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Super mechanic
Super mechanic, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Saturn
Satisfied Customers: 17219
Experience:  ASE Master tech, 30 years experience
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I would like to know how to change or add transmission fluid

Customer Question

I would like to know how to change or add transmission fluid to a 2003 saturn vue
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Saturn
Expert:  Super mechanic replied 7 years ago.

Hello and welcome to Just, Super mechanic here. About your vehicle.



The 5 speed automatic trans has a dipstick for checking the fluid. The VTI does not. Let me give you both.


5 Speed


CAUTION: Make sure vehicle is properly supported and squarely positioned on the hoist. to help avoid personal injury when a vehicle is on a hoist, provide additional support for the vehicle on the opposite end from which components are being removed.


  1. Raise and Support the vehicle.






  1. Remove drain plug and drain fluid. Allow at least 5 minutes for fluid to drain completely.
  2. Remove gasket from drain plug and discard.


  1. Install a new gasket onto drain plug.
  2. Install drain plug.
    • Tighten Drain Plug to 40 Nm (30 ft. lbs.)
  1. Lower vehicle. NOTICE: Saturn automatic transaxle fluid (ATF), P/N 21005966 and P/N 21019223, is not compatible with this transaxle. If Saturn ATF is used, transaxle damage will result. This transaxle uses Saturn T-IV fluid P/N 22689186. Notice: Do not remove the 3rd gear anchor bolt located on top of the transaxie for checking or adding transaxle fluid. Removing this bolt will dislocate internal components and require the transaxle to be removed from the vehicle and disassembled for repair.
  2. Add approximately 4.06 L (4.29 qt) of Saturn T-IV fluidto unit.
  3. Make sure vehicle is on level ground. Important: If the check is necessary at a low oil temperature of 30°- 40°(86°- 104°F) , perform check using the COLD range on the level gauge. However, the fluid must be re-checked at the proper fluid temperature.
  4. Start engine and operate vehicle wnitl transaxle fluid temperature reaches 60°-70°C (140°- 158°F) .
  5. Apply parking brake.
  6. Depress brake pedal and move shift lever slowly through all gear ranges from P (Park) to L (Low), pausing for about 3 seconds in each range. Return shift lever to P (Park) range at idle condition.
  7. Push retaining clip back and pull level gauge out, wipe off fluid with a clean cloth and reinsert.





Pull level gauge out again and check if fluid level is within the HOT range.









  1. If fluid is not within the correct level, adjust accordingly:
    • If fluid is below the HOT range, add enough to bring it up to the correct level.
    • If fluid is above HOT range, drain excess fluid.




VT25-E (M16/M75) VTi Variable Transmission


Transmission Fluid Replacement







  • Raise and support the vehicle.
  • Place a drain pan under the transmission.
  • Remove the lower tube assembly drain plug.








    1. Remove the lower tube assembly from the transmission. Allow the fluid to completely drain. Notice: Refer to Fastener Notice in Cautions and Notices.
    2. Install the lower tube assembly into the transmission.
      • Tighten the assembly to 20 Nm (15 ft. lbs.) .







    1. Temporarily install the original lower tube plug. Do not tighten.
    2. Lower the vehicle. Important: Do not use ATF P/N 21005966 or P/N 21019223. These fluids are not compatible with this transmission.
    3. Add approximately 6.0-6.5 liters (6-7 qts) of Saturn DEX-CVT(R) Fluid P/N 22688912 to the transmission.
    4. Install a scan tool.
    5. With the vehicle on a flat and level surface, start the vehicle.
    6. Circulate the fluid through the transmission using the following procedure:

    11.1.With the brake applied, shift the transmission from the PARK (P) to REVERSE (R) for 10 seconds.
    11.2.Shift the transmission to DRIVE (D) for 10 seconds.
    11.3.Shift the transmission to PARK (P), allowing the engine to remain running.

    1. Raise and support the vehicle.
    2. Remove the lower tube assembly drain plug and discard.
    3. Perform the following procedure to assure proper fluid level:
      • If the fluid drains down at a steady stream from the opening, allow the fluid to drain until it stops.
      • If no fluid or a very small amount of fluid drains, add fluid to the transmission until a steady stream starts to drain. Stop adding fluid immediately. Allow the fluid to drain until it stops,
    1. Install a new lower tube assembly plug and clean any excess fluid from the transmission.
      • Tighten the plug to 11 Nm (97 inch lbs.) .
    1. Lower the vehicle. Important: Do not remove the lower tube assembly drain plug.
    2. With the scan tool, record the TRANS FLUID TEMP.
      • If the TRANS FLUID TEMP is 20°C (68°F) or less, add 0.47 liter (0.5 qt) of fluid to the transmission.
      • If the TRANS FLUID TEMP is 40°C (104°F) , add 0.71 liter (0.75 qt) of fluid to the transmission.
      • If the TRANS FLUID TEMP is 60°C (140°F) , add 0.95 liter (1.0 qt) of fluid to the transmission.
      • If the TRANS FLUID TEMP is 80°C (176°F) , add 1.2 liter (1.25 qt) of fluid to the transmission.
    1. Turn OFF the ignition.
    2. Add Saturn DEX-CVT additive P/N 22697447 to the transmission using the provided applicator. Inject the entire contents into the transmission.


    Super mechanic and 2 other Saturn Specialists are ready to help you
    Customer: replied 7 years ago.
    Will all the fluid drain out with out running the car and shifting the transmission from D to R?, Where do I put the fluid in? Where do I put the scan tool. Will all the fluid run out when I remove the old tube assembly drain plug? Is there a picture that will show how to put the fluid in, and how the scan tool works?
    Customer: replied 7 years ago.
    Why won't anyone answer my question, it is part of what I asked you before. You have never explained where you add the oil
    Expert:  Super mechanic replied 7 years ago.

    Sorry, I was at chruch today. On the VTI, (without a dipstick) The fluid gets pumped into the lower fill tube.






    Remove the plug from the center of the fluid fill lower tube. The fluid fill lower tube is located on the bottom of the unit.




    The scan tool hooks to the diagnostic connector in the car

    .Driver side, below the dash. DLC, looks like this

















    Customer: replied 7 years ago.
    Thank you so much, now if you could just come and fix it. We should have been in church, and not playing with the car!
    Expert:  Super mechanic replied 7 years ago.
    Your welcome and come again, anytime, thanks.