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When To Flush Transmission Fluid?



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'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!!

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.

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.

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

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hi all, sorry to bump the thread but I didn't want to start a new one.

My 2001 corolla is about to hit 138k the last time a fluid change was done it was at around 85/90k. I know I should've done it before this but I honestly forgot.

Anywayz, last time was not done by me, but the previous owner, and I can't find any record of where it was to know if the filter was changed or not.

I was thinking of just drain/refill my self (as it seems pretty easy) and my question was, does it make much difference if last time the filter was replaced or not? I assume that it would but I just wanted to check.

If the filter needs to be changed I rather take it to a shop, and I'll purchase the Transmission Fluid myself so I can get the stock one instead of the Dex III thing that they put in them. (here's a link if anybody is interested https://www.amazon.com/Genuine-Toyota-Automatic-Transmission-Standard/dp/B00CTUSEMU)

Let me know what you guys think

This link works, although Toyota WS is the WRONG fluid for your 2001: https://www.amazon.com/Genuine-Toyota-Automatic-Transmission-Standard/dp/B00CTUSEMU

Light viscosity World Standard (WS) ATF is for 2009+ Corolla ONLY, and is NOT compatible with T-IV or Dexron ATF.

http://freepdfhosting.com/cd481dc8ae.pdf

Dexron III is the right type for your 2001: http://toyota-club.net/files/2010/tsb_tc001-02.pdf

Filter is just a screen strainer which can be rinsed, but your pan should still be removed to clean it and the magnet at bottom of pan. A drain and refill only takes about 3.25 quarts out of the 7.7 quart total capacity. After refilling the pan, you can do a complete fluid change by disconnecting the return line, and idling the engine to pump out a couple quarts at a time.

Many use and like Valvoline's MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF, even though it's of a light viscosity and is claimed to be "Recommended for use where DEXRON, DEXRON II, III and VI, Toyota T-IV and WS, MERCON®, MERCON® SP and LV, Allison TES 389, Nissan Matic-D, Matic-J and Matic-K, Honda Z-1 (except CVT), Mercedes NAG-1, Mitsubishi Diamond SP-II and SP-III and many others are required."

http://www.valvoline.com/products/consumer-products/automatic-transmission-products/automatic-transmission-fluid/37

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Valvoline-MaxLife-Dexron-Mercon-Automatic-Transmission-Fluid-1-Gallon/15125768

Thanks for the answer!

I'll check those and see if i can find the original one from toyota, as fishexpo said it's better to use those

But if I cant find it I'll definitely go with them.

I'm thinking about just doing a drain and refill without opening up anything, but i'll see what I do.

For the later generations which used a specific transaxle fluid - best to stick with OEM variants. In the case of the 8th gen Corolla - like dom mentioned, plain Dexron II/III works just great. I've used Valvoline and Redline with great results in my 2002.

Drains and refills should be fine - if you do a couple of drains and refills - spaced a couple of thousands of miles apart - you can refresh the oil quite a bit, be very close to a flush at that point.

Dropping the pan would be a good idea, as this point there are likely lots of shavings and sludge on the bottom of the pan. But definitely look into a drain and refill - better than not doing anything and it is relatively safe / effective procedure to refresh the fluid.

I'm going to do a regular drain and refill and i'll see what comes out default_tongue

If i don't like what i see I'll look into taking the pan out and if I do that I'll clean the filter and probably replace the gasket.

Thanks so much for the help, you guys always answer so fast default_smile

Hey does anybody remember where and what tool I need to remove the drain plug? I can't seem to find it on the internet.

Thanks!

For the drain plug - it should be 14mm. Even a standard 14mm socket should be enough to get it out - it isn't recessed, so you don't need some crazy extension or even a deep well socket.

I forgot to ask earlier if you had a 4-speed or 3-speed automatic. A 4-speed (look for the O/D switch on the shifter) - will hold a little less than 4 quarts on a drain and refill. A 3-speed has two separate reservoirs for fluid - one for the transaxle, the other for the differential. The differential has a separate fill and drain plug on the side of the diff - easiest way at it is to remove the driver's side front wheel to get access to those diff bolts. Transaxle here takes 2.5 quarts, the diff will take about 1.5 quarts. Transaxle is filled through the dipstick tube, diff is filled from fill hole in the side - need to use a fluid pump or use a flexible length of tubing to fill the diff casing. Stop filling when the fluid is one finger tip below the opening (as when you lower the car, it should be just below the fill line).

Assuming it is a 4-speed transaxle, drain and refill is a piece of cake. Jack the front of the car up or drive it up onto some ramps. Helps to have warmed the transaxle up to circulate the fluid and help dissolve as much of the deposits as possible. Remove the bolt, drain into the pan, replace bolt (may need drain plug gasket - it is a crush type), and refill through the dipstick tube with the same amount that came out. If unsure of the quantity, start with 2.5-3 quarts and then top off as needed. Start car, run the shifter through each gear, pausing in each one for a couple of seconds - this will get the fluid to circulate all the fluid circuits. Check for leaks. If good - then drive off the ramps / drop the car. Shift into park - with car still running, on level ground - check fluid level on dipstick (look at the cold mark - lower mark) - add fluid is needed and guard against over filling. If you accidentally overfilled it - have to drain it out until you get to the right level.

Lots of videos online to walk you through the process - with either transaxle. Once you get one of these drains and refills under your belt - the next couple of times you do this will be a breeze.

Thanks so much fishexpo! I'll let you guys know how it went! default_smile

Oh, btw I have a 2001 4speed

I just did it.

It was really simple and I didn't even had to lift the car up. (well I couldn't because my jack was in the storage locker and I didn't want to drive default_tongue)

But I guess that it being my first time ever doing this something had to happen.

I didn't see the gasket of the drain bolt so I thought mine didn't have one.

After I was done, i put the bolt in, adjusted it (not to much though) and continued with the process , all good.

While I was moving the old transmission fluid to an empty gallon of milk for recycling I saw the gasket default_tongue and I have it here with me.

I didn't see any leaks or anything.

I suppose that nothing will be wrong and since I was going to do another fluid change in a couple thousand miles as you suggested, I think it'll be ok (I may rush the next fluid refill and do it in the next hundred miles)

What do you think?

Should I start over just because of the gasket?

Thanks!

edit: since english is not my native language I just wanted to make sure we are talking about the same "gasket", here's a pic:

Yeah it should be fine until you drain it again if it's not leaking... Since you have it in hand, you could have it matched to a nice new aluminum gasket (washer), so you'll be good and ready.