All automatic transaxles use Dexron®II or equivalent Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF).
See Figure 1
You should inspect the automatic transaxle gear oil at 3,000 miles (4,831 km) or once a month, at this point you should correct the level or replace the oil as necessary. There is a dipstick at the right rear of the engine. It has a scale on each side, one for COLD and the other for HOT . The transmission is considered hot after 15 miles of highway driving. Park the car on a level surface with the engine running. If the transaxle is not hot, shift into Drive, Low, then Park. Set the handbrake and block the wheels.
The fluid level should be checked when the engine is at normal operating temperature and engine running. The COLD range is used for reference only.
Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean, then reinsert it firmly. Remove the dipstick and check the fluid level on the appropriate scale. The level should be at the Full mark. If the level is below the Full mark, add Dexron®II Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) as necessary, with the engine running, through the dipstick tube. Do not overfill, as this may cause the transaxle to malfunction and damage itself.
DRAIN AND REFILL
See Figures 2, 3, 4 and 5
It is recommended that the automatic transaxle fluid be changed every 30,000 miles (48,309 km). If the vehicle is normally used in severe service, the interval should be halved. You may also want to change it if you have bought your car used or if it has been driven in water deep enough to reach the transaxle case.
- Run the engine until it reaches normal operating temperature then turn the key to the OFF position.
- Jack up the front of the car and support it on safety stands if necessary to gain access.
If there is no drain plug, the fluid pan must be removed. On newer models, there is a hexagonal drain plug near the oil pan.
- If equipped with a drain plug, position a suitable container, then remove the plug and drain the transaxle.
- If not equipped with a drain plug, partially remove the pan screws until the pan can be pulled down at one corner. Place a container under the transaxle, then lower a rear corner of the pan and allow the fluid to drain.
- After draining, remove the pan screws completely, then the pan and gasket. On RL4F031A and RL4F01A transaxles, remove the drain plug in the side of the case or oil pan.
- Clean the pan thoroughly and allow it to air dry. If you wipe it out with a rag, be sure there is no lint left behind to clog the oil passages.
It is very important to clean the old gasket from the oil pan, to prevent leaks upon installation. A razor blade does an excellent job.
- Install the pan using a new gasket and a small bead of RTV sealant; be sure to apply sealant around the outside of the pan bolt holes. Tighten the pan screws evenly in rotation from the center outwards, to 43-61 inch lbs. (5-7 Nm), then lower the vehicle.
- It is a good idea to measure the amount of fluid drained to determine how much fresh fluid to add. This is because some part of the transaxle, such as the torque converter, will not drain completely and using the dry refill amount specified in the Capacities chart may lead to overfilling. Fluid is added through the dipstick tube. Make sure that the funnel, hose or whatever your are using is completely clean and dry before pouring transaxle fluid through it. Use Dexron®II automatic transmission fluid.
- Replace the dipstick after filling. Start the engine and allow it to idle. DO NOT race the engine.
- After the engine has idled for a few minutes, shift the transaxle slowly through the gears, then return the lever to PARK . With the engine idling, check the fluid level on the dip stick. It should be between the H and L marks. If below L , add sufficient fluid to raise the level to between the marks.
- Drive the car until the transaxle is at operating temperature. The fluid should be at the H mark. If not, add sufficient fluid until this is the case. Be careful not to overfill; overfilling causes slippage, overheating and seal damage.
If the drained fluid is discolored (brown or black), thick or smells burnt, serious transaxle problems due to overheating should be suspected. Your car's transaxle should be inspected by a transaxle specialist to determine the cause.
PAN AND FILTER SERVICE
See Figures 2, 3, 4 and 5
- Raise and safely support the vehicle on jackstands.
- Place a container under the transaxle to catch the oil when the pan is removed.
- If equipped with a drain plug, remove the plug and drain the transaxle.
- Remove the transaxle pan bolts and lower the pan.
If the pan sticks, bump it with a soft hammer to break it loose.
- Remove the control valve body, oil strainer plate bolts and the plate.
If the separator plate shows signs of scratches or damage, replace it.
- Using a putty knife, clean the gasket mounting surfaces.
- Clean the pan with soap and water. Dry the pan, but be careful not to get any lint in it. Be sure to keep the pan magnet(s) in place.
- Attach the oil strainer plate and control valve body.
- Position a new gasket and sealant on the pan. After allowing the sealant to cure for a few minutes, raise the pan into position. Torque the oil pan bolts to 43-61 inch lbs. (5-7 Nm).
- Remove the jackstands and lower the vehicle.
- Refill the transaxle with DEXRON®II automatic transmission fluid.