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2011 Frontier V6. Just turned 100K mi. The transmissions has always shifted great, but per recommendations I decided to do a transmission drain and fill. I pulled the dipstick for the first time ever just to check the condition of the existing fluid before I drained it, and I was shocked to see that the existing fluid was completely clear. No hint that the engine had ever been started. At first I thought the level was low and there was nothing on the dipstick, but then I realized it was indeed full, just crystal clear. My first question is: is Nissan transmission fluid clear out of the bottle? (every other transmission fluid I have ever seen has some tint to it, even when fresh out of the bottle). If not, why is mine? Question 2: should I change the fluid anyway? Sure seems that if I'm not having any issues, and the fluid is clear, why bother. What say you, sages of the Frontier world?
 

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2011 Frontier V6. Just turned 100K mi. The transmissions has always shifted great, but per recommendations I decided to do a transmission drain and fill. I pulled the dipstick for the first time ever just to check the condition of the existing fluid before I drained it, and I was shocked to see that the existing fluid was completely clear. No hint that the engine had ever been started. At first I thought the level was low and there was nothing on the dipstick, but then I realized it was indeed full, just crystal clear. My first question is: is Nissan transmission fluid clear out of the bottle? (every other transmission fluid I have ever seen has some tint to it, even when fresh out of the bottle). If not, why is mine? Question 2: should I change the fluid anyway? Sure seems that if I'm not having any issues, and the fluid is clear, why bother. What say you, sages of the Frontier world?
First time I dipped mine I could not see the fluid either, wiped dip stick on some tissue it does have a pinkish red tint. Personally I wouldn't change it.
 

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2011 Frontier V6. Just turned 100K mi. The transmissions has always shifted great, but per recommendations I decided to do a transmission drain and fill. I pulled the dipstick for the first time ever just to check the condition of the existing fluid before I drained it, and I was shocked to see that the existing fluid was completely clear. No hint that the engine had ever been started. At first I thought the level was low and there was nothing on the dipstick, but then I realized it was indeed full, just crystal clear. My first question is: is Nissan transmission fluid clear out of the bottle? (every other transmission fluid I have ever seen has some tint to it, even when fresh out of the bottle). If not, why is mine? Question 2: should I change the fluid anyway? Sure seems that if I'm not having any issues, and the fluid is clear, why bother. What say you, sages of the Frontier world?
Did you own this truck since new. wipe the dipstick on a white paper towel. ATF should be red. Though it is generally an added die, almost all ATF is colored.
 

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Now I am curious too... mine looks very clear as well, 2005 LE, transmission shifts perfectly, did the radiator bypass just to have some peace of mind, I am on the SW border in Texas, we rarely see freezing temperatures here.
 

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At 100k miles your transmission needs to be replace. The dipstick reading can be misleading. The attached photo if from my Maxima CVT dipstick before drain and fill. It looks mostly clear with a hint of green color. But the drain resulted in a coal black spent CVT fluid. The dipstick was misleading.
 

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At 100k miles your transmission needs to be replace. The dipstick reading can be misleading. The attached photo if from my Maxima CVT dipstick before drain and fill. It looks mostly clear with a hint of green color. But the drain resulted in a coal black spent CVT fluid. The dipstick was misleading.
Yep I did a drain and fill at 25k miles; fluid was dark red and a little cloudy. New fluid is light red and clear.
 

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changing all lubricants is just smart! i dumped all OE lubes in my preowned 11 SV 6 spd manual with about 30 thou on them for real synthetic Redline + netted 3 mpg!! + peace of mind
 

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My 2017 P4X factory fill was very light red, almost clear on the dipstick too.

From my experience I would change it, while dirty fluid may help the clutches grab a little better it can do harm as well as good. If you want there is youtube videos to flush the old fluid out via the cooler return...did it on mine this past weekend.
 

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At 100k miles your transmission needs to be replace.
Did you mean transmission fluid? Betting so.

Yes, at just 100k miles I'd definitely begin keeping up on at least drain&fills on a regular basis to keep things fresher.
If you had 150k, then I'd be more hesitant.
If 200k, pretty sure I'd leave it alone.
 

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Did you mean transmission fluid? Betting so.

Yes, at just 100k miles I'd definitely begin keeping up on at least drain&fills on a regular basis to keep things fresher.
If you had 150k, then I'd be more hesitant.
If 200k, pretty sure I'd leave it alone.
Yep, a typo.
 

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I think even with high mileage drain and fill is probably fine since your leaving 2/3 of the old in. Definitely no flush. I’m sure there are high mileage frontiers (greater than 150k) that have never had trans fluid changed.
 

