By Walt Silveira, director of automotive products, lubricants, ConocoPhillips Company, Kendall, Phillips 66, 76 and Conoco brands.

The new DEXRON-VI specification handed down from General Motors has created a lot of industry buzz and some uncertainty. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions and our answers to help prepare you for the change.

Q: What is the history behind the new DEXRON-VI transmission fluid?

A: GM introduced DEXRON-VI in April 2005 as the next generation factory fill transmission fluid for 2006 model-year trucks and cars equipped with Hydra-Matic transmissions. It was developed specifically to accommodate GM’s new 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission, which places greater demands on fluid performance because of direct contact between the clutches. Ongoing changes in transmission designs such as clutch operation, increased torque ratings, reduced sump volumes and higher fluid turnover rates require higher quality fluids to ensure consistent shift performance and longer service intervals.

Q: What are the advantages of the new DEXRON-VI formulation?

A: The new DEXRON-VI fluid is a significant improvement in comparison to DEXRON-III (H) fluids. Fluid life is significantly longer due to improvements in oxidation stability, friction durability, shear stability and foam resistance over current DEXRON-III fluids.

Q: What will happen to DEXRON-III H licenses?

A: All DEXRON-III H licenses will expire at the end of 2006, and GM owner’s manuals for new vehicles will recommend only DEXRON-VI for automatic transmission fluid. DEXRON-VI fluids are back-
serviceable for 2005 and prior model-year vehicles where DEXRON, DEXRON-II or DEXRON-III fluids are specified. They are not intended for Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT), which require a separate fluid covered by the DEX-CVT specification.

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