Metric Wrench’s BMW, Mercedes and Audi Blog featuring all of the latest information from around the automotive industry, the latest industry news, view expert opinions, or just join discussions about your BMW, Mercedes or Audi with other enthusiasts from around the world.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Is Volkswagen’s “Lifetime” Automatic Transmission System an Urban Legend?

Is Volkswagen’s “Lifetime” Automatic Transmission System an Urban Legend? Truth or Fiction? Lets take a look at it and see. We’ll begin with the definition of “lifetime”, the lifetime of the owner, the lifetime of the vehicle, the lifetime of the transmission or the lifetime of the manufactures warranty.

Urban legend? Perhaps, the truth is that at Metric Wrench it has been our experience that life of these fluids (which are very good) is directly related to how the vehicle is driven. While modern synthetic fluid protects better and lasts longer than competing oils, unfortunately it does not last forever. In researching out the facts we’ve learned that legally, the term 'lifetime fluid' refers only to the duration of the VW Powertrain Warranty. So when the warranty expires, you're out of luck.

Volkswagen, along with many other auto-manufacturers, knows that most owners don't keep their vehicles past 100,000 miles. The so-called 'lifetime' fluid is simply a marketing twist used to help sell cars that require 'minimal maintenance.' But after the 100,000 mile mark (when vehicles need real attention) most Volkswagen repair guarantees are null and void. That's why VW schedules a 105,000 mile timing belt change on 1.8T engines, and why most 'lifetime' guarantees are considered urban legends!

If you intend to keep your car for a while, the cost of never-replaced ATF can give you nightmares. Left untouched for an entire 'lifetime' this fluid can cause serious damage to your transmission. Deposits of metallic shavings will build up on your filter and oil pan, and ultimately damage the transmission. And the repair costs can be enormous! So do yourself a favor, for City driving, the technicians at Metric Wrench recommend transmission service at 75-100k. Constant highway use, it will last a long time. A side note, it's hard to tell the condition of the fluid until it is being drained. You should also know that this type of fluid is also used in Mercedes, Audi and BMW.

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