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When To Flush Transmission Fluid?


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#1 Sika

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 01:15 PM

'05 Corolla LE
39,750 miles

I get the oil changed & fluids checked on a very regular basis at the dealership. Yet, I went to a tire store to have a nail removed, and they told me my transmission fluid was burnt & needed to be flushed. Now, I think they were probably trying to rip me off, considering they were going to charge me over $300 to do this, but it got me thinking, when should I have it flushed?

The owner's manual doesn't say to do it at 30,000 miles, and I would have thought that the toyota dealership would have at least mentioned it if it were really burnt.

Should I go back and have the transmission fluid changed out? Is it worth the extra money to have them do a 13-qt flush vs. a drain & 3 new qts? I haven't experienced any problems with shifting or anything.

Thanks for your help!!

#2 fishexpo101

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 01:49 PM

Drain and refills are all that are necessary. Flushes are not needed unless you have burnt the fluid, from towning or similar, or a heavily neglected transaxle that is on its last legs. Even then, I'b be wary of flushes, as many will do more harm than good. I'd only take it to the dealership - if I wanted to flush the tranny for any reason - but drain and refill every 30K-60K is all that you really need.

The Toyota Type T-IV AFT also tends to discolor very quickly on some cars - can't go by color anymore. Burnt would indicate a problem, but since was a tire shop - I'd be willing to bet they just are trying a typical scare tactic to scam some money off you. Happens at almost every tire shop I've been to - just tell my wife to ignore them and just get the tire worked on only. As some of the stuff they try to peddle is incredibly absurd.

#3 Bikeman982

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 02:59 AM

Why would a tire shop be checking your tranny fluid?
Did you ask them to do that?
Did they also check your oil, power steering fluid, coolant fluid, battery charge, brake shoes and brake fluid??
Did they do a 25, 50, 100 point check??
I think they are trying to get your money and you should not listen to their scare tactics.

#4 TRCar54

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 08:05 AM

I agree with all of the above. They are trying to fleece you of your hard earned funds. It's an easy job and that is why they are trying to get you to bite for the big buck service that they are offering.

Sears is or was pretty well known for this nonsense. Back in the early 90's if you went into one of their stores for an oil change they would measure the height to the rear bumper on both sides. If there was the slightest discrepancy they would try to scare you into new springs because "the back of the car could drop and cause loss of control if the coil spring snapped". There is a small height discrepancy on most cars of that era.

The reason they would try this is that the job is easy, little expertise is required to swap out the coil springs and they aren't too expensive so most people would bite.

Keep your money and do a drain and refill every 3rd or 4th oil change if it makes you feel better.

Good for you for questioning it. If you aren't using the delaer, try to find a good mechanic that is recommended by people you trust and ideally know something about cars.......not a chain. The chains can be very sales oriented.

You might go to the dealer to ask his opinion of the condition of the fluid.

Jay in MA

#5 Bikeman982

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 09:41 PM

You can change the transmission fluid yourself for the cost of the new fluid.
Put a drain pan under it, take out the drain bolt. Wait until it is fully drained, put the drain plug back in.
Fill with new ATF thru the dipstick hole (use a funnel and a hose, if necessary).
Fill to manual recommended level (also check level on dipstick).
That will change enough of the fluid to get you by until the next change.
It is not a complicated process and would only cost you about $15 (est.) plus an hours time.

#6 ScottY

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 06:20 PM

My gf has a 2005 Corolla LE. She told me she did a transmission fluid/engine oil change at Jiffy Lube at 30k miles. I have a few questions,

1) What transmission fluid does the 05 Corolla use? I know Toyota uses a number of trans fluid (Type T-IV, WS, and others?).

2) Are those fluids only available to Toyota dealers? I know the WS is. If yes, should I worry that a different type of trans fluid is used?

Thanks!

#7 fishexpo101

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 09:38 PM

The 2005 Corolla uses Toyota Type T-IV ATF only - no other should be used in its place. Supposedly, there are some universal ones that are Type T-IV compliant - from Amsoil, Valvoline, and Mobil. I'm pretty sure the Toyota stuff is repackaged Mobil oil, give Toyota's past history with Mobil oils. Toyota Type T-IV is only available at the dealership counter - the others are bit harder to find. But if you buy a case of ATF - they usually give you a substantial discount (I got mine for about $3.50 quart - "cash" price, and then sell them to friends that need fluid). The Toyota WS fluid is not compatible with Type T-IV and should not be mixed - Type T-IV is also not compatible with Dexron or Mercon and should not be mixed. WS fluid is generally on Toyotas with the 5-speed transaxle, the A246E 4-speed automatics take Type T-IV.

Many of the quick lube shops use a standard Dexron-III or similar ATF and add a friction modifier to make it "compliant" with factory fluid specs. I would highly recommend that you get the Toyota branded fluid - as I've had very bad luck running non-spec fluid in transaxle (my case, Type T-IV was added to a transaxle that supposed to take Dexron-II/III = dead transaxle).

On Corollas - a drain and refill every 30K for the tranny is a good idea - but keep in mind, that it is not required. Even some very conservative schedules have fluid changes at 60K miles - some 9th gen Corollas, with over 100K miles haven't even changed their ATF and are still running strong.

