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I have a 1998 Mercury Sable which I have owned for approx. 2 years. I do not of course know anything about the previous work done on it. It was brought to my attention during a recent oil change that the transmission fluid looked dirty and this particular place said for $200.00 they could flush, drain and fill the transmission. I called around to other area service places and got MANY different prices and opinions on what to do. I googled this and found that on older model cars if you DO NOT know the history of the car sometimes messing with the transmission can mess up the actual transmission as some of the gunk and grime is sort of what is keeping the car functioning. I do not want transmission problems. I have not been experiencing any trouble so far. I was wondering would it be best just to have like a Jiffy Lube - drain and fill the transmission? They do not replace filter. They either do the above or flush - drain - fill. No option 3 like drain, fill, change filter or is that something I can ask for from a service place? I am just perplexed. Thank you for reading this and hope to hear back from you. Cheryl

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Audra Fordin, Owner at Great Bear Auto Shop Hi Cheryl, You are in a tough spot. I have seen transmission trouble after doing a service. It is a risk you are taking when you are involved in the unknown. If the service is successful, you are doing a great justice for the unit. As for the pricing, there are many ways to do a transmission service. In order to do the fluid exchange correctly, you do need to remove all of the fluid and replace it with new fluid, as well as the filter and clean the magnet. If you are just doing a drain and fill, you are wasting your money. I do not think replacing 2 quarts of fluid in a 13 quart container will make any difference. Think of filling a bath tub with water and washing yourself. The next time you need to wash, you only take out 10% of the water and bathe in the same tub? Or take all of the water out and start again with clean water. As for the auto shop you use, the quick service centers do not have the abitilty or tools to check you car completly and give you a real "checkup". I suggest you look at the askpatty.com site for a shop in your area. Mechanically yours, Audra www.womenAUTOknow.com

Barb Petrey, President - DBK Enterprises Inc at Jiffy Lube You can get both services done when you request it at a Jiffy Lube and you should get them both done-the flush and the pan drop. If you don't know the history you may be better off going to a transmission shop where they can do both and they will also remove and clean the valve assembly. To not do anything can cause problems as well.

Laurie Sarno, Co-Owner at Super Girls Auto Hello Cheryl---Advice I have received from a man who rebuilt transmissions for over 40 years----If the transmission has not been regularly serviced, do NOT change or flush the transmission as it may result in transmission failure soon. The reason---Transmission fluid is a solvent oil. In short--it has powerful detergent characteristics. Installation of fresh fluid with new solvents may dissolve the friction materials and adhesives used in the multiple disc wet clutches as well as bands (if used), resulting in failure. You may however add fluid in quantities not exceeding two quarts if trans is low on fluid--just never completely replace it. Hope this helps thanks Super Girls Auto.

Lori Johnson, Owner and Instructor at Ladies Start Your Engines Dear Cheryl, You are right. If the fluid has never been changed, it's probably a good idea not to do it. If you were having problems with the transmission I'd say to give it a shot. But since you're not I would either get another opinion on whether it looks like it's been done before, or see if you can find service information on your vehicle. Did you try checking www.carfax.com? There might be a fee, but they will tell you if work was done and reported by any shop for that vehicle. Whatever you do, don't just do the cheap job. Have the system flushed and replace the filter if it has one. You don't want to leave old fluid to mix with new. Hope this helps. Lori Johnson www.ladiesstartyourengines.com

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