MaxLife Payouts

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Good morning!

So I was in the process of starting a thread where we could post technical details of various manufacturer specs. For example; Dexos1 has limits on piston deposits, reduced NOACK limit, etc. I was trying to create a centralized post where people could share the tech details they've been able to find, as these can be difficult, if not impossible to obtain. While researching this to get the ball rolling I happened to stumble on the following document from the FTC. I haven't had luck in finding why this was put together, but it starts with Dexos1 manual references then transitions to MaxLife and some payouts (Nissan, Honda, and Toyota) that were made due to manufacturers denying claims. I have a hunch that this involved (involves?) Magnuson-Moss and the argument that these manufacturers were in violation of the act, that's speculation on my part though.

Document can be found here.
 
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Good morning!

So I was in the process of starting a thread where we could post technical details of various manufacturer specs. For example; Dexos1 has limited on piston deposits, reduced NOACK limit, etc. I was trying to create a centralized post where people could share the tech details they've been able to find, as these can be difficult, if not impossible to obtain. While researching this to get the ball rolling I happened to stumble on the following document from the FTC. I haven't had luck in finding why this was put together, but it starts with Dexos1 manual references then transitions to MaxLife and some payouts (Nissan, Honda, and Toyota) that were made due to manufacturers denying claims. I have a hunch that this involved (involves?) Magnuson-Moss and the argument that these manufacturers were in violation of the act, that's speculation on my part though.

Document can be found here.
I don't think Magnuson-Moss is an issue. The recommendation of using a Dexos licensed oil does not refer to a specific brand and it doesn't tie the warranty to the use of that brand.
 

RamFan

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Why was this moved to PCMO? It’s about MaxLife ATF, hence it being created in the ATF sub-forum.
 

RamFan

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I don't think Magnuson-Moss is an issue. The recommendation of using a Dexos licensed oil does not refer to a specific brand and it doesn't tie the warranty to the use of that brand.

Did you read the document? Valvoline stated they would pursue reimbursement against Toyota for violation, in the opinion of Valvoline, of the MM act.

This post isn’t about Dexos, it’s about MaxLife.
 

JRed

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So I could be wrong but I think that in some of those instances (specifically the Nissan and Hyundai trans failures) -- for a LONG time MaxLife had a "recommended for use" in regards to the Nissan Matic-S/J/etc and Hyundai SP-II/SP-III/SP-IV but was not actually approved for use by the manufacturer in place of those fluids.
 
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Manufacturer has a right to deny a claim. Fluid brand seems like a scapegoat.

Problem with 'quick lubes' and 'shops' is that most can't get the correct ATF level with or without a dipstick. Surprised that the 'method' of level check isn't often mentioned and also surprised that no one mentions the 'solvent flush treatments' and 'performance additives' that so many shops/dealers like to add when using aftermarket fluids. Incompetence is only growing in the service bays.

We all also know that many don't service a transmission until they have problems.

I also have seen transmission damage caused by engine part failures.

So, how many were actually caused by the fluid? unknown!

The question you should ask.... if there are 1000's being serviced with non-OE fluids, why aren't there 1000's of failures. Just a few here and there and just as many fail on OE fluid.
 

RamFan

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for a LONG time MaxLife had a "recommended for use" in regards to the Nissan Matic-S/J/etc and Hyundai SP-II/SP-III/SP-IV but was not actually approved for use by the manufacturer in place of those fluids.
I'm not sure if the language on the bottles is different, but according to their PDS it's still that way. MaxLife PDS.

Admittedly, I've been critical of MaxLife ATF and the marketing Valvoline does for it, but I have to give credit to them for paying up in these three instances.
 
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So I could be wrong but I think that in some of those instances (specifically the Nissan and Hyundai trans failures) -- for a LONG time MaxLife had a "recommended for use" in regards to the Nissan Matic-S/J/etc and Hyundai SP-II/SP-III/SP-IV but was not actually approved for use by the manufacturer in place of those fluids.
When a fluid says "recommended for use" or "suitable for" (and other variations), that is the fluid manufacturer making this claim. It's 100% unrelated to approval by the manufacturer. Very few manufacturers approve any aftermarket fluids and when they do, the wording is typically "Licensed by..." which more likely means the fluid producer paid $$$ for the formulation.
 

