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Hi Everyone.
I had finally did the transmission drain and fill on 2017 MDX.
Bad news is that the Honda/Acura ATF 3.1 fluid is still very expensive here in Canada.
Good news is that my MDX is driving SO much Better!
The shifts are quick and smooth.
It's like a driving a different vehicle.
I also did a 'reset' of the Transmission and changed to Sport mode.
Very happy with it now.
Hi Everyone.
I had finally did the transmission drain and fill on 2017 MDX.
Bad news is that the Honda/Acura ATF 3.1 fluid is still very expensive here in Canada.
Good news is that my MDX is driving SO much Better!
The shifts are quick and smooth.
It's like a driving a different vehicle.
I also did a 'reset' of the Transmission and changed to Sport mode.
Very happy with it now.
hello where did you buy the transmission fluid for 2017 mdx ? Dealer wants 75 dollars/ bottle in Canada and the plug they need to replace 3 also very expensive
 

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hello where did you buy the transmission fluid for 2017 mdx ? Dealer wants 75 dollars/ bottle in Canada and the plug they need to replace 3 also very expensive
Check with Honda and/or online dealer for price.
 

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2018 Acura MDX SH-AWD Tech
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I wouldn’t worry about replacing the fill/drain/check plugs. They have a thing clear/green flexible gasket bonded to them. The ones on my ‘18 were in like new condition. Cute thing is none of those three plugs has a magnet on it…

But the rear diff drain plug does, but the transfer case drain plug doesn’t. Both of those cases use normal washers on the plugs.
 

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Sadly most things are more expensive in Canada, but i think you know that. Also, it may just come down to if there is a strong distribution chain and oem vendor for the fluid in CA vs having to ship in from the US.

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2017 Acura MDX SH-AWD w/ Technology. Tow package, LED Fogs, Roof Rails, Door sills
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I haven't yet found an aftermarket atf that meets the requirements of zf lifeguard 9. Redline d6 is actually an alt for dw-1, not type 3.1. Amsoil has nothing. Most of the other mainstream brands also have nothing (plenty for dw-1). But that was me looking about a year ago when i was starting to plan my atf replacement before my transmission got replaced. If anything, the next place i was going to look was at Chrysler fluid alts for their version of the 9.

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You probably didn't research Valvoline Maxlife ATF. It meets or exceeds the requirements of Acura Type 3.1. I have used it in several other SUVs with great success. Just like here, the other forum members said to strictly stick with OEM fluids. I sincerely laugh at this thought process because there are fluids that meet or exceed the requirements of an OEM fluid. With a little bit of research, phone calls, and email correspondence, I am confident in using Valvoline Maxlife in my 2017 Acura MDX SH-AWD with tow. In fact, today after receiving an email and also calling Valvoline, I did a drain and fill of 3.6 qts. It takes the same amount of time as an oil change takes. I measured what came out, and that same amount went in. All you need is an 8mm hex socket or allen key,

My MDX has 32,200 miles and this is the first drain and fill with Valvoline Maxlife. I drove the MDX afterward around Seattle and it shifts just as smooth if not smoother than before.

If you believe you have to use only OEM fluids, do you stick with only Acura motor oil, Acura heavy duty brake fluid, Acura coolant, Acura Differential fluid (DPSF-II), and Acura Hypoid Gear oil........? Most owners do not all OEM fluids, so that train of thought is wrong.

When the newest model Honda Pilot came out, and the newest model Toyota Highlander came out, forum members and other owners said stick with OEM ATF.... Why I ask. Most said if you don't you stand a chance of early break downs or transmission issues, like a scare tactic without proof. I owned both the Pilot and Highlander until they were over 150,000 miles with not one transmission issue using Maxlife. Do what makes you sleep better at night, and I sleep well knowing my MDX has fluids in it that meets or exceeds the OEM requirements and is compatible with Z1, DW1, Type 3.0 and Type 3.1.
 

