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I have a 2003 Pathfinder with low miles. I am coming up on its first transmission oil change. I wanted to save some money. Some shops say it needs a flush and some say no. Any thoughts? Does the pan need to be dropped to change a filter or screen? Is this something that needs to be done in a shop? Thanks
 

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I would never get a transmission flush. As long as you change your A/T fluid and filter on a regular basis (2 years / 30,000 miles is my rule), you'll always have fairly clean fluid anyways and a flush is just a waste of money. Many sources online say flushes could damage your tranny as well.

Changing the filter is fairly simple and can be done by any DIY mechanic. The filter is inside the pan and it will need to be dropped. Make sure when you buy the filter they also give you a gasket for the tranny fluid pan as well, since that should also be replaced to prevent leaks. The basic steps are:

1. Drain the A/T fluid.
2. Take out 15 - 20 bolts and drop the pan. Rub your sore arms.
3. Clean the pan and magnet on the pan thoroughly, making sure to get out any and all grit and dust. Make sure your new gasket is the same size as the old one. If so, scrape off the old gasket from both surfaces... lip of the pan and where the pan bolted on.
4. Take off the old filter, put on the new filter.
5. Put the new gasket on the pan and bolt back on. Make sure to distribute the pressure as you bolt it on, just like you use the star pattern when tightening the lugs on your tires.
6. Take out the dipstick and fill 'er up with A/T fluid. You're filling through the dipstick neck, which is a stupidly small hole, so make sure to get a funnel with a small tip.

There ya go... you just saved $100 in labour. :D
 

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The service manual says 9 quarts / 8.5 litres. Nissan Matic D or Dexron III. It'll probably be less than that since you're not flushing the tranny out, but to be safe buy that much anyways.

I guess I assumed you have an automatic tranny; the procedure, capacities, and fluids will all be different for a manual.
 
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