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1st Time Poster. 1st time Chrysler Owner.

500 on miles on my new 2012 Ram 1500 Laramie 4wd.
This is not a work truck. I have another vehicle that I use as a work truck. This is my commuter vehicle.

I'll give a more thorough review once I've had more time in the seat.

I have purchased the Lifetime Maxcare warranty and plan to follow the Owners Manual religiously. However, the Owners Manual is vague in regard to some of the services.

It never says ANYTHING about changing (just inspecting) the diff/transfer case/auto tranny fluid for driving under normal use (that I can find!). It does give intervals for police, taxi, fleet, and tow driving. Does this mean that it doesn't need to be changed for normal use to keep warranty in effect? I want to make sure I am within maintenance compliance guidelines, as outlined in the Owners Manual, to keep the warranty in place. Again, my main concern is keeping in compliance with the Lifetime Maxcare warranty by following the Owner's Manual.

Am I missing something here? Also, it states that engine oil is to be changed at 8k intervals. Ok with me... as long as the Lifetime Maxcare is in place :smiley_thumbs_up:

1) The Owners Manual states nothing about changing the Diff Fluid. It says (every 24,000 miles) to "Inspect the front and rear axle fluid, change if using your vehicle for police, taxi, fleet, off-road or frequent trailer towing."

2) Same for the Transfer Case Fluid. Every 64,000 miles "Change the transfer case fluid if using your vehicle for any of the following: police, taxi, fleet, or frequent trailer towing."

3) Auto Trans Fluid. Every 64,000 miles "Change the automatic transmission fluid and filter if using your vehicle for any of the following: police, taxi, fleet or frequent trailer towing."
 

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Here is my take on it, I too have lifetime MaxCare.


-8k is too many miles for me to be comfortable, unless I am running AMSOIL on a road trip (all highway). I change every 5k with synthetic, every 3k with dino oil. I never use dino anymore, so...

-The oil in your diffs gets hot, whether you are towing, off-road, on road, whatever. Hot oil breaks down. The owners manual doesn't reference changing it. However, as an ASE Certified tech, if I did not reccommend it be changed, I would not be doing my job. I had 60k on mine when I changed it. Everything looked ok, the oil was dirty, but was not burnt/thinned out. I would say 60k as a commuter would be about the limit for gear oil. I just had it changed again because I had gears installed. (3:92/LSD ftw!) Keep in mind that even though 4wd may not be engaged, the front gears and axles are still spinning, generating heat anyway. Implied task is to change the front diff fluid whether you use 4wd or not ;)

-ALWAYS change your transmission fluid a minimum of once a year. If you drain and refill your transmission once a year, and change your filters every other year, you will likely never have a transmission problem. On my truck, since I have no drain plug and have to pull the pan anyway to drain and refill, I change my filters every time I drop the pan. Unless you are only putting like 5k a year on your truck, change the trans fluid once a year. Transmission fluid breaks down under heat as well. Transmissions work off of friction, which creates heat...therefore...

The lesson here is this: If your owner's manual says the fluid doesnt need changed ever, its probably wrong. Here is why. They come up with those stats in a lab, under perfectly engineered conditions. Its perfectly reasonable to assume that the owners manual is correct, but in my life experience, I can tell you, if you never change your diff/t-case/trans fluid, you are asking for trouble. My dad thought this same way for years, until recently, he has had transmission/gear problems with nearly ever vehicle he has ever owned. Oil is Oil, and no matter what it is in, if it is doing the job its supposed to do, it will break down/wear out.
 

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Army of One - has just given you the best advice ever... That is exactly what I do.. The exception is I do allow Dino oil in my cars/trucks because the dealership does it.. I am not paying their robber prices for Syn. I don't have time to do it myself.. they want $30.00 to change my supplied oil.. I forever have a coupon to get the oil change special at my drealership... My 08 Ram looked perfect inside after 80K of 3K Dino oil changes
 

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^Again, the oil thing is personal preference. Dino's are good. I just run my vehicle's hard so I prefer the added security of synthetic. Seldom do I put less than 30k a year on my vehicles and its usually mostly city miles, alot of it is hauling/towing. Being a 4.7, my engine spends a significant amount of its time at higher rpm's when towing (though I hope less-so now with the new gears).

Again, these are just my observations from over a decade of wrenchin'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Army of One

Thanks a lot for the response.

As a first timer (Chrysler owner)... I thought it was unique that a manufacturer would offer a lifetime warranty BUT not require a mandatory service for the tranny/diff/transfer case.
 

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Army of One

Thanks a lot for the response.

As a first timer (Chrysler owner)... I thought it was unique that a manufacturer would offer a lifetime warranty BUT not require a mandatory service for the tranny/diff/transfer case.
Indeed it is a conundrum. Who knows why they do it that way. Regardless, my advice stands. Knowing what I know about oil, engines, gears, transmissions, and the inner workings of all of the above...I cant overlook the fact that probably 90% of people's car troubles are caused because they either dont give a shat until something breaks, or they just flat out don't know. I am a firm believer that EVERYONE should have a basic course in how to properly maintain a vehicle as part of driver's ed when we are young. The army does this, its called PMCS (Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services) and it saves us a lot of time and hassle.
 

