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CERTIFIED, Auto technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 82
Experience:  A.S.E certified as Master auto Technician and Advanced Engine Performance Over 25 years experience
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1997 Pathfinder: auto transmission..transmission fluid

Customer Question

I have a 1997 Pathfinder with auto transmission and about 60K miles. Despite no having any transmission problems, I wanted to know when should I consider changing the transmission fluid. I have heard that if it's not giving any problems, I shouldn't bother changing the oil. If not, what type of transmission oil should I use? Does the 1997 Pathfinder need to have its oil pan taken out or can it be done with a pump (like some other cars)?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Nissan
Expert:  CERTIFIED replied 9 years ago.

Actually, the recommendation is quite the opposite.

Trans fluid should ONLY be changed when there are no obvious problems and no severe high mileage as a preventative measure.

If you drop the pan to drain the system, you will only drain about 25% of the total capacity of fluid because the bulk of the fluid is in the torque converter and will not drain.

The best method is the complete replacement flush system. It's not really a flush at all but a system that allows the car to pump out it's own fluid and replace every quart out with a quart in.

As far as fluid type, here is some info on that.

USA, Alaska Nissan Matic "D" Fluid



Here is a TSB on the subject also






May 15, 1998



This amended version of NTB95-055 updates information regarding the Recommendation ATF usage.

Please disregard previous NTB95-055 and NTB93-065.


IMPORTANT NOTE : Nissan Matic "D" ATF must be used in performing repairs paid by Nissan, such as warranty, service contract, or goodwill repairs. Nissan will not reimburse dealers for repairs when non-genuine Nissan Matic "D" is used.


For current and prior production Nissan vehicles, front wheel and/or rear wheel drive, only Nissan Matic "D", or other ashless petroleum based ATF, is formulated to meet the requirements of Nissan automatic transmissions and automatic transaxles. Nissan Matic "D", or other ashless petroleum based ATF, assists in ensuring transmission durability, smooth driveability, low exhaust emissions and customer satisfaction.

Only an ashless type petroleum based ATF should be used to repair Nissan vehicles because other types of ATF may contain compounds which adversely affect transmission performance. Specifically, ash will impact friction response. In addition, ATF with ash is likely to have a higher Zinc (Zn) content. Zinc will adhere to clutch linings and cause slippage, resulting in transmission damage.

For ordering procedures, please refer to the "Dealer Confidential Parts Price List".


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