#8 ScottY

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 10:07 PM

Thanks for the informative reply fish!

I'll ask her to bring it to a dealer for the trans fluid change at 60k miles. Afterwards, will ask her to change it every 60k miles with Toyota's fluid.

Off topic: the Toyota WS tranny fluid in my 05 Prius "suppose" to be "life-time" fluid or last 100k miles under extreme condition. When I change it at 60k miles and perform used oil analysis on the sample, the fluid was clearly not good anymore (high wear metal and low viscosity). Changing it every 60k is a cheap insurance.

#9 gvr4ever

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 07:00 PM

Quick oil change places shouldn't be checking things you didn't ask for anyway. Not only do they try and rip you off, they probably aren't even qualified to be messing with every make and model car. I would have tore them a new one and made someone cry.

Stick to the owners manual. Unless you drive extreme or deal with extreme climent, then fluids don't need to be changed early.

#10 nes123

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 02:15 PM

Hey fellas I'm kinda new to the A246E automatic transmission,I see you recommend toyota T-IV,but can't Castrol ATF+4 be a substitute for this?


problem is in my country we have only the 1nzfe & 1zzfe motor in our corollas with U340 tranny. I have the import model from Japan with a 3zzfe motor and A246E automatic transmission.Unfortunately the toyota dealership doesn't have the toyota branded oil.Based on my research the A246E uses the recommended type that is not available in my country (correct me if wrong).Please advised what other substitutes I can use fellas. The reason why I seek this is because my transmission currently shudders when accelerating from 1st to 2nd gear and also my 1st gear runs too long then jumps abruptly into 2nd gear under slow acceleration.Thanks In advance fellas

Edited by nes123, 08 March 2008 - 02:24 PM.

#11 fishexpo101

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 08:25 PM

As far as I know - try and find the Toyota spec'd fluid. If the dealership sold you the car, but don't stock the correct fluid - try and get a hold of Toyota Corporate and complain.

I've had some bad luck with running a Dexron spec'd transmission with Toyota T-IV (dealership mistake) and have a dead tranny to show for it. NOt sure what will happen if you did it the other way around, but I do know that Dexron-II/III will NOT mix with Toyota T-IV - at least in a way that is healthy for the transmission.

That said - these are listed as Toyota T-IV compliant/compatible fluids (not these are "universal fluids"):

Valvoline Maxlife ATF
Pennzoil Multi-Vehicle ATF
Castrol Import Multivehicle ATF
Chevron Multi-Vehicle ATF
ConocoPhillips, Quaker State, and Havoline don't specifically list T-IV directly but say for use in all Toyotas except WS models
Amsoil Universal Synthetic ATF

Exception - Mobil 3309 ATF - this oil is specific to the Toyota transmission that requires Type T-IV. Some have sent in oil to test and found out Toyota is rebadging the Mobil oil as T-IV.

I would recommend getting the T=IV or the Mobil 3309 - especially if you want to take chances. Others have tried the others and report good results - but I know that ones that have used the Toyota branded oil have gone over 200K miles (~322K km) with no transmission service aside from drains and refills. I cannot vouche for the others.

#12 nes123

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 03:20 PM

Thanks for the advice man,Unfortunatley my car is a foreign used car and didnt come from a dealership.But what I will try is the castrol import one seeing that I know toyota uses castrol in their race cars with no problem,appreciate the advice man.

#13 01loadedLE

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 02:24 PM

Stay away from quick lube places as they tend to rip you off and tear up more than they fix also. I'd go to the dealer and ask them if they believe the fluid is truely burned because it may not be but even if they tell you it is I'd still just get them to just change the fluid with no flush and change it every 30k miles.

#14 madar601

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 07:27 PM

Stay away from quick lube places as they tend to rip you off and tear up more than they fix also. I'd go to the dealer and ask them if they believe the fluid is truely burned because it may not be but even if they tell you it is I'd still just get them to just change the fluid with no flush and change it every 30k miles.


My '07 just turned 30k and the fluid is getting darker, not burnt but darker red. The dealer said this is normal as the fluid ages and is exposed to heat and wear, but said it should probably be changed around 45 to 50 k miles. Doesn't tell you that in the manual, I thought something was going wrong because I always saw tranny fluid last way longer than that, but the dealer says this is "normal". He didn't try to coax me into a $200 flush, just said it should be changed soon.

#15 Guest_madcat23_*

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 12:25 AM

Drain and refills are all that are necessary. Flushes are not needed unless you have burnt the fluid, from towning or similar, or a heavily neglected transaxle that is on its last legs. Even then, I'b be wary of flushes, as many will do more harm than good. I'd only take it to the dealership - if I wanted to flush the tranny for any reason - but drain and refill every 30K-60K is all that you really need.

The Toyota Type T-IV AFT also tends to discolor very quickly on some cars - can't go by color anymore. Burnt would indicate a problem, but since was a tire shop - I'd be willing to bet they just are trying a typical scare tactic to scam some money off you. Happens at almost every tire shop I've been to - just tell my wife to ignore them and just get the tire worked on only. As some of the stuff they try to peddle is incredibly absurd.

 

thank you FishExpo in 2013... this certainly helped.