In early 2005, General Motors released a newly developed automatic transmission fluid (ATF) for the factory fill of all GM Powertrain stepped-gear automatic transmissions. The new fluid provides significantly improved performance in terms of friction durability, viscosity stability, aeration and foam control and oxidation resistance. In addition, the fluid has the potential to enable improved fuel economy and extended drain intervals. Because the performance of the new fluid far exceeded that of the DEXRON-III service-fill fluids available at the time, it became necessary to upgrade the DEXRON service-fill specification in order to ensure that similar fluids were available in the market for service situations. This latest upgrade to the service- fill specification is designated DEXRON-VI (fig. 1).
Since General Motors introduced the first ATF service-fill specification in 1949, it has been necessary to upgrade the specification periodically.
The upgrading process ensures that available service-fill fluids are of an appropriate quality for use in transmissions that have been designed around the factory-fill fluid performance.
TIP: As with previous upgrades, DEXRON-VI fluids are designed to be backward compatible with earlier transmission hardware. More importantly, earlier type fluids are not forward compatible with transmission hardware that was designed to use DEXRON-VI fluid.
DEXRON-III is not compatible with the most recently designed transmissions, and the use of these earlier type fluids could result in transmission damage. All current calibrations and certification tests are now conducted with DEXRON-VI ATF. DEXRON-III fluids should not be used for those applications where the owner manual recommends the use of DEXRON-VI.
TIP: GM does not license or support obsolete ATF specifications or the use of fluids that are being marketed against cancelled specifications.
All DEXRON-III licenses expired at the end of 2006 and will not be renewed. Beyond that date, GM will support only DEXRON-VI fluids for use in Hydra-Matic transmissions. Avoid fluids sold in the market after that date bearing claims such as “suitable for use in
DEXRON-III applications” or similar wording. DEXRON-VI licensed fluids are fully backward compatible and can be used in all applications covered by earlier GM ATF specifications.
The use of unlicensed fluids and/or non-GM approved aftermarket additives may prove detrimental to transmission performance and void warranty coverage.
- Thanks to (Name Removed)
Precaution: DEXRON-VI in Manual Transmissions
When DEXRON-III is indicated as the fluid fill for manual transmissions and transfer cases, DO NOT use DEXRON-VI. Instead, use GM Manual Transmission Fluid p/n 88861800 in these components.
TIP: Refer to PIP3836B (Feb. 2007).
If the manual transmission or transfer case indicates use of DEXRON-VI, then, of course, it should be used.
Before filling your bulk fluid equipment with DEXRON-VI, be sure to purge the old oil from it.
Also, be sure to purge your J-45096 Transflow machine before using it with DEXRON-VI.