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You probably didn't research Valvoline Maxlife ATF. It meets or exceeds the requirements of Acura Type 3.1. I have used it in several other SUVs with great success. Just like here, the other forum members said to strictly stick with OEM fluids. I sincerely laugh at this thought process because there are fluids that meet or exceed the requirements of an OEM fluid. With a little bit of research, phone calls, and email correspondence, I am confident in using Valvoline Maxlife in my 2017 Acura MDX SH-AWD with tow. In fact, today after receiving an email and also calling Valvoline, I did a drain and fill of 3.6 qts. It takes the same amount of time as an oil change takes. I measured what came out, and that same amount went in. All you need is an 8mm hex socket or allen key,

My MDX has 32,200 miles and this is the first drain and fill with Valvoline Maxlife. I drove the MDX afterward around Seattle and it shifts just as smooth if not smoother than before.

If you believe you have to use only OEM fluids, do you stick with only Acura motor oil, Acura heavy duty brake fluid, Acura coolant, Acura Differential fluid (DPSF-II), and Acura Hypoid Gear oil........? Most owners do not all OEM fluids, so that train of thought is wrong.

When the newest model Honda Pilot came out, and the newest model Toyota Highlander came out, forum members and other owners said stick with OEM ATF.... Why I ask. Most said if you don't you stand a chance of early break downs or transmission issues, like a scare tactic without proof. I owned both the Pilot and Highlander until they were over 150,000 miles with not one transmission issue using Maxlife. Do what makes you sleep better at night, and I sleep well knowing my MDX has fluids in it that meets or exceeds the OEM requirements and is compatible with Z1, DW1, Type 3.0 and Type 3.1.
valvoline makes great products and no doubt Maxlife is a good fluid. In fact I use valvoline full synthetic 20W-50 in my mercedes SL500. However my issue is it says "suitable for use in" I couldn't find anywhere were it specifies what OEM spec's it really meets. I have no issue using non OEM fluids, do it quite often, but ONLY if they specifically state it meets the OEM specs. Example is I don't use Allison Transynd brand fluid in my duramax, I use Castrol which is specified to meet allison transynd specs. But I stay away from fluids that just say "suitable for use in"

And the maxlife spec sheet I saw in "suitable for use in" lists honda DW1 except for CVT. It doesn't list it as suitable for use in any other honda application, at least in the info I could find.

if someone could point to a valvoline document that actually states it meets Honda specs for DW1 or 3.1 I would consider using it. otherwise nope
 

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You probably didn't research Valvoline Maxlife ATF. It meets or exceeds the requirements of Acura Type 3.1. I have used it in several other SUVs with great success. Just like here, the other forum members said to strictly stick with OEM fluids. I sincerely laugh at this thought process because there are fluids that meet or exceed the requirements of an OEM fluid. With a little bit of research, phone calls, and email correspondence, I am confident in using Valvoline Maxlife in my 2017 Acura MDX SH-AWD with tow. In fact, today after receiving an email and also calling Valvoline, I did a drain and fill of 3.6 qts. It takes the same amount of time as an oil change takes. I measured what came out, and that same amount went in. All you need is an 8mm hex socket or allen key,

My MDX has 32,200 miles and this is the first drain and fill with Valvoline Maxlife. I drove the MDX afterward around Seattle and it shifts just as smooth if not smoother than before.

If you believe you have to use only OEM fluids, do you stick with only Acura motor oil, Acura heavy duty brake fluid, Acura coolant, Acura Differential fluid (DPSF-II), and Acura Hypoid Gear oil........? Most owners do not all OEM fluids, so that train of thought is wrong.

When the newest model Honda Pilot came out, and the newest model Toyota Highlander came out, forum members and other owners said stick with OEM ATF.... Why I ask. Most said if you don't you stand a chance of early break downs or transmission issues, like a scare tactic without proof. I owned both the Pilot and Highlander until they were over 150,000 miles with not one transmission issue using Maxlife. Do what makes you sleep better at night, and I sleep well knowing my MDX has fluids in it that meets or exceeds the OEM requirements and is compatible with Z1, DW1, Type 3.0 and Type 3.1.
Before you go and label me an oem only fanatic, note that I looked back in 19 as i stated in the post and back then Valvoline wouldn't provide me with a confident answer. I use plenty of aftermarket fluids in most of my cars, so I'm well aware of compatibilities. But i also had the issue that my transmission was presenting a known failure, so i didn't really want to give Honda/Acura any reason to not replace my transmission [twice].

I do plenty of monitoring with aftermarkets to see how each vehicle behaves with those "compatible" fluids, so i also know that although they meet or exceed the paper requirements, i also know they sometimes don't perform quite as well as other brands. For example, amsoil didnt play well in a jatco tranny and really preferred idemitsu or it would get clunky.