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It’s been mentioned in the replies, but to drive it home, the Nissan fluid looks clear on the dipstick, but when I drained mine the first time it was quite dark. Which if you do some reading around, is seen as normal for the Nissan fluid.
 

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It’s been mentioned in the replies, but to drive it home, the Nissan fluid looks clear on the dipstick, but when I drained mine the first time it was quite dark. Which if you do some reading around, is seen as normal for the Nissan fluid.
Well that's because of good ol' density. The metal particles, dirt, water ect is has greater density than the nice thin oil made for transmissions. All that junk can get suspended in the fluid, but is unlikely to go where the dipstick reads. Many manuals state something about checking transmissions when warm because the fluid needs to get pumped up to where it reads, and warmed up/mixed to give an idea on the condition of the fluid.

So in essence when the transmission is not in use/sitting the crap will separate out and settle on the bottom, you get most of the really bad junk out on the first drain and fill, and everything else is going to eventually settle again. This is why some will do one drain and fill, and then drive 3-4k miles and then do another. I know people are of the opinion of "you can't get all of the old junk out" of a transmission but the truth is your getting out the stuff that actually matters. Due to the changes in density of the older fluid compared to newer fluid, the only stuff that tends to stay is stuff that is "stuck" to passages and valves kinda like cholesterol in the blood vessels. [I know this isn't how it actually works, but it makes a good way to explain it]
 

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Well that's because of good ol' density. The metal particles, dirt, water ect is has greater density than the nice thin oil made for transmissions. All that junk can get suspended in the fluid, but is unlikely to go where the dipstick reads. Many manuals state something about checking transmissions when warm because the fluid needs to get pumped up to where it reads, and warmed up/mixed to give an idea on the condition of the fluid.

So in essence when the transmission is not in use/sitting the crap will separate out and settle on the bottom, you get most of the really bad junk out on the first drain and fill, and everything else is going to eventually settle again. This is why some will do one drain and fill, and then drive 3-4k miles and then do another. I know people are of the opinion of "you can't get all of the old junk out" of a transmission but the truth is your getting out the stuff that actually matters. Due to the changes in density of the older fluid compared to newer fluid, the only stuff that tends to stay is stuff that is "stuck" to passages and valves kinda like cholesterol in the blood vessels. [I know this isn't how it actually works, but it makes a good way to explain it]
So basically if it’s black on the dipstick it’s toast
 

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So basically if it’s black on the dipstick it’s toast
If it's black on the dipstick that better be the oil in your engine, and it's due for a change.

To answer your question. Most definitely yes, do not change fluid if it's at this point unless you have the resources for a new transmission. Because at this point the fluid is acting more like a friction-fluid similar to what you see in fluid controlled limited slip differentials, you replace that now and the clutch packs will have too much clearance and you'll go exactly one place with that, on the back of a wrecker.

The fluid in a transmission has 3 very important jobs. Lubricate the surfaces to minimize wear, act as hydraulic fluid to move clutch packs into and out of engagement, and it's final role is to cool the transmission.

In an engine you have oil, and water/radiator fluid. The reason for the notorious strawberry shake was because of the transmission fluids ability to cool and Nissan wanting to save money by combining radiator and transmission cooler to one unit. After thinking about it more now, I think transmission fluid may not get changed often enough even if you do a drain and fill ever 15k miles because of how much work that one fluid has to do, and this may be one of the reasons why transmissions will eventually always fail before a well maintained motor.
 

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most every vehicle made by the largest 8 manufactuerers in the world uses the radiator to cool their auto-trannies, so it's not a nissan thing. Also drain and fill is a waste of time if your not removing the pan and cleaning the magnets and particulates in the bottom of the pan.
 

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most every vehicle made by the largest 8 manufactuerers in the world uses the radiator to cool their auto-trannies, so it's not a nissan thing. Also drain and fill is a waste of time if your not removing the pan and cleaning the magnets and particulates in the bottom of the pan.
Isn’t that’s what the magnets are for to keep the material confined to the pan ?
 

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most every vehicle made by the largest 8 manufactuerers in the world uses the radiator to cool their auto-trannies, so it's not a nissan thing. Also drain and fill is a waste of time if your not removing the pan and cleaning the magnets and particulates in the bottom of the pan.
I know that many automakers do that, and Most have stopped doing it due to the same inherent design flaw, or they have had the radiator transmission cooler combo designed in a way to prevent that. Nissan isn't the only manufacture that had the "Strawberry Shake" GM had quite the issue with it as well for a couple of years. Removing the pan for the transmission isn't needed every time you do a change. Lets say I did a drain and fill at 30,000 miles and then every 15,000 miles after that. I would reasonably check the pan at the 75,000-90,000 mark but even that may be unneeded but I won't know till I check..
 
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