Fluid Questions

Here is your Toyota car information!

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COOLANT: I just did a coolant flush and got rid of the TURBO POWER ORANGE COOLANT my old mechanic put in. I put in TOYOTA RED COOLANT.

Now every 30,000 when I replace my coolant should I just drain and refill with TOYOTA RED


TRANS FLUID: my old mechanic changed my trans fluid at 77,000. He did a flush and put in WOLFS HEAD SYNTHETIC TRANS FLUID.

Now at next 30,000 miles what should I do. Put in same fluid or change to a different fluid.


Drain and refill with Toyota Red and distilled water is perfectly fine. No reason to flush it out at that short of an interval. If you push the drain interval further, then you can do a quick and simple flush by cycling distilled water through the system a few times until the drain water runs clear then fill Toyota Red + top off with additional distilled water to get it to your desired coolant mix ratio.

As for transaxle - up to you. The spec on it says it "should" work. But lots of universal fluids "should" work and sometimes turns out they do not. Not too many people here run Wolf's head, so I can't comment on how good / bad it is. Whatever you decide, if stick with it - then drains and refills will suffice for most cases, otherwise, you'll have to flush it out completely any time you plan on running a different fluid.


Now that I have TOYOTA RED in my car when is it recommended to change it every how many miles.


If you think change to something else how or what is procedure to do TRANS flush.

Toyota Red has a service life of 50K miles / 5 years - depending on the car - could be more or less. If you plan on 30K changes - drain and refill is all you really need, just have to mix it before it goes in (easier). If you want to push it to 60K mile change intervals, probably safer to flush it out with distilled water first, add 100% coolant + add water to get the right ratio.

As for what fluid to use, as I mentioned before - that is up to you. Again, I've never used Wolf's head synthetic ATF so I can't say if it is good or bad. All I know is Wolf's Head is older name brand - mainly a local brand to the mid-east US, think it is distributed out of FL and is rebadged from Amalie Co. oil - another older name.

If you decide to change out the fluid - remember to do a full flush, generally not recommended to mix the fluids - even if they are compatible.

Here my delima: I never did a TRANS flush before so I do not know what is the right procedure and if my mechanic does a flush I do not know what type of flush to tell him to do.

I do not want to do the wrong flush or have the mechanic do the wrong flush and have TRANS problens.

Now with the WOLFS HEAD FLUID in my car i an nervous because it is not the TOYOTA recommend fluid and I could have TRANS problems that way.

These are my delimas.


You told me befor. When do you change your coolant. Every 30k with TOYOTA RED and just drain and refill.

Also when do you change TRANS fluid. Every 30k. With pan drop and gasket change every other fluid change. Drain and refill only.

Intervals depends on which vehicle I'm looking at and how primarily drives it. These are my maintenance schedules for my particular cars - you will likely have to pick one that fits your schedule, driving style, and budget. There is no one ABSOLUTE schedule - set the schedule according to the conditions of your fluids.

My 8th gen Corolla:

Coolant every 30K-60K, if closer to 30K - just a drain and refill, if closer to 60K - flush with distilled. Lately it has been 60K to keep in line with my other vehicles, save some time.

Transaxle - 30K drain and refill, at 60K - add pan drop, filter clean/replace, new gasket, new plug washer - if towing, more frequent depending on trailer weight and duration.

My 2nd gen Matrix:

Coolant every 100K - flush will distilled, then refill with SLLC (pink) coolant, if using LLC (red) coolant, flush with distilled every 60K

Transaxle - 30K drain and refill, if fluid excessively dirty - DIY flush with ~12 quarts of fluid. Pan drop as needed, verified bottom of pan is reasonably clean with flush, but heavy shavings still present / magnets still have lots of shavings.

My 3rd gen Rav4:

Coolant every 100K - flush with distilled, then refill with SLLC, if LLC, flush every 60K

Transaxle - 30K DIY flush (can't drop pan, frame in the way) - if towing, halve the interval. Plan on dropping pan at ~120K+ or whenever I plan on replacing the struts/suspension pieces.

