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BennyL 02-07-2006 01:09 PM

BMW "Lifetime" Transmission Fluid
hey guys,

i've read that some of the E36 transmissions have a special "lifetime" transmission fluid. is there any way to know which your car has, other than getting under the car and checking the ID plate on the transmission?

and if you DO have the lifetime fluid - do you need to change it when you get the inspection II service? according to the Bentley manual, a transmission fluid change is part of the inspection II service. but it also says in other parts of the manual, that transmissions with BMW lifetime transmission fluid "do not require periodic fluid changes". that statement seems a bit ambiguous. does it mean it never needs to be changed? or only needs to be changed for inspection II service?

does anyone know?

sloveniaboy 02-07-2006 01:13 PM

doesn't matter which fluid you have, after 30k, change it...

propr'one 02-07-2006 01:35 PM

I've heard that changing your tranny fluid can muck things up. I dont think my tranny's ever been serviced, and my car's got 170K on it. Im gonna flush the tranny fuild sometime soon.

I guess my advice is:
Be sure you know what you're doing, or have someone else do it.
Dont do it too often, my guess 50K km's is fine

BennyL 02-07-2006 02:51 PM

ok, but the thing is, i have no service records from the previous owner. as far as i know, the tranny may have never gotten a fluid change.

prop: what do you mean by flush? according to the Bentley service manual, changing the transmission fluid is as simple as opening the drain plug and the fill plug, to allow the fluid to drain. then closing the drain plug and filling new fluid from the fill plug. you know its full when it over-flows from the fill plug. thats it.

so i guess i still don't know if i should change the lifetime fluid...

spooner_dee 02-07-2006 04:35 PM

For a flush, they wont just drain and refill they will actually flush it out to get any nasty crap in their that shouldnt be, then put new fluid in so its nice and clean.

As for the life time fluid, and not knowing when yours was done, As a saftey i would change it. I bought my car a year ago, no service record, and im not sure which fluid it has, but in about 2 months im getting my tranny flushed. Id rather be safe then sorry, especially when it comes to a transmission.

So take it to a dealer or a very trusted mechanic and have them do it.

BennyL 02-07-2006 04:42 PM


is a transmission flush necessary though? it doesn't say anything about that in the Bentley manual.

spooner_dee 02-07-2006 07:43 PM

well seeing as how your car for all you know may have never had the tranny fluid changed, i would. just to be on the safe side, Over time, from gear grinding metal flakes get in the fluid and can clog your tranny filter or any of the gaps in the tranny. So to prolong tranny life a flush every now and then is a good idea.

Soldo 02-07-2006 09:47 PM

This is the biggest scam in the world!

I had to rebuild the tranny on my mom's E46, and it had the lifetime oil, but why call if LIFETIME oil if you have to replace it ever so often?

Why don't they just ****in call it "VERY LONG LIFE OIL"?

propr'one 02-07-2006 11:10 PM

How much does a tranny fluid flush cost at a decent shop?

spooner_dee 02-08-2006 10:30 AM

the last time i had one done, it was on my eclipse, which required special parts, the total was about 80-90 i think. im guessing a bmw might be about the same.

i believe the shop had it listed at about 50ish but with the special part it brought it up about 30 bucks.

Hasselhoff 02-08-2006 11:00 AM


Originally Posted by proprone
How much does a tranny fluid flush cost at a decent shop?

I dunno what a tranny flush is worth, but BMW quoted me a price of $50/L for the fluid alone!!

I've seen some recommendations on alternate fluids to use, but I don't know how comfortable I would be putting something else in there.

If anyone has any experience using a substitute for the Lifetime Fluid, please post!

Blades 02-08-2006 11:23 AM

BMW told me not to change mine because its LIFETIME .. well I dont buy it ... no fluid is lifetime. I am eventally going to change my fluid soon.

spooner_dee 02-08-2006 02:15 PM

325isred had lifetime i believe and had his fluid changed. I think he said he had no issues other then it being a bit hard to shift when its cold.

spooner_dee 02-08-2006 02:18 PM

there ya go

i suppose someone can PM 325isred and ask him what his costed

Hasselhoff 02-08-2006 02:27 PM


Originally Posted by spooner_dee

there ya go

i suppose someone can PM 325isred and ask him what his costed

Thanks Spooner!

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