67,000 Mile Transmission Fluid (ATF) Analysis Results

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2019 CX-5 Touring
After researching whether I should drain and fill the ATF and seeing there was no consensus, I drained and filled mine at 66,900 miles and paid for a Blackstone analysis because I was just so curious with Mazda saying you never need to replace the fluid and other saying 30-40,000 miles. I did buy the vehicle at about 65,000 miles but the previous owner said he didn't remember draining the ATF and wouldn't have done it unless it was part of the scheduled maintenance, which it isn't so I believe this is the original fluid. Blackstone says the fluid is all good and they'd try 75,000 miles but I don't know what the actual numbers mean so comments are welcome! For what it;s worth, this is a 2014 Touring.
ATF Analysis.JPG
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2013 CX-5 Touring FWD; 2013 BMW Z4 35i
Thanks for posting this. It's pretty much what I would have expected!
 
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RDX Aspec Adv.
The main thing to note is the flash point, and viscosity at operating temperature. I really wish we had TBN on it.

Truth is, we don't know what wear metal amounts are "normal" for the CX5's transmission, as it's a different operating beast. You wouldn't expect normal metals from a CVT, no? So why this?

Anyway, it looks like the fluid itself is holding up extremely well, and I feel very vindicated by my decision NOT to have the fluid changed at any point.
 
The main thing to note is the flash point, and viscosity at operating temperature. I really wish we had TBN on it.

Truth is, we don't know what wear metal amounts are "normal" for the CX5's transmission, as it's a different operating beast. You wouldn't expect normal metals from a CVT, no? So why this?

Anyway, it looks like the fluid itself is holding up extremely well, and I feel very vindicated by my decision NOT to have the fluid changed at any point.


I am not sure but does ATF have a TBN measurement? I know motor oil does.

This is a good idea getting this report. I wish we had a virgin analysis of the same fluid to compare to. I would be curious about the iron numbers in particular.

Overall, it shows the fluid is capable of extended service as Mazda intended.
 

yugrus

Contributor
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CX-5 GT
Mike, would you be interested in posting your results at bobistheoilguy.com? This way you might spark the interest of some really knowledgeable people there, as I don't recall seeing Mazda ATF UOA before. If you don't want to create the account, I can post on your behalf.
 

GJ-Molestor

Banned
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2011 BMW 528i, 2015 Mazda 6, 1995 Nissan Maxima Manual
the reason why it's always best to change the transmission fluid filter (which I believe in integrated into the pan) is because this filter is containing metal shavings that broke off from your transmission during the initial break-in procedure in the early stages of your cars life. yes it's not probably not gonna go anywhere (although it might) but do you really want those metals to just hang out in your transmission pan?

transmission fluid is a common-wear item. it becomes dirty, contaminated, and loses its effectiveness to protect the transmission components over time. while it may not be to the same extent as what engine oil goes through, that doesn't mean you should just totally neglect your transmission. and the transmission filter - imagine getting back home from work, taking a shower, and then putting your dirty work clothes back on. that's essentially the same thing as changing your oil and leaving the dirty old filter in there which is why I don't suggest to do just a drain and fill. the only problem with removing the transmission pan (to replace it with a new one that has a clean filter) is that you're gonna need to seal the new one with some sort of gasket to prevent leaks. to those of you wondering why Mazda doesn't suggest you change your transmission fluid - it's because the transmission will eventually fail, and they are hoping you bring it into the dealer for a very overpriced repair because you will NOT experience any sort of failures before your warranty expires, assuming everything is in good working order. it is all a scheme so that they make more money, and other manufacturers like BMW are doing the exact same thing. don't fall for it.

anyone ever wonder why high mileage automatic transmissions always have issues with hard shifting, slipping, and even complete failure? you're very unlikely to see an auto transmission make it to 200K miles unless that unit was regularly serviced. now you know...
 
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RDX Aspec Adv.
the reason why it's always best to change the transmission fluid filter (which I believe in integrated into the pan) is because this filter is containing metal shavings that broke off from your transmission during the initial break-in procedure in the early stages of your cars life. yes it's not probably not gonna go anywhere (although it might) but do you really want those metals to just hang out in your transmission pan?

transmission fluid is a common-wear item. it becomes dirty, contaminated, and loses its effectiveness to protect the transmission components over time. while it may not be to the same extent as what engine oil goes through, that doesn't mean you should just totally neglect your transmission. and the transmission filter - imagine getting back home from work, taking a shower, and then putting your dirty work clothes back on. that's essentially the same thing as changing your oil and leaving the dirty old filter in there which is why I don't suggest to do just a drain and fill. the only problem with removing the transmission pan (to replace it with a new one that has a clean filter) is that you're gonna need to seal the new one with some sort of gasket to prevent leaks. to those of you wondering why Mazda doesn't suggest you change your transmission fluid - it's because the transmission will eventually fail, and they are hoping you bring it into the dealer for a very overpriced repair because you will NOT experience any sort of failures before your warranty expires, assuming everything is in good working order. it is all a scheme so that they make more money, and other manufacturers like BMW are doing the exact same thing. don't fall for it.

anyone ever wonder why high mileage automatic transmissions always have issues with hard shifting, slipping, and even complete failure? you're very unlikely to see an auto transmission make it to 200K miles unless that unit was regularly serviced. now you know...

