Mechanics

SATURN L300 TRANSMISSION PROBLEM

2005 Saturn L300 • 38,000 miles

My Saturn 2005 L300 has a little under 38,000 miles and I have never changed the transmission fluid. Is it advisable to do so now? If so, what transmission fluid do you recommend? The manual calls for Dexron III. I have seen Dexron III and Dexron III/Saturn. Is there a difference? The transmission place I called said they were the same. Can I use Dexron VI (synthetic) instead and will it mix OK with the remaining fluid that was originally put in the car? I have read it has replaced Dexron III/Saturn on 2005 and newer Saturns. Thanks for your help.
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Billington
October 31, 2012.




You should change your transmission fluid every 30,000 miles or so especially if you drive in stop and go conditions.
The Dexron III is what you want to use and the Dexron III/Saturn is no different, probably just what Saturn does when they sell Dexron at dealerships. As for the Dexron VI you cannot use it and it will cause problems. The Dexron III is a good fluid and you are changin at what some would consider and early interval, although I don't as automatic transmisssiioon repair is very costly and the price of a fluid change every 30,000 is nothing compared to $2000.00 or more all at once. If you continue to maintain your car with these types of intervals for ALL the fluids, Anti-Freeze is a big engine killer do it every 2 years, your car will get 200,000 miles before it gives up and needs to be replaced or have major service.
You can use synthetics on the engine oil and I highly reccomend it. However you should use an oil filter made to work with synthetics. Also, don't go way over the 3000 mile oil change interval just because you use synthetic. If you are in stop and go conditions in polluted area your engine will still get the oil dirty and contaminate it and even good sythetic oill can't work well when heavily contaminated. You kind of have to start looking at the oil at 3000 miles and see how dirty it is. Change it when it starts to look dirty and also clean your oil pan very well so when you put your oil in a container you can look in the bottom of the oil drain pan and inspect for small particles of metal. You ahve to get under light or sun light to see them and they are an indicator of engine condition. None means a very healthy engine. Silver colored particles means you are heading towards needing a rebuild. Then finally a brass or copper colored metal particle means you are in need of a rebuild within the near future.
I am always glad to see someone who understnads, ""$10 in maintainence saves $2000.00 in repairs". It is a very true statement.

Thank you so much. I was getting confusing information from transmission shops and since there are no more Saturn dealers, I needed guidance! I will definitely ask them to use Dexron III when I change fluid. I was told Dexron VI would be OK - so I am very glad I asked. I do get the oil changed every 3 months regularly, even though I am usually far from 3,000 miles between visits. I am a woman, so changing the oil is left up to others, but I appreciate the advise on dirty oil. Hopefully, that is being checked for me. Thanks also for the anti-freeze advise. It doesn't get really, really cold here (California), but I do almost all stop and go in city traffic driving, so all fluids probably get a test! Thank you again. Next stop - transmission fluid change!

Tiny
Billington
Oct 31, 2012.
So sorry - I forgot to ask - Is Dexron III/Mercon OK? I think that was what was suggested to me.

Tiny
Billington
Oct 31, 2012.
Anything that says DEXRON III on it is okay. You can double check with the shop but it is simply another name for the same transmission fluid.
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Thanks again. I'm glad I found this site. It is particularly difficult finding answers regarding a car that is no longer in production and no dealerships exist - especially for a woman.

Tiny
Billington
Nov 1, 2012.
When I worked at the saturn dealers we changed the fluid every 50,000 miles as part of the maintance service intervals but by then the fluid is very dark. Because the clutch plates are fibrus meaning as they wear they release fiber material in the fluid that material travels threw out the transmission.I belive that is one of the main reasons for all the issues with the pressure control solenoids on those earlier year L model saturns. As far as the saturn fluid goes I belive it has extra additives over the regular over the counter fluids. The S model fluid from saturn was involved in a bulletin for gmc trucks with shifting issues. It said to use the saturn fluid to correct that issue because it had extra additives the normal fluid didnt.

Saturntech9
Nov 1, 2012.
I so very much appreciate all the great information I am getting from you. As you are the second tech to respond to my question (and a Saturn expret), I just wanted to reaffirm what tech 1 said. Can I use any Dexron III fluid? I'm not sure any of the transmission shops I called had the Dexron III/Saturn fluid. Is it still available and is it OK to take your own fluid to a shop if I need to go find it? All is working great on my Saturn - best car I've eve had. I assume this is just a precautionary thing I need to do like oil changes. By the way, the manual says the fluid and filter don't need changing unless (one of the conditions) you drive in heavy traffic whwere the outside temperature regularly reaches 90 or higher. I pretty much only drive around town - stop and go - and the temp in the summer goes way over 90, but obviously not in the spring, fall and winter - so not "regularly". All this tends to confuse me, but as a Saturn expert, if you say it should be done, then I will go forward. What an issue I have made of this! I just did not want to do anything to deter the great performance I am getting from my car now. You must have a lot of patience dealing with a woman driver! Thanks a bunch.

Tiny
Billington
Nov 1, 2012.
I would stick with the dex 3 thats all we put in them at the saturn and when we ran out of the saturn fluid we used the regular dex 3. Since I havent been able to get the saturn fluid anymore I have been using the castrol high mileage transmission fluid in my saturns and families saturns.

Saturntech9
Nov 2, 2012.
Thank you so much. I will most likely be contacting you with future questions. I feel very comfortable with my choice to change transmission fluid and what type to use. I love my Saturn and with your help I can find answers to any of my questions. It's nice to have my very own Saturn mechanic to talk to. You guys are hard to find! Sending much gratitude your way.

Tiny
Billington
Nov 2, 2012.
Forgot to mention always change the filter with the fluid also when you make short trips its harder on the fluid and the transmission. Only mentioned that because you mention the short trips. Yeah I satrted with saturn april of 1993 till they closed the last dealer I worked at in may of 2009.I really miss saturn it was a big part of my life for such a long time iam hear if you need me. If you ask another question and want me to answer it start the question by saying this one is for saturntech9 and they will save it for me. With the launch of our update site makes it alot harder for me to track already answered saturn questions to help out with them.

Saturntech9
Nov 2, 2012.

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