Valvoline Maxlife ATF for Accord and Matrix

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Hey all, I'm new to this forum. I've searched here and several other sites to gather information about using Valvoline Maxlife ATF instead of the OEM fluids for 2 vehicles: 2010 Honda Accord and 2010 Pontiac Vibe (essentially a Toyota Matrix). It sounds like Maxlife performs about the same as the OEM fluid for both vehicles at about half the cost. However, I also came across some people on a Honda Accord forum that warned about transmission issues when they used Maxlife. It looks to me like Accord transmissions had problems in the early 2000's but I don't see a lot of issues for the 2010 model. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience using Maxlife for the same generation Accord and Matrix, especially the Accord. Both my cars are base models with 4 cylinder engines. Thanks!
 
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I have a 2007 Accord. I would use the Honda fluid on the Honda. I tried Maxlife. But the shifting seemed better with the Honda fluid.
 
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Honda ATF is a controversial topic here. Their Z1 ATF was the factory fill on your car but this fluid has been replaced by DW1 since then, which is backwards compatible. I would stick with OEM Honda fluid. MaxLife seems to have its fans but I've read about some people saying that it changes the shift characteristics of the tranny -- some better, some worse. Why risk it?
 
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I have used Maxlife in hundreds of Hondas/Acuras with no problems. Its a good fluid and will work well.
 

toyotahonda

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Thanks for the replies. I was looking at Z1 and the prices were really high. It's good to know I can buy the DW1 by the case and it wouldn't be terrible. Maybe it's worth the extra $3/qt for peace of mind on the Honda. Jimzz, I'm curious, have you used Maxlife in low-mileage transmissions too? I know Valvolone says it's safe and I don't really see a reason why it wouldn't be, but haven't read much about people who have. I'm still curious to see what others say about their experience with Maxlife - so far it doesn't sound like any major issues ...
 
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Originally Posted By: mclasser
Honda ATF is a controversial topic here. Their Z1 ATF was the factory fill on your car but this fluid has been replaced by DW1 since then, which is backwards compatible. I would stick with OEM Honda fluid. MaxLife seems to have its fans but I've read about some people saying that it changes the shift characteristics of the tranny -- some better, some worse. Why risk it?
+1 I would stick with Honda in the Honda and maxlife in the Toyota.
 
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Maxlife isn't really a high mileage fluid it's just a plain awesome synthetic at a bargain price. Yes it has seal conditioners just like all other transmissions fluids, maybe it has a fraction more of these, who knows exactly. Maxlife will work in either of those applications.
 
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Originally Posted By: mclasser
Honda ATF is a controversial topic here. Their Z1 ATF was the factory fill on your car but this fluid has been replaced by DW1 since then, which is backwards compatible. I would stick with OEM Honda fluid. MaxLife seems to have its fans but I've read about some people saying that it changes the shift characteristics of the tranny -- some better, some worse. Why risk it?
This is correct, the only other major brand fluid I would recommend is Castrol Import Multi Vehicle ATF it is specifically recommended by Castrol for BOTH Z-1 and DW-1 applications and it gives OEM shift quality characteristics, which is important for the longevity of Honda AT. Important to note that Honda fluids including the DW-1 fluid is a DINO based fluid and NOT synthetic. This is one of those times when a synthetic is NOT better. Valvoline MaxLife ATF is NOT recommended for newer Honda/Acura which require the DW-1 specification!
 
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Originally Posted By: toyotahonda
Thanks for the replies. I was looking at Z1 and the prices were really high. It's good to know I can buy the DW1 by the case and it wouldn't be terrible. Maybe it's worth the extra $3/qt for peace of mind on the Honda. Jimzz, I'm curious, have you used Maxlife in low-mileage transmissions too? I know Valvolone says it's safe and I don't really see a reason why it wouldn't be, but haven't read much about people who have. I'm still curious to see what others say about their experience with Maxlife - so far it doesn't sound like any major issues ...
Yep I have used it as early as 30k as I recommend doing drain and fills every 30k. Its very simple to do and good insurance to protect a costly item.
 
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Originally Posted By: millerbl00
Maxlife will change the shift characteristics of the tranny on the Honda.
No it will not unless the fluid in the trans was very old/burnt. Then any new fluid can do that.
 
