RE: Transmission fluid filter change
There are two sides of this, and appear to possibly conflict. I had a smiliar scenario with my 98 Cherokee, heres is what the service tech said. When they do a Trans Flush that is a back flush of trans fluid, I believe they go in through the cooler lines, cycle new fluid into the lines, and pump out old fluid. The pan is never removed, and the filter other than getting fresh fluid cycled through is for the most part never touched. With that said I might suggest one of a series of options for the dilemma.
1. Change fluid/filter yourself, then drive immediately to this servicing facility to get the flush.
Pro:1. Peace of mind of getting a brand new filter when they do the flush/reservice.
2. Being able to inspect the magnet in the pan to see if excessive amounts of metal are collecting in the pan, get an idea of trans wear.
CON: Knowingly sending new fluid into a recycling container for hazmat, out approx 4-6 quarts of TRANS fluid.
Back flush is expensive I will not kid you, around $80-100 in this area plus approx $20-30 if you reservice with filter.
2. Flush/Service without changing filter.
The idea of the back flushing is to cycle through the whoe trans system, changing the fluid/filter in the pan does not flush from the Torque Converter.
They both have their pros/cons, it is just a matter of knowinlgy wasting trans fluid, but if you are prepared, then that should help.
Hope this helps,the mechanic is wrong by saying the filter is not accessable, it is but will cost. He was right in saying the the filter is not part of the trans flush procedure.