Differentials - 30K drain and refill - if towing, halve the interval


I am just asking. If I have a TRANS flush done buy my mechanic so I can change to a different TRANS fluid what kind of flush.

I know shops do different kinds of TRANS flush some are good and some are bad.

What kind should I have done not to mess up TRANS. You told me before but I forget.

Pump inlet flush, if they have it - if not, cooler lines with the engine running (ie, use the engine to help pump the fluid out). Or look up how to DIY this sort of flush - should be well within the abilities of your average shade tree mechanic.


What would be the one not to get done by mechanic. Cooler line with engine not running.

I am asking so I know.

If it is not the ones I listed above - then it would not be ones that I would recommend.

I wanted to know if anyone ever used Valvoline MAXLIFE trans fluid. For an 05 Corolla would Toyota trans fluid or Maxlife fluid be better

Also for filter and gasket use TOYOTA or something else.


This was discussed a number of times on this forum - Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF is compatible with Toyota transaxles that take Type T, T-II, T-IV, and WS ATF fluids.

If it is better - that depends on the owner and their use. MaxLife is a synthetic while Toyota Type T-IV is a conventional fluid, if that matters to you. Whatever you decide, if you change the fluid from one brand to another - it is best to completely flush out fluid. If they are the same fluids, then a drain and refill with suffice.

Gaskets - I've used a number of different brands, as long as you match the transaxle and the correct number of bolt holes - should be fine. Material can vary considerably - some are cork gaskets, some are rubber, some are a combination of the two, some are plastic and fiber composites - all are fine, as long as they match the pan and you don't overtighten the gasket. Same with the filter assembly, as long as they match the original one's bolt pattern - you are good to go.

As with any fluid and filter changes / maintenance work - if you have any reservations on which one to pick, always safest to stick with OEM. That guarantees that the filter, fluid, and gasket fit and work exactly as the factory intended them to do.


What trans fluid do you use Toyota trans fluid.

In my previous Toyota that took T-IV - I used only OEM Toyota ATF - too many horror stories with incompatibility with Toyota Type T-IV. Still have some leftover OEM fluid that I have to use up somehow.

My 8th gen Corolla was spec'd for Dexron II/III ATF - so it sees either Redline synthetic ATF or Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF, though the Corolla really does run better with Redline ATF, Valvoline is much easier / cheaper to stock up on.

In my current Toyotas that run the newer WS - I'm running Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF. Seems to run OK with the Rav4 (did a complete flush with it) - the Matrix is actually having trouble with it for some reason. Will probably run Toyota WS in the Matrix during the next oil change interval.

Even though the factory WS fill is considered "lifetime" - I still flushed them out. The first 10K miles, the fluid turned to a nasty shade of brown in the Rav4 - immediately flushed it out and replaced with Valvoline, the car drove nicely with the new fluid. Smooth shifting, no slipping, unchanged MPG - so far, 40K miles on this change, so far so good. The Matrix, had a bit more miles on it before I got around to changed it (~30K) as it wasn't as badly discolored as the Rav4 - did the same thing, full flush with MaxLife ATF - but here, the car hates it. Shifts are noticeably more aggressive, lots of transaxle whine - mileage dropped a bit. Going to drop the pan and see if there is any damage.

That said, lots of people seem to like Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF. Though there is a growing number of Ford and GM owners are having issues with it.

Formulation of MaxLife has constantly changed over the years, especially lowering the viscosity to meet the physical characteristic of lower initial viscosity ATFs like Dexron VI and Toyota WS, but there has been issues raised if it is truly backwards compatible with older DexronMercon specs.

Good example is Mercon SP vs Mercon LV issue - both are indicated to be compatible with new MaxLife DEX/MERC LV spec, but owners know that substituting SP in place of LV or vice-a-versa, will destroy that transaxle. Not a problem unique with MaxLife as this is a common issue with any universal replacement fluid.

Myself, as indicated, it is a mixed bag with my group of cars - only time will tell if MaxLife was a good choice for my cars.