How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Alex Your Own Question
Alex, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 1161
Experience:  ASE Certified Master Technician, L1 Advanced Level Specialist
Type Your Ford Question Here...
Alex is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a 2007 Ford Fusion SE 4 Cyl with about 87K Miles. I

Customer Question

I have a 2007 Ford Fusion SE 4 Cyl with about 87K Miles. I checked my Transmission fluid the other day and noticed it is very dark brown boarderline black and smells a little burnt. Shifting into some gears if I do not really baby it shift hard; as im sure this is the cause. The fluid level is also a little higher then Ford says it should be on the dipstick. My questions is what should I do? I have read so much online saying change it, flush it, do nothing about it your tranny is toast! If you think to bring it into a shop, how should I present the case as to not make my situation worse, like having them put new fluid in and it ruins my tranny?

To give you some history, I bought this car Aug '08 from a dealer with about 63K Miles on it. No clue if the previous owner did any tranny work on it whatsoever. I don't believe it were black from the day I bought it, so not sure if this will help you.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Alex replied 6 years ago.
Hello. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'll be assisting you with your question.

I would recommend flushing the transmission and changing the fluid filter before the fluid condition makes the problems worse. Make sure the shop uses the correct type of transmission fluid for your vehicle. Here is the information about transmission fluid for this vehicle. The 5 speed and 6 speed automatics take different fluid that are not interchangeable.

Check Fluid Level and Condition

CAUTION: The vehicle should not be driven if the fluid level indicator shows the fluid below the minimum fluid level mark or internal failure could result.

If the vehicle has been operated for an extended period of time at highway speeds, in city traffic, in hot weather or while pulling a trailer, the fluid needs to cool down to obtain an accurate reading.

The fluid level reading on the fluid level indicator will differ depending on operating and ambient temperatures. The correct reading should be within the normal operating temperature range.

Fluid Level Check

NOTE: The transmission fluid should be checked at normal operating temperature 60°C-70°C (140°F-158°F) on a level surface. Normal operating temperature can be reached after approximately 32 km (20 miles) of driving and can be checked using the scan tool.

Under normal circumstances the fluid level should be checked during normal maintenance. If the transaxle starts to slip, shifts slowly or shows signs of fluid leaking, the fluid level should be checked.

  1. With the transaxle in PARK, the engine at idle, foot pressed on the brake, move the selector lever through each gear and allow engagement of each gear. Place the selector lever in the PARK position.
  2. Wipe the fluid level indicator cap and remove the fluid level indicator.
  3. Wipe the fluid level indicator with a clean cloth.
  4. Install the fluid level indicator back in the fluid indicator tube until it is fully seated, then remove the indicator. The fluid level should be within the normal operating range.

High Fluid Level
A fluid level that is too high may cause the fluid to become aerated due to the churning action of the rotating internal parts. This will cause erratic control pressure, foaming, loss of fluid from the vent tube and possible transaxle malfunction and/or damage. If an overfill reading is indicated.

Low Fluid Level
A low fluid level could result in poor transaxle engagement, slipping, malfunction and/or damage. This could also indicate a leak in one of the transaxle seals or gaskets.

Adding Fluid

CAUTION: MERCON "(R)", MERCON "(R)" V, MERCON "(R)" SP, Motorcraft Premium Automatic Transmission Fluid, Motorcraft Continuously Variable Chain Type Transmission Fluid and FNR5 Automatic Transmission Fluid are not interchangeable transmission fluids. The use of any fluid other than what is recommended for this transmission will cause transmission damage.

If fluid needs to be added, add fluid in 0.25L (1/2 pint) increments through the indicator tube. Do not overfill the fluid.

Fluid Condition Check
  1. Check the fluid level.
  2. Observe the color and the odor. The color under normal circumstances should be a dark red color, not brown or black or have a burnt odor.
  3. Hold the fluid level indicator over a white facial tissue and allow the fluid to drip onto the facial tissue and examine the stain.
  4. If evidence of solid material is found, the transmission fluid pan should be removed for further inspection.
  5. If the stain is a foamy pink color this may indicate coolant in the transaxle. The engine cooling system should also be inspected at this time.
  6. If fluid contamination or transaxle failure is confirmed by the sediment in the bottom of the fluid pan, install a new transaxle. If installing a new transaxle, the cooler bypass valve and cooler tubes should be cleaned.
  7. If the transaxle is to be overhauled or if installing a new transaxle, install a new transmission fluid cooler.

Transmission Fluid Type

5-SPEED Motorcraft FNR5 Automatic Transmission Fluid

Ford P/N XT-9-QMM5 MAZDA V (S)
6-SPEED Motorcraft Premium Automatic Transmission Fluid
Ford P/N XT-8-QAW WSS-M2C924-A
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I would like to know if you have heard of any issues with someone having their fusion, or other cars flushed and after a few months the tranny is toast? I have read a few sites which say do not change the fluid if it is dark, save your money a big repair is coming. Would you agree or dissagree? I just don't want to have the fluid changed and for it to only make it worse. One site said something about the old fluid helps lubricate the tranny if there are particles in it?
Expert:  Alex replied 6 years ago.
If the transmission has been run to the point where there is lots of sludge or loose metal it could potentially cause problems by flushing it. However, if it hasn't been driven to that point yet, you could save the transmission by flushing it.

If you're worried about causing further problems, you may just want to do a transmission service and not a flush. This included removing the transmission pan and changing the transmission fluid filter. When you remove the pan you drain about 25% of the transmission's fluid capacity. This is not likely to damage the transmission because there is no pressure of a flush machine forcing debris loose that can potentially restrict passages in the transmission. Here's how to service the transmission. It doesn't actually say, but you replace the filter with the pan off:


Fluid Pan, Gasket and Filter



  1. With the vehicle in NEUTRAL, position it on a hoist.
  2. Remove the drain plug and allow the transmission fluid to drain.

  1. Install the drain plug.
    • Tighten to 29 Nm (21 ft. lbs.) .

  1. Remove the transaxle fluid pan.
    • Remove the bolts.
    • Using a suitable tool, separate the bead of sealer.

  1. Clean the silicone from the transaxle fluid pan and transaxle case surfaces thoroughly with metal surface cleaner.


  1. NOTE: Do not use more than the specified amount of sealer on the pan or internal transaxle damage could occur.

Apply a bead 1-1/2 millimeters thick of sealer to the transaxle on the fluid pan sealing surface.

  1. Install the transaxle fluid pan.
    • Tighten to 7 Nm (62 inch lbs.) .

  1. Fill the transaxle with clean automatic transmission fluid.