Automatic transmission fluid changes in a car - not quite on schedule

Bugsy

Super Anarchist
2,510
787
Canada
So the manual says I should change the automatic transmission fluid in my car at 100,000 km (60,000 miles). 

It's now quite a bit past that and I didn't change it.  Apparently a change involves putting the car up on a hoist, removing a bunch of stuff to get to the transmission oil pan, etc.  

Doing a Google search, some say just do it.  Some say just use the dipstick tube.  Some say changing it makes no difference. 

So, calling upon all the wisdom here, should I:

1. Ignore it.  The car is 14 years old and owes me nothing. 

2. Pull out what I can using the dipstick tube and add fresh. 

3.  Get it changed.    

The car is a 2007 Toyota RAV4 with 200,000 km (120,000 miles).  It currently runs fine.  The car owes me nothing and I would get rid of it tomorrow if it died.  I hate driving it.  

 

Mrleft8

Super Anarchist
26,659
3,754
Suwanee River
So the manual says I should change the automatic transmission fluid in my car at 100,000 km (60,000 miles). 

It's now quite a bit past that and I didn't change it.  Apparently a change involves putting the car up on a hoist, removing a bunch of stuff to get to the transmission oil pan, etc.  

Doing a Google search, some say just do it.  Some say just use the dipstick tube.  Some say changing it makes no difference. 

So, calling upon all the wisdom here, should I:

1. Ignore it.  The car is 14 years old and owes me nothing. 

2. Pull out what I can using the dipstick tube and add fresh. 

3.  Get it changed.    

The car is a 2007 Toyota RAV4 with 200,000 km (120,000 miles).  It currently runs fine.  The car owes me nothing and I would get rid of it tomorrow if it died.  I hate driving it.  
If you don't like it, don't need it, don't want it, donate it to a worthy cause, and tell them it's due for a Tranny fluid change.... (Tell them It has always felt like it was a Honda trapped in a Toyota's body.)

 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
9,742
5,711
Canada
Obviously long overdue. Changing by removing the pan is the right way to do it. You change the filter at the same time that way.

However some overdue transmissions work better with used fluid. 

If you ignore it and it shits the bed it becomes worth $0.  I'd change it. If you hate it sell it while it is running and buy something else.

 

mikewof

mikewof
45,639
1,210
Obviously long overdue. Changing by removing the pan is the right way to do it. You change the filter at the same time that way.

However some overdue transmissions work better with used fluid. 

If you ignore it and it shits the bed it becomes worth $0.  I'd change it. If you hate it sell it while it is running and buy something else.
This is the right advice, and you DIY it, with YouTube, the Rav4 is a common and reliable vehicle, it deserves the love. And like Zonker says, when you pull the pan, you'll get to access the filter, and also pull all the metal shavings off of the magnet, which might add a 100,000 miles to your transmission over doing it the half-assed way.

Given that, if your transmission feels smooth, it may not be especially urgent, and put it off a few months until the sun is warm, and the beer is flowing your Toyota may not a mind too much.

 
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SloopJonB

Super Anarchist
68,790
12,412
Great Wet North
Lots of auto trans pans don't have a drain plug, you have to pull the pan.

It was done because too many people changed the fluid but not the filter.

 

Al Paca

Super Anarchist
2,023
576
El Lay
The dealership talked me into upgrading to ceramic muffler bearings. Expensive? Yes but good for the life of the car. It’s a Ridgeline. 

 

silent bob

Super Anarchist
8,716
1,290
New Jersey
The dealership talked me into upgrading to ceramic muffler bearings. Expensive? Yes but good for the life of the car. It’s a Ridgeline. 
Damn, I only went for the titanium.  Maybe that’s why they didn’t last!  I am going to upgrade to the Teflon Blinker Fluid!  

 

Foreverslow

Super Anarchist
120K is not bad.  Volvo was running Toyota slush boxes for a while after Ford bought them (got rid of the GM trannies). Volvo says never change the fluid.

They are full of shit, but 120K is not bad.

Perform or get a complete flush where they drain the pan, refill and then disconnect the line coming out of the cooler.  attach a piece of vinyl tube into a milk jug.  you kick over the motor and watch the fluid flow via a plastic tube into an empty gallon milk jug.  At 3 qts, stop the motor, add 3 qts ATF to the tranny and repeat.  by the time you have done this 3 times, the fluid will go from dark red/brown to cherry red and you are good to go.  Reconnect the fitting and recheck fluid level.

Important thing is to use quality ATF.  The quick lube shops use low end crap that can destroy your tranny in short order.

You can buy a case of Toyota ATF on amazon for short money.   If you do this, there is no need to change the filter.  The Toyota ATF is quality stuff, especially the WS-1 (a synthetic atf) , but I am not sure if it was used in 2007.  Your manual will tell you.

 

vibroman

Super Anarchist
Don't Do it

412000 miles currently on Tundra Ltd most at 80ish probably 50% towing a 9K trailer.  Haven't even checked fluid level (you cant). I Monitor Temps...all OK , shift points ....all OK no leaks... why change? Like the vast majority of failure mechanisms on all mechanical stuff. The failure mechanisms for the tranny are not time based so why do time based maintenance? Unless you are in business of..... or selling parts...... The things that will cause the fluid to degrade are oxygen, moisture and heat. I don't have any significant quantities of those in my tranny. You wont either unless you remove that stupid dipstick !!!! 

YMMV

 

mikewof

mikewof
45,639
1,210
Don't Do it

412000 miles currently on Tundra Ltd most at 80ish probably 50% towing a 9K trailer.  Haven't even checked fluid level (you cant). I Monitor Temps...all OK , shift points ....all OK no leaks... why change? Like the vast majority of failure mechanisms on all mechanical stuff. The failure mechanisms for the tranny are not time based so why do time based maintenance? Unless you are in business of..... or selling parts...... The things that will cause the fluid to degrade are oxygen, moisture and heat. I don't have any significant quantities of those in my tranny. You wont either unless you remove that stupid dipstick !!!! 

YMMV


400-some thousand miles ... I would buy a new Tundra if I thought I could put that many miles on it. Did you get it new? Do you do the factory-service schedule yourself, dealer, or just ignore it?

 

SloopJonB

Super Anarchist
68,790
12,412
Great Wet North
Don't Do it

412000 miles currently on Tundra Ltd most at 80ish probably 50% towing a 9K trailer.  Haven't even checked fluid level (you cant). I Monitor Temps...all OK , shift points ....all OK no leaks... why change? Like the vast majority of failure mechanisms on all mechanical stuff. The failure mechanisms for the tranny are not time based so why do time based maintenance? Unless you are in business of..... or selling parts...... The things that will cause the fluid to degrade are oxygen, moisture and heat. I don't have any significant quantities of those in my tranny. You wont either unless you remove that stupid dipstick !!!! 

YMMV
What dipstick? I haven't had a car with a trans dipstick for a decade or two.

Otherwise? Great advice.

Same thing applies to engine oil, brake fluid, coolant, differentials, etc. Just drive the fucker and never open up any of the mechanical bits.

You'll be fine and save a lot of otherwise wasted money.

 
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El Borracho

Verified User
6,698
2,664
Pacific Rim
Anybody here have a left handed metric Crescent wrench?  
No, never, but these new adjustable c-clamps are a clever improvement...

018-1480__71370.1416729986.jpg

 




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