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Here is my take on it, I too have lifetime MaxCare.


-8k is too many miles for me to be comfortable, unless I am running AMSOIL on a road trip (all highway). I change every 5k with synthetic, every 3k with dino oil. I never use dino anymore, so...

-The oil in your diffs gets hot, whether you are towing, off-road, on road, whatever. Hot oil breaks down. The owners manual doesn't reference changing it. However, as an ASE Certified tech, if I did not reccommend it be changed, I would not be doing my job. I had 60k on mine when I changed it. Everything looked ok, the oil was dirty, but was not burnt/thinned out. I would say 60k as a commuter would be about the limit for gear oil. I just had it changed again because I had gears installed. (3:92/LSD ftw!) Keep in mind that even though 4wd may not be engaged, the front gears and axles are still spinning, generating heat anyway. Implied task is to change the front diff fluid whether you use 4wd or not ;)

-ALWAYS change your transmission fluid a minimum of once a year. If you drain and refill your transmission once a year, and change your filters every other year, you will likely never have a transmission problem. On my truck, since I have no drain plug and have to pull the pan anyway to drain and refill, I change my filters every time I drop the pan. Unless you are only putting like 5k a year on your truck, change the trans fluid once a year. Transmission fluid breaks down under heat as well. Transmissions work off of friction, which creates heat...therefore...

The lesson here is this: If your owner's manual says the fluid doesnt need changed ever, its probably wrong. Here is why. They come up with those stats in a lab, under perfectly engineered conditions. Its perfectly reasonable to assume that the owners manual is correct, but in my life experience, I can tell you, if you never change your diff/t-case/trans fluid, you are asking for trouble. My dad thought this same way for years, until recently, he has had transmission/gear problems with nearly ever vehicle he has ever owned. Oil is Oil, and no matter what it is in, if it is doing the job its supposed to do, it will break down/wear out.
what fluids do you use when you change, or do you stick with mopar?
when the trans id serviced, do you just get the drain, replace filter, and fill, or do you get the flush done with the "machine flusher" that changes all the fluid? tks steve.
 

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I to have the Lifetime Powertrain Warranty. I will follow the Owner's Manual and if Dodge wants it changed, they can do it on there dime.
That is why I have a Warranty.
 

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what fluids do you use when you change, or do you stick with mopar?
when the trans id serviced, do you just get the drain, replace filter, and fill, or do you get the flush done with the "machine flusher" that changes all the fluid? tks steve.
I just drain and refill. I NEVER flush a transmission. Most service departments want you to flush because they can charge you for the machine use, and 3x the amount of fluid than a drain and fill requires. A $50 a year drain and refill is all you need. Those "Machine Flusher's" are absolutely, hands down the worst thing you can ever do to your transmission.

I to have the Lifetime Powertrain Warranty. I will follow the Owner's Manual and if Dodge wants it changed, they can do it on there dime.
That is why I have a Warranty.
We have been this go-round before.

All I will say is this: Its your $45,000 truck. How you maintain it is up to you. Me? I will protect my investment by performing simple fluid changes. Cheap and easy insurance...that way it leaves no room for doubt.
 

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I just drain and refill. I NEVER flush a transmission. Most service departments want you to flush because they can charge you for the machine use, and 3x the amount of fluid than a drain and fill requires. A $50 a year drain and refill is all you need. Those "Machine Flusher's" are absolutely, hands down the worst thing you can ever do to your transmission.


We have been this go-round before.

All I will say is this: Its your $45,000 truck. How you maintain it is up to you. Me? I will protect my investment by performing simple fluid changes. Cheap and easy insurance...that way it leaves no room for doubt.
i have heard never flush an older trans with the machine, but you find this to be true on a new trans also? not doubting you, just wondering.
 

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I gave my transmission a complete flush & filter change at 40,000 miles
seemed like a good time to change the 2 filters & change to a fluid that i trust, Royal Purple
i also changed my differential fluid at the same time, it was a good time to put on a differential cover with a drain plug, again i used RP fluid

At 60,000 miles i had the radiator flushed, coolant does not last forever

When i need my first brake job, i will at that time have my brake fluid flushed

I have an '09 with the Lifetime Drive Train Warranty & i purchased the Lifetime Maximum Care Warranty with $100 deductible

Just because i am pretty well covered, does Not mean that i want to use it.
I will continue to do what i consider routine maintenance
 

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i have heard never flush an older trans with the machine, but you find this to be true on a new trans also? not doubting you, just wondering.
With a newer vehicle it is not so bad. If you do it frequently throughout the life of the vehicle it will not hurt anything.

However, I won't flush a transmission simply because its a waste. If you change the fluid and filters regularly, there is no need to flush.
 
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