When to Change the Transmission Fluid on an Automatic Toyota?by Dan Ferrell
Your Toyota vehicle manufacturer recommends replacing the automatic transmission fluid every 15000 miles or 15 months, based on 12000 driving miles a year. The interval applies to most Toyota models. When you change the fluid, you are removing metal, dirt, moisture and other particles that transmission internal components release during operation over time. Therefore, when replenishing the automatic transmission with fresh, new oil, you help increase transmission service life.
Draining the Oil
Before draining the oil, warm up the engine and transmission by idling the engine for a few minutes. Than raise and support the front of your Toyota on jack stands. On some models, you can remove a drain plug located on the side of the transmission oil pan. Otherwise, you need to remove the oil pan. To remove the pan, first unscrew the side and front pan mounting bolts after placing a catch pan underneath. Loosen the back bolts just enough to detach the front of the pan from the transmission to allow some of the oil to drain on the catch pan. Once the oil stops draining, hold the pan using a shop rag as you finish removing the back mounting bolts. Hold the pan in a horizontal position and lower it over the pan. Then you can tilt the pan to drain the remaining oil.
Refilling the Transmission
On many Toyota models, it is a good idea to replace the transmission oil filter when changing the oil. Check your car owner's manual for the recommended intervals for your particular model. If you decide to install a new filter, make sure to install a new O-ring on the filter fitting too, if required. Before you install the pan, perfectly clean the gasket mating surfaces underneath the transmission and the oil pan. Install a new gasket and sealer, if necessary, and start the mounting bolts by hand to prevent damage to the threads. When tightening the bolts, use a crisscross pattern and do not over tighten to avoid tearing the gasket or distorting the pan, recommends James E. Duffy in Modern Automotive Technology. Your car owner's manual lists the correct type and amount of transmission oil appropriate for your specific model. Add the oil through the transmission dipstick tube. After that, start you vehicle; shift through the gears and back to Park. Turn off the engine and check for oil leaks.
- Toyota Camry and Lexus ES 300 Automotive Repair Manual; Robert Madox and John Haynes; 2001
- Modern Automotive Technology; James E. Duffy; 2003
Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.