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CVT Transmission Drain/Refill


Premium maintenance service plan recommended every 40,000 while standard recommended every 60,000.

To start out, drive your car around and warm it up (yes warm it up). Park it and run your shifter through all the gears (D, N, R, etc). You will want to work on the car while it's warm so be careful underneath touching metal.

The process is this. Jack up the car in front; or use rhino ramps which make this job stupid easy. Get a 10mm allen key (this is a fairly large one so it may not be on your multi-tool, I had to go out a buy a specific 10mm one from Sears) and a funnel with a narrow tip to fit in the transmission inlet. The transmission dipstick in your engine bay is the round thing sticking up next to the main engine cover, more towards the driver side of that cover. It has some stupid child-safety plastic thing on it so idiots at Jiffy Lube or whatever don't ruin your car by "topping off your transmission fluid" with standard stuff I guess.

Push in the black plastic tab with a flat head screwdriver and pull the dipstick out. Wipe it off, push it all the way back in (do it backwards so the child safety crap doesn't lock), pull it out again. Your transmission fluid should be at the second notch near the bottom; remember that. Leave the dipstick out this time.

Get an oil pan, about 4-5 quarts of liquid is going to come out so you need a decent sized receptacle to catch it. Under the car look for a big metal piece that looks like this; here's a picture of it with the drain plug removed.

Here is the drain plug you'll remove, be careful the liquid is kind of hot and comes out pretty fast!

Let it drain for about 15 minutes. Then replace the plug (don't torque it too hard, just get it nice and snug until you get a decent amount of resistance). Use a funnel and pour in the same amount of fluid you drained out of the car; you can start with 3 quarts and add .5 quarts at a time checking the dip-stick inbetween (remember, second notch). I ended up putting 4.5 quarts back in. When you're satisfied with the amount of transmission fluid showing on the dipstick, replace the dip-stick and go drive the car. Don't over do it, the car should have only released 4-5 quarts from the transmission through that drain plug.

Overall my impression is this. Car idles a little quieter, seems "smoother" to drive (as if the CVT wasn't smooth already) and I'm seeing a .5 - 1 mpg bump in my daily commute which is a nice little surprise. Definitely worth saving the few hundred bucks doing this myself instead of having the dealer do it.