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Is it as difficult as all data makes it sound to change the trans filter and fluid. Is the only way to check the level is to have the vehicle running and pull the plug at that time?
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It's not difficult at all. I drained the ATF in my car and replaced the filter at 105,000 with a kit from advance. The kit came with a cheap gasket for the transaxle pan. I recommend reusing the stock gasket. seemed to way more beefy then the replacement for it. Totally worth it though. My shifts were way more smoother after the replaced all of that.

---------- Post added at 09:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:42 PM ----------

Yes that is the only way I have checked the transaxle fluid level
 

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Not too bad, just watch the pan. If you have had it previously serviced and the tech went gorilla when they torqued the bolts, the pan may have dimpled at the bolts and it will leak.
 
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