I know this is a known non diy crowd in this market but can't go stereotyping us all.

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valvoline makes great products and no doubt Maxlife is a good fluid. In fact I use valvoline full synthetic 20W-50 in my mercedes SL500. However my issue is it says "suitable for use in" I couldn't find anywhere were it specifies what OEM spec's it really meets. I have no issue using non OEM fluids, do it quite often, but ONLY if they specifically state it meets the OEM specs. Example is I don't use Allison Transynd brand fluid in my duramax, I use Castrol which is specified to meet allison transynd specs. But I stay away from fluids that just say "suitable for use in"

And the maxlife spec sheet I saw in "suitable for use in" lists honda DW1 except for CVT. It doesn't list it as suitable for use in any other honda application, at least in the info I could find.

if someone could point to a valvoline document that actually states it meets Honda specs for DW1 or 3.1 I would consider using it. otherwise nope
Totally understand. After calling Valvoline and talking with a tech, he reassured me Maxlife meets or exceeds the OEM requirements so he is sending me correspondence stating such via email. So for me, I called, waiting on email, and I have downloaded the SDS sheet to compare to OEM Acura Type 3.1. After my research I did the drain and fill today and after driving the MDX for about an hour, I am very happy with my decision. Attached is the updated Maxlife chart...Updated Oct 6, 2021.
 

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I don't wear one-size-fits-all clothing, likewise my car will not be filled with unlicensed fluids made for the "broadest range of transmissions"

I'm sure it's a great product, and it's certainly a great value compared to 3.1, but I personally don't feel comfortable gambling with my transmission to save a few bucks. To each our own and I'm sure many will be thankful to learn that there is an alternative option out there.
 

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The owner manual for a 2020 (as an example) states -

Do not mix Acura ATF-TYPE 3.1 (or higher) with other transmission fluids. Using a transmission fluid other than Acura ATF-TYPE 3.1 (or higher) may adversely affect the operation and durability of your vehicle’s transmission, and damage the transmission. Any damage caused by using a transmission fluid that is not equivalent to Acura ATF-TYPE 3.1 (or higher) is not covered by Acura’s new vehicle limited warranty.
If the tranny is still under a factory warranty why risk that warranty by using a fluid that might not comply with what the manual states just to save a few dollars on the fluid cost, which is negligible compared to the cost of a new trans? It's simply not worth the risk or the hassles/arguments in the event of an issue.

But i also had the issue that my transmission was presenting a known failure, so i didn't really want to give Honda/Acura any reason to not replace my transmission [twice].
Exactly my point.

If you believe you have to use only OEM fluids, do you stick with only Acura motor oil, Acura heavy duty brake fluid, Acura coolant, Acura Differential fluid (DPSF-II), and Acura Hypoid Gear oil........? Most owners do not all OEM fluids, so that train of thought is wrong.
I follow what the owner manual states. For some fluids it states specifically to use Acura/Honda fluids but for engine oil it doesn't - it states to use one that meets a certain spec and weight. I actually have used Acura/Honda fluids for all except for the engine oil in which case I've been using Mobile 1 0w-20. I even use an Acura oil filter.

This is different than what I've done for all the other vehicles I've had, which were less specific about the branding and more generic on the specs.

The costs of most of these fluids from Acura/Honda really isn't much and since I do all the work myself as far as fluid replacement the overall cost for me is far less than what most people pay for the service. As far as what 'most owners' do, I don't really care - that doesn't affect what I do but I don't think the implication that most owners don't use Acura/Honda fluids is necessarily correct. Most owners don't change their own fluid and a significant number of owners take the vehicles to the dealer for these services and the dealer will generally use Acura/Honda fluids and filters. I'd never trust what a kwikee lube place does as far as fluids.

I'm not saying the Valvoline trans fluid wouldn't function, just that it's not worth the potential risk in the event of a trans failure under a warranty period.
 

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maxlife is stated as suitable with Allison 295, transynd. and GM DexVI. Now here is a quandry. Dex VI is NOT compatible with early allison 1000's, it WILL result in seal failure, early 1000's require dex III or 295. 295 is completely compatible with all allison 1000's. OK will maxlife result in seal failure in an early allison 1000" If it meets the spec's for DexVI applicaitons the answer is yes. If it meets the specs for transynd the answer is NO. So which is it?
In any case I seriously doubt maxlife meets both allison 295 specs and DexVI. How many more does it NOT meet.

