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Discussion Starter #1
Hey-
I'm new to this forum. My wife has a 2003 Altima 2.5 5 speed.

It has 18,000 miles on it and is due for "Nissan Scheduled Maintenance".
I have some questions about this:
Does scheduled maint. have to be done by the dealer? Can I do it myself, or will I void the warranty?
That leads to my next questions-
What do they actually perform on the 18K maint?

Finally-
Does the Altima come from the factory with synthetic or standard oil?

I tried search, but being new I may not have used it correctly or to its full capability.
I do all my own work on my 95 Jetta 2.0, so I'm probably capable of doing the Nissan work.

Thanks!! :thumbup:
 

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Most people don't do follow the sched. maint plan. I don't, I just change the oil when it comes time (standard from the factory by the way) and follow industry standards for other lubricants, replacements, etc.

I personally feel that while it would keep your car in tip top shape, dealerships try to take your money on these things. You can do just as well on your own without getting the tranny fluid changed when they recommend it, which is about 20K miles or so early if I remember right.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mark said:
Most people don't do follow the sched. maint plan. I don't, I just change the oil when it comes time (standard from the factory by the way) and follow industry standards for other lubricants, replacements, etc.

I personally feel that while it would keep your car in tip top shape, dealerships try to take your money on these things. You can do just as well on your own without getting the tranny fluid changed when they recommend it, which is about 20K miles or so early if I remember right.
Thanks.
I also called the stealership, expecting to get a long dissertation regarding warranty issues, special tools, etc.etc.
Surprisingly, he told me that the warranty is not voided by lack of scheduled maintenance. Also said to look right in the owners manual for what they do.

I haven't looked yet, but i'm going to change oil, filter, air filter, plugs.

I have a 5 speed, is the trans oil hard to change?
 

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I wouldn't change the plugs or the transmission fluid for a while.

Probably about 40k for both.
 

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In new transmissions and differentials, you get a fair amount of initial wear ... and then those bits swim in the oil and cause even more wear over time.

If you want to maintain your ride to the hilt, it's best to change these oft-neglected fluids out around the 8,000-12,000 mile mark and then refill with fresh (and proper!) fluids and use the manufacturer's drain guidelines from that point forward.

I even did this for the little differential in the front of my new Ariens snowblower. ;) I couldn't believe how much silvery bits were in that oil ... despite having only about 7-8 hours of run time on it. I'm glad I drained it. I think they consider that stuff to be a lifetime fill requiring only periodic topping off. :rolleyes:

Changing manual tranny oil is pretty straightforward. The difficulty is finding the drain and check/fill plugs. My 6-speed is probably different than your wife's 5-speed but the plugs were both recessed 10mm allen-keys. The drain plug will be at the bottom of the tranny. The check/fill plug will be about 6"-8" above it and might be forward of the drain

They can be tough to get out. Consider putting a long-handled wrench on the 10mm allen key for more leverage. And be sure to remove the top plug before removing the bottom. No sense in draining your oil if you can't refill it. ;)

Filling requires a 2'-3' piece of thin (3/8" or 1/2") tubing attached (duct-taped) to a funnel ... and a lot of patience. ;)

I use Specialty Formulations MTL-P in my 6-speed's notoriously finicky tranny:

http://www.specialtyformulations.com/index_files/page625.htm

It's the best stuff so far. Better than factory fluid, better than a mix of Red Line MTL & MT-90.
 

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Bror Jace said:
In new transmissions and differentials, you get a fair amount of initial wear ... and then those bits swim in the oil and cause even more wear over time.

If you want to maintain your ride to the hilt, it's best to change these oft-neglected fluids out around the 8,000-12,000 mile mark and then refill with fresh (and proper!) fluids and use the manufacturer's drain guidelines from that point forward.

I even did this for the little differential in the front of my new Ariens snowblower. ;) I couldn't believe how much silvery bits were in that oil ... despite having only about 7-8 hours of run time on it. I'm glad I drained it. I think they consider that stuff to be a lifetime fill requiring only periodic topping off. :rolleyes:

Changing manual tranny oil is pretty straightforward. The difficulty is finding the drain and check/fill plugs. My 6-speed is probably different than your wife's 5-speed but the plugs were both recessed 10mm allen-keys. The drain plug will be at the bottom of the tranny. The check/fill plug will be about 6"-8" above it and might be forward of the drain

They can be tough to get out. Consider putting a long-handled wrench on the 10mm allen key for more leverage. And be sure to remove the top plug before removing the bottom. No sense in draining your oil if you can't refill it. ;)

Filling requires a 2'-3' piece of thin (3/8" or 1/2") tubing attached (duct-taped) to a funnel ... and a lot of patience. ;)

I use Specialty Formulations MTL-P in my 6-speed's notoriously finicky tranny:

http://www.specialtyformulations.com/index_files/page625.htm

It's the best stuff so far. Better than factory fluid, better than a mix of Red Line MTL & MT-90.
I stand corrected. Maybe my car was an exception, but I had my trans fluid changed at around 45K and I had the dealer inspect the fluid for contaminants. Found nothing.

Also, I've had a Ford Ranger and a CR-V, waited as long in both of those cars as well, with no problems. Not to say I saw 100k+ in them, but as of 50K miles, all clear.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Mark said:
I stand corrected. Maybe my car was an exception, but I had my trans fluid changed at around 45K and I had the dealer inspect the fluid for contaminants. Found nothing.

Also, I've had a Ford Ranger and a CR-V, waited as long in both of those cars as well, with no problems. Not to say I saw 100k+ in them, but as of 50K miles, all clear.
Mark and Bror-
Thanks for all the info. I may hold off on plugs adn tranny fluid for the time being. I'll just do the routine, easy stuff.
I haven't had any problems with this car yet, and it's still under warranty.I haven't had to do any tooling on it myself. I love working on my 95 Jetta, so when the time comes I'm sure it will be no different on the Altima. :)

BTW, every time I reply to a post, the original quote is automatically inserted in my reply. I post on the VW Vortex forums all the time, and you have to manually choose quote in your reply. It's probably something stupid, but how can disable "auto quote"?
 

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Mark, I specifically said "to the hilt" above. I'm sure plenty of manual transmissions and diffys live long, long lives without anal-retentive care. But the same could be said for people who change their oil every 3,000 miles or 3 months. Some of that is unnecessary as well.

What fails in most modern manual transmissions are the synchros and/or the clutch. Extra oil changes might help the former, but cannot help the latter.

However, if you want to put forth that little bit of extra effort, you might notice a difference after many years of use. The unit may be quieter in the long, have less vibration, etc ... hard to say. I don't think it's possible to pre-calculate the benefits of giving your machine a little extra TLC. But it doesn't hurt and it's not difficult nor expensive, really. ;)

pjam, when you reply, there are a series of boxes below the text field/box labeled "Additional Options" and you may disable your signature that way for each post.
 
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