We will see. You keep changing your fluid, I'll leave mine alone like Mazda recommends.
 

GJ-Molestor

Banned
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2011 BMW 528i, 2015 Mazda 6, 1995 Nissan Maxima Manual
I'll leave mine alone like Mazda recommends.

That was a rather naive statement, but you do you. I feel sorry for the next owner of your CX-5.

The transmission on my BMW felt like new and shifted significantly better than before, so Ill be doing the same on the Mazda soon. I could care less about mazdas recommendation if they are trying to destroy your trhasmission unit.
 

GJ-Molestor

Banned
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2011 BMW 528i, 2015 Mazda 6, 1995 Nissan Maxima Manual
OP, could you perhaps post a quick write up noting if you felt any difference with transmission shifting and smoothness after doing the drain and fill?
 

joe6864

Contributor
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2017 CX-5 GT w/Tech Pkg
OP, could you perhaps post a quick write up noting if you felt any difference with transmission shifting and smoothness after doing the drain and fill?

To be fair, I've heard people say their car runs smoother and better after an oil change... "feeling any difference" is low on the reliability scale.
 

GJ-Molestor

Banned
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2011 BMW 528i, 2015 Mazda 6, 1995 Nissan Maxima Manual
To be fair, I've heard people say their car runs smoother and better after an oil change... "feeling any difference" is low on the reliability scale.

I hardly notice any difference after changing my oil. now if you saw the condition of the transmission fluid in my BMW that came out after merely 67K miles, you'd probably believe it. there was a very, very noticeable difference. A friend who got into my car the next day (I did not tell him that I did anything to the transmission) asked me why it was shifting so much smoother and quicker than before.
 
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13' CX-5 and 16' Mazda6 both Touring w/Tech/Bose
Thanks for posting Mike R.

Now keep in mind folks that analysis is based on that particular CX'5's environmental conditions and maybe even owner driving habits. Heat and load are two stresses on transmissions which could lesson ATF lifespan. That said the skyactiv FZ fluid is once again proving good marks!! If anything my drain/fill attempts are over maintenance. Over maintenance in a car is a good thing within reason and cost of course.
 
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RDX Aspec Adv.
I hardly notice any difference after changing my oil. now if you saw the condition of the transmission fluid in my BMW that came out after merely 67K miles, you'd probably believe it. there was a very, very noticeable difference. A friend who got into my car the next day (I did not tell him that I did anything to the transmission) asked me why it was shifting so much smoother and quicker than before.

I changed ATF at 68K miles once in a vehicle...and you could tell the difference. No thanks!
 
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2022 CX-5 Turbo
I beg to differ.
I can feel the difference every time I got my car back from oil change at a Mazda dealer.

I also have ATF replaced at 30K/15K intervals.

Did the same to my '98 BMW 540iA. Never had any AT issue on mine.
If you know BMWs, you know that E39 has lots of AT issues.
That's when BMW started to claim *life-time fluid*.
 
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I beg to differ.
I can feel the difference every time I got my car back from oil change at a Mazda dealer.

I also have ATF replaced at 30K/15K intervals.

Did the same to my '98 BMW 540iA. Never had any AT issue on mine.
If you know BMWs, you know that E39 has lots of AT issues.
That's when BMW started to claim *life-time fluid*.

Most cars sound quieter after a oil change. That’s the enjoyment of getting it done or doing it yourself.

As for the ATF, I don’t agree with the lifetime idea myself but I think more along the lines of a long life fluid. I would think a 60k fluid change would help immensely. It also depends on the driving situation. Leadfooting, lots of hills will stress any fluid.

We spend a lot of hard earned money on our cars so performing preventative maintenance like this helps to ensure we get a long life.

When I owned a Toyota Tacoma 20+ years ago, the 60k service included fluid changes on the transmission, transfer case and both differentials. Not sure if they still do that but I think it was a smart idea and that truck ran for many more miles.
 

GJ-Molestor

Banned
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2011 BMW 528i, 2015 Mazda 6, 1995 Nissan Maxima Manual
I beg to differ.
I can feel the difference every time I got my car back from oil change at a Mazda dealer.