Oh, and even non allision fluids that meet the 295 spec are NOT inexpensive, way more expensive than maxlife.

Is maxlife a good transmission fluid? I suspect it is, and many users have had good luck with it. However when I use fluids in my vehicles I make sure they meet the mfg requirements (and aftermarket fluids are available for virtually all such instances that meet acura/honda specs, oil, brake fluid, coolant etc.) and is so stated in on the bottle. There are many transmisison fluids that meet DexVI, Transynd, etc. requirements and those are the ones I choose from, not one that just states "suitable for" or similar and then has a list that is as long as a well rope of fluids with widely disparate requirements.

Interestingly I was at a parts store today and looked at the maxlife bottle. It did NOT list honda 3.1 or Allison transynd as applications.
And looking at some other brands, many would list a fluid and "meets spec's xxxx" or "licensed by xxx" indicating OEM approval.

Is there a non honda 3.1ATF? don't know haven't bothered to check, but actually since the hybrid requires DW1 I'm not going to search, but I will ONLY use a transmission fluid that meets honda DW1 spec. Honda DW1 is pretty reasonably priced so I haven't looked for alternatives.
 

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I don't wear one-size-fits-all clothing, likewise my car will not be filled with unlicensed fluids made for the "broadest range of transmissions"

I'm sure it's a great product, and it's certainly a great value compared to 3.1, but I personally don't feel comfortable gambling with my transmission to save a few bucks. To each our own and I'm sure many will be thankful to learn that there is an alternative option out there.
It is an alternative option that works well with this application, no doubt about that. I question those (not in a negative manner) that are overly critical about what they read but then use Mobil 1, Pennzoil, Quaker State, etc in their engine... I can't think of one aftermarket fluid specifically licensed as an Acura OEM product. It's like a double standard here. So many owners will do an oil change not using OEM motor oil but swear the only thing to put in the transmission is only Acura OEM ATF.

As you have stated, each their own and we will do what works best for our vehicles. We are all here to help guide each other with maintaining our vehicles so they last as long as we desire. We try to put out information that will assist owners and we also are not shy to correct misleading information. It's a forum and we all want to learn from other's experiences. In this case, owners can use Acura Type 3.1 ATF and/or Valvoline Maxlife ATF. There are several MDX owners that have been using Maxlife ATF with no issues what so ever, and I am one of them. All to often we have received plenty of flak from other owners swearing by the owners manual recommendations but yet the same owners veer from the owners manual. Opinions are given without conducting adequate research and gathering facts prior to publishing their opinion.

Also worthy of noting... if you changed your transmission fluid in your MDX then you are guilty of not following the owners manual as stated on page 479. It sternly states "Do not attempt to check or change the automatic transmission fluid yourself." There are so many risks performing this task yet many have done it. "Do not" doesn't give us much choice. Yet many of us feel we can do this on our own..... and many of us MDX owners have successfully accomplish this task since it is as easy as changing the engine oil and filter.

If DIYers read the Automatic Transmission Fluid section in their owners manual, they will read a transmission NOTICE that has a "MAY" in the statement.
"Using a transmission fluid other than Acura ATF-TYPE 3.1 (or higher) may adversely affect the operation and durability of your vehicle’s transmission, and damage the transmission. Any damage caused by using a transmission fluid that is not equivalent to Acura ATF-TYPE 3.1 (or higher) is not covered by Acura’s new vehicle limited warranty."

Since Valvoline Maxlife synthetic ATF is equivalent, compatible, and meets or exceeds Acura Type 3.1, I am here to provide my experience with Maxlife and how it is working perfectly in my 2017 Acura MDX SH-AWD.

We "may" have to agree to disagree on this one. Bottom line, we all have a choice to conduct any maintenance procedures we wish to tackle. There are laws that prohibit the dealerships from denying any warranty coverage by using an aftermarket fluid that is equivalent to the OEM specification, it doesn't have to be OEM licensed. As long as you keep a journal and receipts for the maintenance you are performing, rest assured you'll be covered.
 

