Maxlife in Transmissions Calling for Dexron VI?

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Sep 9, 2016
North Dakota
So, I've done a lot of research and I'm still torn. I know that Valvoline alleges that their Maxlife multi vehicle ATF is "suitable" in applications calling for Dexron VI. But as best as I can tell, this fluid meets Dexron VI viscosity and is in the ballpark on the add pack. Plus, it's fully synthetic. The biggest argument against using this is that they already make a synthetic Dexron VI specific fluid. Here's my issue. My 2007 Buick Lacrosse has a bona-fide 278,800 on the original drivetrain. The PO was a traveling representative for the local unions in the tri-state area. Anyway, I'm torn between using a good brand of factory spec ATF versus Maxlife because I don't know of another high mileage Dexron VI transmission fluid. And I think we can all agree this is a high mileage example. I've already bought some Valvoline Dexron VI but am debating Maxlife for future drains. I know OE spec is usually best but I want this high mileage transmission to go the distance and I'm not sure if regular Dexron VI can offer the necessary protection. I welcome your collective experience and insights.
I do not own a GM product, but I have used Maxlife ATF in my Honda before. It worked fine, but I prefer other brands. Since you are torn, I would try to convince you to use a specific Dex VI product. Your transmission will fail eventually, and by using a specific DEX VI product, you can sleep well knowing you gave your transmission the best shot at a long life.
I'd stick to the OEM stuff, I'm guessing that's what it's had its entire life...looks like it's doing pretty good!
It will work as well, go for it. I used Maxlife in my CTS and BiLs STS just fine. Have used it in Hondas, Kias, Saabs, Toyotas, Fords, Nissans, Mercedes...
If 278k is getting close to the absolute life limit on that transmission (asking.. because who knows?!)..then is it worth spending the money on expensive ATF? On the other hand, there are people who start using Maxlife at 30k and it does them good until the wheels fall off the car. Seems like Maxlife would be a safe bet either way..
Maxlife is good stuff that will give you lots of trouble-free miles with no problems. In fact, the whole Maxlife brand was created with high mileage cars in mind smile
I changed the Cruze to Maxlife at 82K … this was the third change using AC Delco and Castrol Dex VI prior to that. No difference in how it shifts …
The 4T65E transaxle does not require Dexron VI as it was originally designed for Dexron III & GM didn't change a thing with the switch to Dex VI. A quality Dex/Merc fluid will work fine. Maxlife itself will not help or hurt your unit, High mileage ATF is [censored] as "leaky" transmissions hasn't been a problem for more than 20 years. The problems that 4T65E's do have are not fluid or fluid type related, Yours has lasted so long because the WAY the mileage was put on the unit.....In High Gear travelling down the highway!
I'm not a huge fan of a "one size fits all" kind of solution. I ran Maxlife in my Regal that shortly afterwards started making funky sounds. End result, rebuild. I ran Maxlife in the LaCrosse. In 2 years time the trans also quit. ----------- For me personally Maxlife hasn't worked out. Now only officially licensed Dex6 for my 4T65s. I got full syn GM branded fluid from Amazon for cheap.
For your 2007 Buick Lacrosse, I’d stick with Dexron VI equivalent ATF. You can sneak some more miles out of the 4T65E before it starts to do things. I hope you replace the tranny filter and clean off the oil pan magnet too. For some 4T65E problems, thinner ATF helps with slow or jarring 1-2 shifts. Thicker ATF may help shudder problems. Of course fixing the root cause is best when it happens. I’d plan to grab about 6 - 8 long thin neodymium bar magnets to beef up the usually weak GM magnet in the oil pan. Google “4T65E magnet” GM put out a TSB since they used cheap weak magnets for many years. 2007 is iffy, could have the extra cheap on in there. Even their ‘good’ ring magnet is not enough. In my case, I put several bar magnets near the OEM magnet position and then 4 on the metal plate of the filter next to the intake. I used a compass to orient each so they were all “in phase” making the metal plate of the filter a good south pole. The rest of the oil pan is virtually “zero clearance”. Meaning there’s no room for anything else on the pan except in very specific locations. Why did I do this? GM admits their magnet is not strong enough to catch all the wear metals (from gears, etc) and the metal particles gravitate to the PCS solenoid and shift solenoids causing shift problems. Of course they had to know that when they gambled on going cheap! See the Pics on Page 1 of the PDF for the GM location for their ‘stronger’ magnet: “ MAGNETIC FILTER ADD ONS – DO THEY WORK? “
Just switched to MaxLife on a '14 Encore. Less than a thousand miles, switched at 90,000. So far no issues. Thought I had a slightly rougher down shift on one or two occasions but that might have just been because I was looking for it.
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