I also have ATF replaced at 30K/15K intervals.

Did the same to my '98 BMW 540iA. Never had any AT issue on mine.
If you know BMWs, you know that E39 has lots of AT issues.
That's when BMW started to claim *life-time fluid*.

s***.. may as well go ahead and call the engine oil, brake fluid, and every other fluid in the damn car including the windshield will Washer fluid life-time. How naive you people gotta be? (Not you ceric. Looks like your Previous BMW ownership has taught you well) 30k is a little excessive unless youre also replacing the filter, but s***. Better too much than too little right? At that pace your AT will last forever. You notice how the era of E39 had transmission issues conveniently when BMW told you to stop changing the fluid? I cant believe how naive people are when it comes to this. Its all a ploy by the big brands to take every last penny that they can from your wallet.

BMWs ZF transmission in particularly is heavily dependent on clean, good quality fluid for healthy operation and they will last a very long time with regular service. These units, whether it is the 5,6, or 8 speed can take one f*ck of a beating. Incredibly resilient units. They use the 5 speed version in public buses because its tough. Its not the transmission itself thats the weak link when modifying your engine, its the transmission tune. In reality, the weakest version of the ZF 8 speed can handle up to 500ft/lb of torque.. what the hell are you going to do with this much power on the street? The best part about these units is that they can be fitted into anything from a Cummins Inline 6 Diesel, a 4 cylinder, v12, or just about anything In between. ZF does NOT provide any sort of software/tuning with their unit - that is up to the end user to determine and many different brands use one such as Chrysler Acura Audi etc. You can feel the difference between the s*** examples (Chrysler) ahd the best (BMW)

The transmission tune is very important. you can take the best transmission in the world, but if its map is mediocre then the transmission will be mediocre. Mazda is a good example - slap in some new clutch packs which lock up the torque converter for better response/efficiency, carefully tune the gear ratios with a short first gear, vastly improve the transmission tuning over the pre-skyactiv trash and you got yourself the best automatic transmission in the whole class it competes in. The automatic unit is faster than the manual, can you imagine?

I digress. Take care of your transmission and itll take care of you.
 
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RDX Aspec Adv.
That was a rather naive statement, but you do you. I feel sorry for the next owner of your CX-5.

The transmission on my BMW felt like new and shifted significantly better than before, so I’ll be doing the same on the Mazda soon. I could care less about mazdas “recommendation” if they are trying to destroy your trhasmission unit.

Right. You do you. Let's see whose lasts longer. Mine, or all you guys changing fluid.
 

GJ-Molestor

Banned
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2011 BMW 528i, 2015 Mazda 6, 1995 Nissan Maxima Manual
Right. You do you. Let's see whose lasts longer. Mine, or all you guys changing fluid.

Whats your theory for a transmission with dirty old fluid somehow outlasting a properly serviced one?

Dont you think that the transmission would be a sealed unit if it was truly lifetime? Why would mazda allow you to change the transmission pan (which contains a filter) if its life time? You know, the best part is that BMW says the fluid is life-time, but when you go onto ZFs website the first thing they say is that they recommend a fluid change every 60-75K depending on driving conditions. The ZF unit has the exact same pan design as the skyactiv unit - one of the many reasons you bet your ass Ill be flushing my transmission.
 
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RDX Aspec Adv.
What’s your theory for a transmission with dirty old fluid somehow outlasting a properly serviced one?

Don’t you think that the transmission would be a sealed unit if it was truly lifetime? Why would mazda allow you to change the transmission pan (which contains a filter) if it’s “life time?” You know, the best part is that BMW says the fluid is life-time, but when you go onto ZF’s website the first thing they say is that they recommend a fluid change every 60-75K depending on driving conditions. The ZF unit has the exact same pan design as the skyactiv unit - one of the many reasons you bet your ass I’ll be flushing my transmission.

Personal experience going both routes numerous times with vehicles from the 80's through 2012, including 2 manuals as well for good measure. It's ceased to become theory in my world. You do what you want, and we'll see who posts the first "my transmission s*** the bed" thread.

Know which ones never had a slip or stutter? The one's that weren't dicked with. Know which ones became hard to shift, slipped, went high order, etc? You guessed it.

Like I said, you can tell me all the crap you read on the internet all day long, and I'll stick with my own personal experience having changed transmission fluid in transmissions as early as 1500 miles, as late as 110k miles, and places in between in manuals and automatics. All brand-congruent dealership service, by the way, so don't go blaming shade-tree mechanicing.
 
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joe6864

Contributor
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2017 CX-5 GT w/Tech Pkg
Wow, people think they feel a difference after an oil change? If you feel a difference... you waited way too long to change your oil. Our mind plays wonderful tricks on us... I thought those of us here would be smarter lol.
 
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