Cannot take out ATF dipstick + newbie questions

New Topics Forums General Discussion 2004 – 2009 Nissan Quest Cannot take out ATF dipstick + newbie questions

This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  markathome 5 years, 6 months ago.

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    Hi All, please bear with me for a long first post, all I want is to correctly maintain our new sporty minivan and keep it running for >100K more to come as reliably as possible:

    I just purchased a 2005 Quest SL @ 100K mi. with 5-speed A/T for $7800. I am good at DIY jobs and always want to be informed to prevent from being ripped off. Many Dealerships & “professional” places can be ignorant and careless… nothing beats knowing that you have done the right thing kind of feeling.

    Couple Important Questions:

    1) I can see the dipstick with label “use Nissan Matic K fluid only” but I cannot remove it. I really want to check the fluid level, but can’t remove it. Some say there’s a screw on the side, but I don’t see one even I look a good 12″ deep, nothing blocking it.

    2) Back to that Nissan Matic K fluid only. Is it safe to use Valvoline ATF (as they advertised being compatible)? Or the Castrol Multi-Vehicle Imports

    3) Transmission shift smoothly now, just that the Nissan dealer said fluid is VERY dark/dirty (when I went in for a pre-purchase check), they didn’t mention about fluid level; granted the nice way it shifts now, I imagine it’s pretty close to perfect). My plan is to use 10mm hex to open the plug to drain about 3qt. at a time.

    I want to make sure my nice A/T can slowly get used to the new friction and keep some good old stuff there. People ended up breaking their A/T without changing the fluid often enough, or suddenly changing out all the needed old stuff.

    Am I over-thinking it with either of below plan?
    Plan A: Do 1 drain/week for 3 weeks in a row.
    Plan B: Do 2 drains back-to-back (within couple minutes of shifting and waiting) and wait for a week to do the same.

    4) Just being paranoid, most power steering fluid can be replaced with just ATF. Our user manual says “Recommended fluid is Genuine NISSAN PSF or equivalent.” Has anyone tried Prestone Power Steering Fluid (red bottle that says help prevent squeaks). I am attacted by their claim about prevent oxidation, etc. “Formulated for use in GM, Ford and Chrysler vehicles and in most foreign cars and light trucks”



    the plastic cap has a lock tab. insert a screw driver in to the hole to push-in the lock tab.



    Thanks for your tips. Totally appreciated!

    If you were me sitting at 100Kmi. Would you or have any of you used Royal Purple Max ATF ($14.39/qt at Amazon) instead of OEM Nissan Matic-K fluid $8.57/qt at

    I am not trying to be cheap here, but I’m think of what’s the best way to maintain/extend my transmission’s life. Reason I ask is I had 2 bad experience with previous used car that I owned 1 – 2 yrs that had tranny failure at 155K (’97 Audi A8) & 142K (’02 Mazda MPV that yr. model came with Ford tranny)… So since my Quest is still at a good shape, I want to do it right and do it better. But I’m worry about putting Synthetic might mean cleaning up too much internal dirt / worn pieces around and ending up screwing up the tranny.

    Doing it right by default usually is to just replace with the factory fluid… curious to see if people experience better fuel mileage or performance or even higher mileage Quest drivers here using something not factory.



    Just wanna post an update to my own ATF drain & fill effort. I ended up ordering $119 / 12qt. geniune Nissan Matic-K on eBay. I really was tempted to use Royal Pureple I found a deal on eBay for $128 / 12qt. Used around 3.25 qt. on each drain & fill.

    We drove about 2000mi. after the 1st drain and fill in 2 weeks (some Easter & spring break trips). Proud to say that it’s still shifting very smoothly. And I just finished my 2nd drain & fill today. If anything, I’ll be paying some more attention to see if it’ll improve my gas mileage any bit… since cleaner fluid may restore my tranny running right viscosity of ATF etc. compared to pretty dark fluid before.

    We got a whopping 23.5 MPG on our long weekend trip from North Carolina to Florida (driving 75-85mph on hwy).
    — half full synthetic Quaker State and half Valvoline NextGen & Purolator PureONE filter.
    — Using K&N filter
    — Cleaned MAF Sensor
    — I purposely pumped to +1 psi to OEM spec, so 36psi (TPMS shows 38psi when it’s warmed up)

    The only thing that pisses me off is my Power Liftgate — it always plays “hard to get” when warm. On some colder day / evening, it opens and closes in 1 click of a button or 1 lift at handle from outside… but most other days I MUST give it a little ELSE it won’t open/close. Anyone knows what’s the fix? Need to grease it up?



    I think the transmission fluid in the Nissan 5spd auto was a ‘lifetime’ fluid.
    But, I had the dealer flush mine at 45k and 100k. We haven’t had any issues.

    A quick google search reveals lots of Nissan 5spd auto failures in Maxima’s and Altima’s of the same model. There are also lots of discussions about the fluid and based on my reading, seems the Nissan fluid is proprietary, thus the higher cost, and for this transmission.
    Since there were so many failures from those that didn’t have a fluid change, or the do-it-yourself folks using other fluids, I’m glad I didn’t take Nissan up on their lifetime fluid or try using another fluid, etc.
    I think your making a good choice.
    Your mileage is the same we get on trips. However, when our Quest was new, we got 29MPG on the interstate during a trip to Florida down I-95.
    I’ve never changed the power steering fluid.

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