Burned Transmission Fluid 2018 CX-5 AWD

ColoradoDriver

Gen-1 Kodo Design
Contributor
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Denver, CO
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2014 CX-5 Touring
Might as well be called 'sealed for life' with where that 'stick' is located and how it is accessed for a simple look see at the fluid's health.

Sure, for the average user out there. I really don't understand manufacturers making it hard to read fluid levels. Like, why can't you use a normal dipstick?
 

madar

Contributor
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2016.5 CX 5 Touring AWD, 2015 SCION XB
Definitely sounds like the trans should have been replaced. I guess we're getting a look at how Mazda is backing their CPO warranty- they aren't.
 

Ronzuki

South Central PA
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2018 CX5 Touring
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w/ Pref Pkg
I really don't understand manufacturers making it hard to read fluid levels. Like, why can't you use a normal dipstick?

I can't stress this enough... all of the extra non-sense in a car today you think you want, need, and can't live w/o..."distracted driver assist technology" and "infotainment" crap, well, the dollars to pay for all of that have to come from somewhere. While a dipstick and stand-tube are not mission critical, unfortunately, critical components also are, and have been, cheapened. It is really that simple. GM caused themselves some serious grief (dead people and lawsuits) over cheapening a component within their ignition switches to save $0.02 per switch. As I recall, an engineer testified (lied) under oath to the gov on national TV he had no knowledge of the change. Well, months later an ECN (Engineering Change Notice) contained within an email was produced w/ his signature indicating he in fact approved it...whoopsie. Can you say jail-time? Do the math over the number of vehicles sold. That's merely one component in a machine w/ thousands. Besides that, you don't check/service your fluid and burn up the trans, manufacturers sell more parts and more vehicles. That's why they're in business, to make money, which quite simply, is the goal. All of this "creating and experience" smoke and mirrors marketing fluff manufacturers spew (like kodo) is just that. Once again, the designed life span target window is the warranty period for practically anything and everything today. Realize it, understand it, and come to grips with it.

So my advice to consumers is this, be careful what you wish for. What's more important to the OP now? All of the extra costly garbage in the rolling techno-marvel, or, the fact that his expensive new transportation device will very soon no longer be carrying out its primary function...rolling down the road transporting him to and fro?
 
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2017 CX5 AWD Touring
You maybe aren't referring to the CX-5 with this comment, but in case you are, the CX-5 DOES have a transmission fluid dipstick. Problem is, it's under the airbox and you have to check it at a very specific temperature while running. Definitely not an easy dipstick like checking the oil for sure, but it is there.

I meant the access is so ridiculous and impossible to check, that it as well not even have one. As far as the fluid being "lifelong" that is another BS marketing and EPA play. No fluid lasts forever. That is impossible. Ask any fluid dynamics engineer. They will laugh at you when you tell them Mazda and other manufacturers claim the trans fluid is "forever".
 

ColoradoDriver

Gen-1 Kodo Design
Contributor
:
Denver, CO
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2014 CX-5 Touring
Anyone got a link on HOW TO replace the trans fluid in a 2017+ CX5?

I'll have to see if I can find the doc (I have one somewhere), but essentially for a drain and fill service, the transmission has a drain plug (for my gen 1, same hex style drain plug as the engine oil plug). Not sure the 2017 is still hex plug or not.

When you remove the dipstick, that hole acts as the fill port. Be careful though. The way they designed the dipstick, it is very easy for dirt to be under the part of it that sits against the transmission and around the hole. Clean it and be extra careful not to drop any of that dirt and debris into the hole. Detailing clay works great...

Anyway, you should start by measuring the fluid. Many CX-5s seem to be under-filled slightly from the factory, so you can't necessarily just replace the same amount you drain. The quick and dirty is to measure it with car running when the blue dash light turns off (gen 1), or whatever indicator the gen 2 has for when the engine is warmed up. If you want to get more precise temperature wise, there are specific ODBII readers/apps you can use. Measurement needs to be done at 122F.

Anyway, to access the transmission pan/drain plug, you'll need to remove the underbody paneling. The transmission pan is on the driver's side. Remove the drain plug and you can expect to drain anywhere from 2-5 quarts. (Mine was 3.5 quarts). When you are done draining, put the plug back on with a new crush washer (same kind used for engine oil drain plug), with same torque (22-29 ft. lb. if I recall, I just do 25). Use a long funnel and refill amount drained plus any extra that may be needed if under-filled. (I drained 3.5 quarts, but required approx. 3.7 to fill to correct level on mine).

