Here are pictures of my Honda CVT fluid library for comparison.

Dec 24, 2013
New Orleans
Hi all. I have a 2016 Honda CR-V EX that I acquired in February of 2020 with 19,877 miles on it then.

Since it spent those miles in the hills of Pittsburgh PA with plenty of stop and go traffic I consider that sever service and therefore did 3 drain and fills of the CVT fluid starting around 25 K miles and driving it about 1 K miles to mix the new with the old before doing each additional drain and fill, because each drain and fill only gets out 1/2 of the fluid that was in it.

Here are some pictures of the CVT fluid I removed each time, and also a withdraw from the top sample of the CVT fluid at 28K miles to see what the CVT fluid looks like after the 3rd drain and fill has mixed with the old, and a virgin sample of the Honda HCF-2 fluid.

The jars are 10oz Polar Peach Slices jars left over from what I bough at Wal-Mart. The flashlight is a StreamLight ProTac 2L-X and it is set to 500 Lumens.

I bought 14 quarts of the Honda HCF-2 fluid from and also a crush washer for the drain bolt and one for the over-flow bolt, and reused the originals twice. I could of got by with only 13 quarts. The amount I had to add to get fluid to come out the over-flow each time was very little. And after 3 drain and fills I still had enough in the remaining open quart to provide the virgin sample. I still have one quart I never opened. And I did have the vehicle perfectly level each time, and ran it in each gear for 10 seconds or more down and up 3 times to get the air out, and also let it sit to get any foam to settle out before doing the additional add until some came out the over-flow.

As you can see, with each drain and fill the CVT fluid becomes less dirty and light can shine further into it.

In the future, I can withdraw a sample and compare it to the existing library of samples to get an idea of the condition of the CVT fluid and how many drain and fill it could use.

There was nothing wrong with the way the CVT was working even just before the first drain and fill, but after 3 drain and fills it does run butter smooth which is a slight improvement and barely a noticeable improvement, because again it was working fine before the first drain and fill. There were some post on the "Honda CR-V Owners Club Forum" where CVTs with 30K or more were having some problems and the owners had to change the fluid several times to get them to work good again. So my 3X drain and fills starting at 25K miles are decent preventive maintance.
I have seen cars come on with 100,000 miles on original CVT fluid with not one single issue. These CVT are very durable.


Thread starter
Aug 22, 2009
Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
I have seen cars come on with 100,000 miles on original CVT fluid with not one single issue. These CVT are very durable.

OK, but what is the work load those CVT transmissions were used in for those miles?

A CVT that is always used on flat highways with the speed not changing much and the vehicle not carrying a lot of weight is not being taxed to work hard. Under such situations CVT transmission should last a very long time even with very little maintenance.

Take an identical vehicle and go up and down hills every time it is used and add to that a lot of stop and go traffic and a lot of intersections with red lights and that CVT is going to wear out a lot quicker. Especially if the fluid is not changed often.
Throw in loading that vehicle down with a lot of weight in it often or towing something, and that's going to even wear it out quicker.


It also depends on the manufacturer of the CVT. Toyota seams to make the best, Honda is good, and most of the rest will not hold up as well.
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Staff member
Jun 5, 2002
Iowegia - USA
The 3rd to last ( 8th one ) is a sample I removed very recently from the fill port just to see what the fluid that that is in it now looks like. This is the fluid after 3rd drain and fill, and driving it from 27,356 to 28,071 miles so that the old that was still in it has had plenty of enough time to mix with the new.
I just had a drain and fill done recently on my '15 Pathfinder CVT and the mechanic saved some of the fluid in a clear PET bottle.

The CVT fluid had 18,000 miles on it and looked just like your dark 27k/28k samples.

I had the sample analyzed and saw nothing out of the ordinary except it had sheared from 7.8 cSt to 6 cSt.