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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, so I finally got a Challenger after wanting one for the past few years. Its the V6 3.6L, 2018 (think it's an SXT) and it's a thing of beauty. The first order of business was I had a body shop Fluid Film the undercarriage and all its books and crannies.

Since primarily this car will be a daily driver during the summer mostly and generally will be garaged (or stored in the winter) during the rainy days or super hot days, like over 90F.

Since my older car is trashed due to the rust belt in the midwest the Grand Am will be semi retired in Kansas next spring as I'll be welding in new metal and just using it as a vehicle to get around while I'm out there if I hitched a ride from family.

Anyways so after driving the Challenger around for a bit I need to come up with a basic maintenance schedule as I'd like to keep her for the rest of my life. I'll be getting a cheap SUV to get around during bad weather after the Grand Am is no longer a daily. So besides the oil changes every 6 months I want to get a checklist written out during either spring and or fall to get some maintenance done over the course of 5 years so I know exactly what my mechanic should be doing anytime I bring it in for preventive maintenance. More than likely I won't be going past 8,000 miles in a year so I should be following something that is done every 6 months, at least. Ideally the oil and any other necessary fluids will be changed during say, October or November so old fluids wont sit while the Challenger is parked. It does appear that Enterprise, where I bought the car changed the fluids so it should be ok for this season and I'll be driving it during the nice days when there isnt salt all over the roads. If that's even possible but the trunk space is big so its easy to fit groceries and other stuff inside so it'll get light traveling until spring.

Any suggestions is welcome as I'll be writing this list out and later on have a checklist printed out. Again, love the car its really fun to drive around in. I already know it's a keeper provided nothing major will happen.
 

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  • Engine coolant is good for 10 years
  • Brake fluid is good for 2-3 years
  • Transmission fluid is good for 100K miles, not sure if there is a limit for the number of years it should not go past (I know there is a time limit, but I haven’t seen it published, only that fluid is lifetime - which is hogwash BTW.)
  • Rear-end fluid is good for 10 years IIRC.
  • Power steering fluid is probably same as rear-end or transmission fluid - 10/100K - and can be changed on the same intervals.

    There are some I’m missing I’m sure, but your car’s owner’s manual should have a maintenance service section that lists out what to check and what to replace at their individual service intervals. Just be sure to pay attention to the time limits since it does not sound like you will be in danger of hitting the mileage limits at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nuke, thanks. The transmission fluid I may find out how much that typically lasts. I can't imagine it lasting beyond 5 years.. but eventually I'll figure that one out. The rear differential I'm unfamiliar with as I've only owned front wheel drive vehicles but it sounds like that can be changed every 6 months or so. Like I said, coming up with a list of stuff to print out so I'll be also posting the mileage of when stuff needs changing in case I do happen to put enough miles, though that's unlikely unless something were to happen. Thanks again.
 

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As mentioned, the automatic transmission fluid is listed as lifetime

982186


But even if you didn't want to follow that, only 5 years would not be right

The rear axle fluid is listed as 80,000 miles, again, every 6 months would be overkill

A Guy
 

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Engine oil/filter service schedule is easy. Every 6K miles or 6 months. I follow a 5K mile oil change interval with my Challenger. My car doesn't get stored over the winter but if you put the car away change the engine oil and filter before doing so.

For coolant what I have done over the years is change this every 4 years or so. While the factory says it is "lifetime" coolant the coolant is a vital fluid with some anti corrosion compounds in it that keep corrosion down. There is no concern about the coolant eating its way through the block, but the coolant circulates through the radiator and heater core and these all have thin walls. A pinhole leak is a real risk. Some of my cars have had a water/oil cooler. A pinhole leak in this can let coolant get in the oil or oil in the coolant. Either is bad.

Also the coolant has additives to help prolong the life of the water pump seal. With fresh coolant every 4 years or so the first water pump I replaced on a car I bought new was at 172K miles.

As for transmission and diff fluids what I've done in the past, and intend to do this with my current cars is to change these/have these changed at some lower miles than the factory calls for. For instance with my previous cars with manual transmissions I had the transmission fluid in one car changed at 60K miles (the factory interval was 90K miles) the other at 30K miles (partially because the transmission didn't feel very good and it was found ot have a selector shaft leak which lead to getting a new transmission under warranty). Then every 60K or (sometimes a bit less) thereafter. I put 317K miles on one car and 161K miles on the other car with no transmission/diff issues.

The factory called for 2 year brake and clutch fluid (the clutch hydraulic system shared the fluid the brake system used) flush and bleeds. While I followed this I thought it probably overkill. However, when I inadvertently let this go the clutch operation was affected and shifting too was affected. I didn't put the lack of brake fluid flush/bleed and the clutch/transmission behavior together until I took the car in for this untoward behavior and the SA looked it up and found the last fluid service was 2.5 years in the past. He advised having this done before possibly replacing the clutch or the transmission. I agreed and afterwards the transformation was quite remarkable. While as far as I could tell braking was unaffected before or after the fluid flush/bleed the clutch action was much better and the shifting difficulties were gone. Really if I had not experienced it I would have not believed it.