Put the dipstick back in, start it up, cycle through the gears, etc. and double-check fluid measurement on dipstick. If all good, close it all back up.

Note: some people access the dipstick from below the car with the panel removed so that you don't have to mess with the airbox. Alternatively can take the airbox out, reattach it so that it is out of the way of the dipstick so that you can still run the car and measure it appropriately.
 

Kaps

Contributor
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CX-5 Touring 2016.5
My CX5 transmission oil will probably get drained and filled at a Toyota dealer. Is it possible to clean the dipstick with a long nozzle power washer? and follow up by a rag before taking it in? Or to even clean it you need to remove the airbox?
 
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2017 CX5 AWD Touring
Did the fluid change on my 2017 CX5 at 30k miles. It sat for almost 2 days before I drained it so 4 quarts came out (measured twice). I poured in 4 quarts. of the Mazda fluid. Fluid was brownish but not burned but definitely not like fresh fluid.

I didn't check the level as firing it up without the airbox just caused the engine to surge & turn off. I figured since 4 quarts was taken out, I put in back what got drained.
 
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2013 Mazda CX-5 Sport FWD Auto
I didn't check the level as firing it up without the airbox just caused the engine to surge & turn off. I figured since 4 quarts was taken out, I put in back what got drained.
Mine as well as others had a low fill from the factory for first gen models.

I hear you on the color. When I did my first drain at 50k it wasn’t burnt but the color wasn’t blue anymore. It was like a deep maroon. Three drain and fills with driving in between got it blue again as expected. Color isn’t an indicator of quality but it certainly wasn’t encouraging lol.

Blackstone report had ok numbers though. Low wear metals present. Viscosity was getting low so I’m glad I changed at 50k. The lab guessed it was due to heat. No recommendation to extend the interval longer than what was tested.
 
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2018 AWD GT Premium Red/Black
It is a pita that they did not put an easy access transmission dipstick. It would have cost what, 15 bucks to add it.
They have a dipstick, so they already spent the money. I think it was engineering/space constraints that make it a hassle.
 
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2018 AWD GT Premium Red/Black
Mine as well as others had a low fill from the factory for first gen models.

I hear you on the color. When I did my first drain at 50k it wasn’t burnt but the color wasn’t blue anymore. It was like a deep maroon. Three drain and fills with driving in between got it blue again as expected. Color isn’t an indicator of quality but it certainly wasn’t encouraging lol.

Blackstone report had ok numbers though. Low wear metals present. Viscosity was getting low so I’m glad I changed at 50k. The lab guessed it was due to heat. No recommendation to extend the interval longer than what was tested.
It's possible that the fill specs in the manual are higher than the minimum required for proper function. It may allow margin for more measurement and process variation when outside of the controlled factory environment.

In other words, the factory spec may be different than the published spec.

I suspect this may be the case given that Mazda seems to have excellent quality control as evidenced by the precise panel seams, and being the reigning #1 most reliable manufacturer. I find it difficult to believe that they would consistently fill less than they intend over years of production. I believe they are putting in the amount of fluid they intend to.
 

erhayes

Contributor
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CX5 Reserve
I'm curous to know if the car in question had a trailer hitch on it. If so, the AT could have been severely abused by over weight trailer or careless driving. ED
 
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2020 CX-5 AWD
They have a dipstick, so they already spent the money. I think it was engineering/space constraints that make it a hassle.

All of the folks who are posting about how difficult it is to access this Mazda dipstick should actually be (very) thankful there is one at all.

I've also been living in the Kia/Hyundai world, where you check transmission fluid level on their newer vehicles by watching it run out of a 'check' port located on the side of the tranny case. You're supposed to decide when the fluid is running out in a 'thin, steady stream', and then hopefully be quick enough to replace the check port plug before too much more runs out. Now THAT is something to rant about, which I've done many times on those forums.

And although I agree that engineering/space constraints might have played a part in this dipstick design, I think it's also likely Mazda hid it away a bit to discourage easy access by the typical owner. This is very good reasoning on their part, because IMO only a dedicated DIYer will spend the time and effort it takes to get to the dipstick. And that increases the probability that this type of owner will also do the level check correctly (and possibly ATF change as well). A very well done compromise for the transmission dipstick by Mazda IMO, and I for one am very glad to have it.