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Since Valvoline Maxlife synthetic ATF is equivalent, compatible, and meets or exceeds Acura Type 3.1, I am here to provide my experience with Maxlife and how it is working perfectly in my 2017 Acura MDX SH-AWD.
where does valvoline state the maxlife is equivalent to and meets or exceeds acura type 3.1? all I can find is "suitable for use in" I wish valvoline would state what transmission fluid requirements it meets, it is a good fluid for many applications . Many other ATF mfg will state specifically what spec's it meets and/or is licensed for. I wish valvoline would do so as well, if it meets the stds, it would put a lot of "piece of mind"

Interestingly the bottles at the store only show honda/acura DW1 on the back, although the valvoline web page has a much longer list of "suitable for use in" which includes the 3.1 fluid.
 

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I question those (not in a negative manner) that are overly critical about what they read but then use Mobil 1, Pennzoil, Quaker State, etc in their engine... I can't think of one aftermarket fluid specifically licensed as an Acura OEM product. It's like a double standard here. So many owners will do an oil change not using OEM motor oil but swear the only thing to put in the transmission is only Acura OEM ATF.
It's not a double standard at all. There's a difference in what the manual states for the engine oil versus the tranny and in reality tranny fluid type is much more critical and specific to the particular tranny design than engine oil type since transmissions are designed to work with very specific fluids and engines are less sensitive in this area. This has always been the case - example: you could always use the same spec engine oil in a Chevy and Ford but the tranny fluids have traditionally had very different specs and using the wrong one could damage the tranny.

Read the wording on the engine oil versus the tranny fluid and you'll see there's a difference.

Also worthy of noting... if you changed your transmission fluid in your MDX then you are guilty of not following the owners manual as stated on page 479. It sternly states "Do not attempt to check or change the automatic transmission fluid yourself." There are so many risks performing this task yet many have done it. "Do not" doesn't give us much choice. Yet many of us feel we can do this on our own..... and many of us MDX owners have successfully accomplish this task since it is as easy as changing the engine oil and filter.
I have a 2014 - different tranny than the 9 speed and much more user friendly for fluid changes.

I don't get the zeal for this particular Valvoline fluid but if you like it and it works for you then that's great - and there's nothing wrong with sharing your experiences and opinions on it here - but obviously some of us have some different perspectives, including the potential warranty implications point.
 

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I do understand peoples apprehension of using something other than Acura recommended fluids. Warranty is assurance things will be fixed to new condition. I too would hate for something not to be covered out of negligence. First Acura would have to prove the fluid does not meet the requirements, then they would have to determine if the aftermarket fluid caused the failure. If for some reason they deny the warranting the failure, Valvoline has coverage as well.

Trust me, I am on a trial period of using Maxlife in my MDX. So far, the results are excellent after a few hundred miles. If there are no issues, at my next oil change, I will do another drain and fill of Maxlife. If things go south, I will not hesitate to contact Valvoline, write a letter to them, and immediately change to Type 3.1. I won't boast of any success, nor will I hold failure to myself. Like everyone here, I want to keep every aspect of my warranty in tact.
 

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Possibly the wide range of vehicles that can use Valvoline Maxlife is because like our MDX that uses the ZF-9HP transmission, there are other manufacturers using the ZF-9HP transmission. For example, our ZF-9HP transmission is also used in the following vehicles:
Acura TLX
Acura MDX
Chrysler 200
Chrysler Pacifica (2017– gas versions only)
Fiat Doblò
Fiat 500X
Honda Pilot
Honda Odyssey
Honda Passport
Jeep Cherokee (KL)
Jeep Renegade
Ram ProMaster City
Range Rover Evoque
Land Rover Discovery Sport
Jaguar E-Pace

After researching these vehicles, I looked at their "recommended", "only use" transmission fluid. Example, Chrysler only wants you to use MOPAR, "Use only MOPAR® ZF 8&9 Speed ATF™Automatic Transmission Fluid or equivalent. Failure to use the correct fluid may affect the function or performance of your transmission." So many different fluids for the ZF9HP48. The Range Rover says to use Esso ATF LT 71141.

I definitely am not a transmission guru. If this same transmission is used in different vehicles that would explain the wide range of "compatibility". Since I am not a transmission guru, anyone know why there is such a wide range of manufacturers calling for their specific fluid to be used in the ZF9HP48....are there other internal components specifically made by each auto manufacturer?
 
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