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Originally Posted By: slacktide_bitog
Maxlife will be fine.
+1 Run ML in 01 Civic and 07 Accord V6 for significant miles with both, 01 orig trans 230+k miles. Works/shifts every bit as good ime as spec'd Z1 that preceeded it. And, Z1 was nothing special and sheared quickly. Also used ML Tacoma specing Dex/Merc, also solid results. Nice to be able to run one ATF in different applications, and it's valued priced in the gallon jugs.
 
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My fluid was fine. It changed. Made the shifts firmer, especially when cold.
Originally Posted By: Jimzz
Originally Posted By: millerbl00
Maxlife will change the shift characteristics of the tranny on the Honda.
No it will not unless the fluid in the trans was very old/burnt. Then any new fluid can do that.
 
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Originally Posted By: sayjac
Originally Posted By: slacktide_bitog
Maxlife will be fine.
+1 Run ML in 01 Civic and 07 Accord V6 for significant miles with both, 01 orig trans 230+k miles. Works/shifts every bit as good ime as spec'd Z1 that preceeded it. And, Z1 was nothing special and sheared quickly. Also used ML Tacoma specing Dex/Merc, also solid results. Nice to be able to run one ATF in different applications, and it's valued priced in the gallon jugs.
Honda doesn't order any more ATF-Z1, they are switching to ATF-DW1 completely. I read some Honda boards and the theory is that as Honda models got larger and heavier, the Z1 fluid plus previous generation AT's were failing. It seems logical since the Oddysey is both big and heavy and it had a reputation for failed AT's. So, Honda switched.
 
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It will change shift characteristics slightly and for the better (firmer, less slip). I have used it for 4 years in my Ody and the Pilot gets it soon since the drivetrain warranty runs out this month. Full synthetic and $16.99/gallon at Walmart. I do 1 D&F yearly.(keep it pink)
Originally Posted By: millerbl00
My fluid was fine. It changed. Made the shifts firmer, especially when cold.
Originally Posted By: Jimzz
Originally Posted By: millerbl00
Maxlife will change the shift characteristics of the tranny on the Honda.
No it will not unless the fluid in the trans was very old/burnt. Then any new fluid can do that.
 
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The maxlife may work in the Vibe, but unless the 2010s are ok with a thinner ATF, it should use something like castrol multi vehicle dex/merc, or any other toyota t-IV atf replacement, not one of the thinner LV fluids.
 
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Originally Posted By: KlubMarcus
Originally Posted By: sayjac
Originally Posted By: slacktide_bitog
Maxlife will be fine.
+1 Run ML in 01 Civic and 07 Accord V6 for significant miles with both, 01 orig trans 230+k miles. Works/shifts every bit as good ime as spec'd Z1 that preceeded it. And, Z1 was nothing special and sheared quickly. Also used ML Tacoma specing Dex/Merc, also solid results. Nice to be able to run one ATF in different applications, and it's valued priced in the gallon jugs.
Honda doesn't order any more ATF-Z1, they are switching to ATF-DW1 completely. I read some Honda boards and the theory is that as Honda models got larger and heavier, the Z1 fluid plus previous generation AT's were failing. It seems logical since the Oddysey is both big and heavy and it had a reputation for failed AT's. So, Honda switched.
Aware that DW1 has completely superseded Z1. As for the theory of why they changed suppose anything is possible. Or it could be that Z1 was just a [censored] ATF that sheered very quickly. I do know Z1 was one the most criticized ATF's on this board. And I take the Honda specific forum recommendations with a grain of salt as in my observation they generally speaking tend to automatically eschew the use of any fluid, part or product that is not OEM. And the failed Oddysey trans theory could well go along with Z1 being a poor ATF product, or have nothing to do with it. Honda Accords (especially V6) and Civics including the 01 noted my anecdotes also have/had poor AT reliability reputations. The 01 Civic AT so poor that it has the distinction of being a number one on car complaints. So since the Honda switch to DW1 from Z1 I've used ML in my vehicles specing Z1, now 70k+ miles total in the noted anecdotes. All that said, similar to using Z1 in my Hondas specing it while under vehicle warranty, if I owned or maintained a Honda specing DW1 and under Honda warranty, I'd use DW1 with d&fs to eliminate any AT warranty considerations/concerns.
 

JTK

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I did 2 drain/fills with Maxlife ATF on my mom's 2008 Pontiac Vibe (Toyota Matrix). That car never so much as had a check engine light in the 8yrs/75K miles she owned it. I did the ATF drain/fills around 30-40K miles. I also used Maxlife ATF in my 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe and 2008 Honda Odyssey. Like mentioned above, Maxlife made the Odyssey's 5spd AT much more tolerable.
 
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