JRed

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When a fluid says "recommended for use" or "suitable for" (and other variations), that is the fluid manufacturer making this claim. It's 100% unrelated to approval by the manufacturer. Very few manufacturers approve any aftermarket fluids and when they do, the wording is typically "Licensed by..." which more likely means the fluid producer paid $$$ for the formulation.
Yes, that's what I meant but it was poorly worded. Thanks.
 
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So, how many were actually caused by the fluid? unknown!

The question you should ask.... if there are 1000's being serviced with non-OE fluids, why aren't there 1000's of failures. Just a few here and there and just as many fail on OE fluid.
Valvoline bought the transmission cores. They must have torn them down and inspected to find the cause of failure. I'm wondering what they found. I replaced WS ATF with MaxLife about a year ago and have not had any issue. I think it shifts better on MaxLife; however I suspect the old fluid had degraded.
 

RamFan

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Deferring to the experts here, but the fluid analysis seems to indicate that Maxlife ATF didn't cause any failures?
That's the thing though, an analysis could show that the fluid is fine, but the fluid could still be the reason for a parts failure. How that differentiation is made takes someone with a lot more knowledge than I possess, @MolaKule , could you shed some light on this?

By posting this information I'm not trying to state that MaxLife is responsible for the failures. We simply do not know that with what is shown. What we do know (and what I find interesting) is that Valvoline did right by the consumer and paid them for the failures, took the transmissions to investigate further, and alleged that they would be going after the manufacturers. That to me says something. However, I'm also curious how this would play out if these three vehicles were DIY and weren't done at either a Valvoline shop or shop that utilized Valvoline fluids.

I wish I could find the context for this document, that would help fill in some of the gaps here.
 
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That's the thing though, an analysis could show that the fluid is fine, but the fluid could still be the reason for a parts failure. How that differentiation is made takes someonew ith a lot more knowledge than I possess, @MolaKule , could you shed some light on this?

By posting this information I'm not trying to state that MaxLife is responsible for the failures. We simply do not know that with what is shown. What we do know (and what I find interesting) is that Valvoline did right by the consumer and paid them for the failures, took the transmissions to invesitage further, and alleged that they would be going after the manufacturers. That to me says something. However, I'm also curious how this would play out if these three vehicles were DIY and weren't done at either a Valvoline shop or shop that utilized Valvoline fluids.

I wish I could find the context for this document, that would help fill in some of the gaps here.
Interesting thoughts. I'll take the other side. My take: If Maxlife "paid out," I'd say they were responsible for the failures. Companies don't just dish out money unless they're ordered to, or know their product was to blame. Especially with high cost components like engines and transmissions. Are there exceptions? Maybe, but those exceptions are very far and few. Them saying they're going after the mfg. seems to me like a smart defensive move, a smoke screen. But we will never know, so JMO.
 

RamFan

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Interesting thoughts. I'll take the other side. My take: If Maxlife "paid out," I'd say they were responsible for the failures. Companies don't just dish out money unless they're ordered to, or know their product was to blame. Especially with high cost components like engines and transmissions. Are there exceptions? Maybe, but those exceptions are very far and few. Them saying they're going after the mfg. seems to me like a smart defensive move, a smoke screen. But we will never know, so JMO.

100% agree. I think the payments happened the way they did because they were done at VIOC and 3rd party shops contracted w/ Valvoline for fluids. Quick payment to make the consumer trusting and/or happy (depending on your preferred terminology) is much more valuable than a drawn out process where your shops name can get dragged through the mud. It may be cynical, but I strongly believe that if this was a DIY situation these payments would not have occurred.
 

ZeeOSix

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If a manufacturer stipulates that using their products is mandatory in order to maintain their warranty, they need to provide the products for free per the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

That is called a "Tie-In Sales" Provision. From the link: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/bus...sons-guide-federal-warranty-law#Magnuson-Moss

"Generally, tie-in sales provisions aren’t allowed. These are provisions that state or imply that a consumer must buy or use an item or service from a particular company to keep their warranty coverage."

