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Toyota Camry Tranny Fluid Change

I have a 2004 Toyota Camry, 4 cyl., auto transmission, with about 75,500 miles. I have never changed the transmission fluid. When I was a a quick oil change place at 75,000 miles, the oil change guy said I should have them flush and refill my transmission fluid. Since I am skeptical, cynical and cheap by nature, I figured he was just trying to sell me a $130 service on top of the $25 oil change.



I asked my local mechanic, who said that if I haven't been changing the tranny fluid regularly every 30,000 miles or so, changing it now would "blow the transmission" because the viscosity of the new fluid was so different than the dirty old fluid with metal particles and other gunk in it.



Can I and should I have the tranny fluid flushed and changed?
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Comments

  • edited January 2010
    You would get as many opinions on this as the miles on your car. Seems like best practice would be to do a pan drop and fluid & filter change now. Repeat in 15KM. Your transmission has a drain plug and that makes the job easy. On the 2nd change you might want to skip the pan drop and just drain and refill the tranny. Make sure you buy the ATF from the dealer. If I am not wrong your car calls for Type IV ATF from Toyota and it is a formula limited to Toyota. Check your owner's manual...
  • edited January 2010
    Galant is right, and do NOT do a flush!
    Also if not done you need to replace brake fluid and bleed brakes,replace anti freeze.
    Ask around and find a good local repair shop. I would not use quick lube or trans or tire store.
  • edited January 2010
    Yes, you should have the transmission fluid changed, but I don't think you should allow either the "oil change place" or your local mechanic, to change it.

    I'd stay away from the oil change place because I think these places should be avoided at all costs, even for oil changes.

    I'd stay away from the local mechanic because he's really thinking old school on this issue.

    How can new fluid possibly be bad for the transmission? If he believes that why does he change oil in an engine? Isn't he worried about the new oil "blowing the engine?"

    You should have been having the transmission fluid replaced at the interval specified in the owner's manual, but even though you haven't, it's still "better late than never."

    Replace the fluid, and if there's a filter it should be replaced, too. Use only Toyota automatic transmission fluid. I'd suggest you allow a Toyota dealer to service the transmission, but I doubt you'll be willing to spend the money.
  • edited January 2010
    Mcparadise has summed it up very well.
    Have the trans fluid changed--NOT flushed.

    And, whatever you do, please stay away from quick oil change places.
    Since many of the employees at those places cannot do a simple oil change without damaging the (pick one or more) engine/transmission/cooling system/brake hydraulic system, you are courting danger by using them for the servicing of your car.
  • edited January 2010
    Just get it changed not flushed at an indepedent and don't believe bunk from local guy.

    Majority of drivers never do it and make it into the 150k-200k range without any issues. Doing it every 30k-75k is good measure if not specified.

    If it fails it is very expensive to replace.
  • edited January 2010
    Someone who is "cheap by nature" should prefer spending a small amount of money on required maintenance versus spending at least $1000 on the new transmission that may be looming in your future.
  • edited January 2010
    I have a 2005 camry. I'd drain the fluid, drop the pan, change the trans filter and then refill with castrol import trans fluid. The problem is the 2005 camry has like 3 transmissions and the after market filter I bought at Pep Boys fit the gasket but not the filter. Another kit fit the filter and not the gasket so I had to buy both. Cost $60. Castrol is $5 a quart and that's 20 bucks. Get an offset wrench to get at 2-3 bolts on the left side that is tight. Will take you 3 hours max. Have fun. It's easy and you'll know it was done right. I change my fluid every 9K and the filter 30-50K.
  • edited January 2010
    So $60 is still less than dealer price for the set?

    Also, do you know the torque for the pan bolts?

    I am getting the Type IV from local dealer for $4.29, but so far I haven't dropped the pan.
  • edited January 2010
    $1000 will not put in a new transmission in a Toyota. It might make a down payment on one. Those suckers are expensive.
  • edited January 2010
    >>How can new fluid possibly be bad for the transmission? If he believes that why does he change oil in an engine? Isn't he worried about the new oil "blowing the engine?"

    You are right, he may be old school. But, I have followed this debate for years, and the reasoning, which I do not think applies for a Camry, is flushing it knocks loose all sorts of embedded crud and that can screw up the transmission. This is one of those "everyone has two or three opinions" topics, and I personally do not buy it. This car is not that old.

    Other people say the reason transmissions fail after a long delayed flush or replace is simply because they don't think to service it until it already starts acting badly, and it was going to blow anyway.

    Different people do different things. Every so often when I think of it, I drop 3 quarts in my Sienna and add back three quarts of synthetic fluid. I am told the Sienna does not have a filter but a screen, and they do not require it be changed. If yours has a filter, then I'd agree to change it.
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