So I'm an advocate of periodic brake fluid flush and bleed and if the car's clutch hydraulic system shares fluid with the brake system a clutch fluid flush and bleed at the same time.

Even as is the case with Dodge, even if the factory doesn't call for any. I really think Dodge is not doing its customers any favors by not recommending a brake fluid flush/bleed every so often.

Engine air filter and cabin air filter change intervals depend somewhat upon where one lives/drives. Some areas are pretty "clean" others real dusty. At least follow the factory schedule on the replacement of these.

Want to mention the problem with car makers and ever extended (or absent) service schedules is they are all in a race to the bottom. Brand X comes out with "lifetime" coolant and before long all factories are touting this. The lifetime of the coolant is the lifetime of the component that fails due to the coolant being left in service beyond when it really should be changed. This can be the water pump. In one case it was after a radiator developed a pinhole leak (at 60K miles) and had to be replaced at which time I had the coolant replaced.

The same with other fluids. And don't get me started on the lack of period brake fluid flush and bleeds. Given brakes are a safety critical system I think it borderline criminal for a factory to not schedule period brake fluid flushes.

So in some cases I adhere or in some way better the factory's service schedule like oil/filter servicing. In other cases I say "Screw Dodge" and change (or will have it changed) the coolant. And I'll have the transmission/diff fluid changed earlier too.
 

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Ok, I was wondering considering I live in a high humidity area. Anyway I always have changed the transmission fluid every 5 years regardless on my other vehicles. It's been awhile since I bought a new one. I prefer to change any fluids rather than having something go bad.
 

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Ok, I was wondering considering I live in a high humidity area. Anyway I always have changed the transmission fluid every 5 years regardless on my other vehicles. It's been awhile since I bought a new one. I prefer to change any fluids rather than having something go bad.
High humidity, high temperature (or low temperature) and dusty areas can be classified as harsh usage areas and in some cases an automaker can specify more frequent services because of this.

For example the VW dealer in Merriam KS had a sign on the wall that VW had declared the Merriam KS area (and I don't know how far out this extended) to be a harsh usage area and thus reduced the oil change interval from 10K miles to 5K miles. I would have serviced my VW's oil every 5K miles regardless.

AFAIK there is no time call out on transmission/diff fluid changes. If there is a scheduled service it is based on miles. Even though you live in a humid area the transmission doesn't get water in its fluid like the engine does. The engine oil is contaminated as a result of combustion. While the transmission can be vented and I believe air can flow in and out as the transmission cools or warms up and this is from just sitting say outside and the car going through the day and the temperature changes that occur the transmission fluid gets hot enough to boil the water out. Really water contamination is not a problem. And unlike engine oil the transmission fluid does not accumulate acidic compounds that combine with the water to from acids.

But if your year to year usage of the car is consistent at say 12K miles per year, then every 5 years is the same as say servicing the transmission every 60K miles. 'course, even if you only drive the car 5K miles a year if you want to change the transmssion fluid every 5 years, 25K miles that's your decision.

Just to add when I buy a car I do so with the intention of keeping the car a long time, as in forever. So I like to start the car out on the right foot and give it early services like an early oil/filter service and transmission/diff fluid services. Then I like to follow a generally more frequent schedule of servicing than the factory calls for. I do this even though so far I have not kept a car forever. My period of ownership has run from 4 months/28K miles to 17 years/317K miles. But with every car I've never had an engine or drivetrain problem arising from lubrication.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Rockster, exactly on point with what experiences I had in the past. My Grand Am's water pump blew up after 17 years (mostly stop and go, 15 minute travels). Had I just followed mileage instead of doing the fluid changes it probably would have been leaking. I didnt change the transmission fluid for 10 years and the overdrive on it has been slipping at highway speeds (accelerating) a little since then. It's fine if I let off on the gas and then try accelerating again so its probably just gummed up somewhere around the overdrive gears. So I think every 5 years might be a good thing anyways so no dirt or metal shavings will mess with the internals and like you said that's about when most drivers hit 60k anyways.

The other thing I was looking at was the gas. I realized that I still have at least a month old gas in the tank which is now a bit below in the middle of a quarter tank, I just got 'low' on my range estimate.. was wondering if that stabilizer stuff will help as I haven't driven this week to let the Fluid Film really soak, besides it's been raining anyway. And then use some seafoam when I start driving it to work.

One nice day I'll may just have to drive it around until the needle reaches near empty and add some Shell Gas along with a bit of seafoam and drive it around again some more.
 
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