"However, a warrantor can require a consumer to use select items or services
if they’re provided free of charge under the warranty or the warrantor receiver a waiver from the FTC. To get a waiver, you must prove to the FTC’s satisfaction that your product won’t work properly without a specified item or service. "

I sounds like Valvoline claimed and had the failed transmissions recovered so they could do a failure analysis and a transmission fluid UOA. I'm suspecting that if Valvoline found that the failure cause was not from their ATF product then they would go after the vehicle manufacturer.

So has anyone here who owns a vehicle where the vehicle manufacturer stipulates that using their OEM product is mandatory to keep the factory warranty intact ... have you ever said to the dealer that they must therefore provide said products to the consumer for free?
 

MolaKule

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That's the thing though, an analysis could show that the fluid is fine, but the fluid could still be the reason for a parts failure. How that differentiation is made takes someone with a lot more knowledge than I possess, @MolaKule , could you shed some light on this?
I am in the dark here.

OK, found document you posted.
 
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So has anyone here who owns a vehicle where the vehicle manufacturer stipulates that using their OEM product is mandatory to keep the factory warranty intact ... have you ever said to the dealer that they must therefore provide said products to the consumer for free?
MM has been around since 1975. Just a few snippets from manuals of vehicles we own.... Seems like the manufacturers don't care what MM says.

Honda ('12 Civic) uses interesting wording - italics added by me:
Any damage caused by using a transmission fluid that is not equivalent to Honda ATF DW-1 is not covered by Honda's new vehicle warranty.
Who determines if its equivalent or not ? If Honda refuses to say any fluid is, anything besides DW-1 invalidates the warranty. Creative on their part.

Another Honda ('12 Accord) has different wording:
Using transmission fluid other than Honda ATF DW-1 may cause deterioration in transmission operation and durability, and could result in damage to the transmission. Damage resulting from the use of transmission fluid other than Honda ATF DW-1 is not covered by the Honda new vehicle warranty.

Nissan's wording (2008) is pretty strong
Using automatic transmission fluid other than Genuine NISSAN Matic J ATF will cause deterioration in driveability and automatic transmission durability, and may damage the automatic transmission, which is not covered by the INFINITI new vehicle limited warranty.
Supposedly "the government made Nissan change their manuals" but I checked later years and it still said the same thing.
 
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There is nothing magical in any of those specific OEM fluids. Sure if you have an older transmission that is not low visc, it MAY have an issue. Then go buy that older spec. The fact that Valvoline and other suppliers have multi vehicle ATFs that go millions of miles is indicative of such. They do this so you don't change the transmission fluid, or if you do go to the dealer and have it done or buy it from them for a ridiculous 20 per quart. They know this is against MM act, but since it's a "lifetime" fluid it doesn't need to be changed anyway. Imagine the OEMs trying to use the same wording in the manual with regular motor oil, "You MUST use Genuine Toyota 0w-20 Motor oil, using any other motor oil can contribute to damage to your engine and may void your warranty."

I agree its difficult to get the level right with no disptick. You basically need a scan tool to grab trans temps. It's so difficult that my factory fluid was underfilled and causing shift flares. After two D&F using a temp gun, finally grabbing trans temps with OBD2 app and filling another 3/4 qt - no issues. Amazing what that difference made. Point being if you're having issues its most likely the fluid level.
 
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MolaKule

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1) I only saw one payout in the documents (your post title says, "Payouts")' did I miss more than one?,

2) The ATF fluid analysis shows no indication of a pending or future failure,

3) it appears Valvoline gave the customer the benefit of the doubt until they had the transmission shipped to Lubrizol for analysis, then further, future action would be determined pending analysis; seems like a prudent action on Valvoline's part to foster customer relations. None of this admits to any fault,

4) the documents show Valvoline was to file a M-M suit. The problem with legal suits is that in many cases the litigants sign a non-disclosure agreement and may ask the courts to seal the results.

The thing we don't do on BITOG is discuss litigation.
 
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