changed some time after i hit that mark. Then it will be replaced every 75k.
Hell really we should worry more about the motor taking a poop, rather than the trans
Last edited by irishpride; 05-02-2012 at 07:27 AM.
If you can't take the HEAT be a COP
2B1 ask 1
OK, well i just checked back on my thread and looks like it ran away.
A lot of you are comparing apples to oranges as far as fluids go.
ATF and gear oil(manual trans fluid) are two completely different things, much like gear oil and brake fluid are two completely different things. ATF and brake fluid are both used for hydraulic, lubrication, and cooling, and gear oil is simply a lubricant and coolant.
ATF does do a substantial amount if lubrication in an automatic trans, as there are many wet clutch packs, gears, pumps, bearings, etc. but its main function is hydraulic, because it also operates all the pistons and clutches and is what makes a torque convertor do what it does(fluid friction). ATF breaks down mainly due to heat(mostly heat from the torque convertor), and sometimes due to contamination(all of the worn clutch material needs to build up somewhere).
Brake fluid's purpose is mainly hydraulic, and I would assume provides lubrication to the parts it touches. It breaks down for the most part due to age, because eventually it absorbs a certain amount of water, which makes it loose its properties critical to braking.
The only reason I called VW was I wanted to make sure I was following the recommended service schedule for warranty purposes since my carefree ran out and I don't wanna give the stealership another dime for maintenance. I was just so amazed at their response that I had to post it.
My old Subaru recommended gear oil in the diffs and transfer case at 40k and I'm sure there's a lot of other cars out there that have gear oil in them with a recommended replacement interval.
If lots of other manufacturers out there recommend it, what kind of "magic gear oil" does VW have, and where can I buy a case for every other car I own?
All joking aside, my point was all oils break down, and my local dealer said they "never replace it, even in older models" so that's one less reason to trust the dealer with maintenance of the car that I put 50k a year on.
Im going to replace it when I do my 50k oil change and and I plan to send samples of both the engine oil and gear oil to a lab so we can settle this one.
Now my question is whether to go with Redline Synthetic MTL, which is what I've always used or some standard synthetic 75w90 gear oil?
Companies don't state fluid changes for manual transmissions basically because it doesn't need to be done during the warranty period. What the on poster said earlier is basically true. Transmission fluid in an AT gets much more spent than a MT but that doesn't mean you shouldn't ever change it. There truly isn't any such thing as a lifetime fluid. Oil breaks down, loses its viscosity, and loses its detergent add-pack after so many miles. Changing out the factory fill a bit early (30k or so) is a good idea for a MT in my opinion. During break-in lots of metals accumulate quickly. Those metals don't go anywhere. They just sit and break down the oil faster.
Bobistheoilguy is the best website when it comes to knowledge on all things oil. Check out some used oil analysis' of factory fill MT fluid and you'll see what I mean. I personally like to change my factor fill at around 30k and then again at intervals of 50-60k. It's a much easier job than changing an AT's fluid anyway, so why not?
Earlier VWs had 100kmi 10yr powertrain warranties. They also did not have MT fluid change requirements. Seriously, speaking as a mechanical engineer (although admittedly not a fluid/tribology specialist), changing MT fluid every 50, 60 or even 80kmi is probably a waste of time. 100kmi is probably where i'd start worrying about it.
Originally Posted by karnsatron
DSG and any other ATF intervals really have nothing to do with gear oil. All manufacturers use different fluids and design their auto transmissions with different tolerances for those fluids.
In any situation where gears need to be lubricated, whether it is a diff, transmission, or any other gear box, standard heavy weight petroleum based(or synthetic) gear oil is used. How long as it lasts is determined by the application.
Since there is no general consensus on how long it really lasts in a mk6 golf, I may just send it out to a lab. I think I've heard as cheap as 15 bucks a sample, and I was thinking about getting my engine oil tested anyway.
I got 47k on the odo now and at the rate I drive ill proably be around 50 in 3 weeks, so you guys can battle it out till then, and I'll let you know what the lab says.