'06 Camry has "lifetime" transmission fluid. Should I change it?

Apparently, this '06 Camry has “lifetime” transmission fluid. The dipstick says not to change it.

I checked the fluid and it looks quite brown. The mileage is 94k.

Should I change it along with the transmission filter?

Is it dangerous to change this fluid if it reaches a certain color?

I’d pay a mechanic you trust to change the trans fluid. If it has a filter that the mechanic can access, change that too. BTW, it helps to know what engine you have in your car and whether it is an automatic transmission or manual.

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This is not the time to be worrying about the transmission fluid . Your engine has what may be serious oil usage problems . You may find out that this vehicle is just going to need more money spent on it than you want to do.

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There’s no such thing.



I don’t have a mechanic I trust. Would Jiffy Lube do?

Yes, I took a look at the transmission filter and it is very difficult to reach on this car

There is a cat code also. I was told by a mechanic that the engine is burning oil.

I Iive in Florida. There’s no emissions testing here. I think it’ll be okay.

The ATF on your car is easy to change. There is a 10 mm hex socket for the drain plug. I would just use Valvoline Maxlife ATF. It is compatible. You can do three drain and refills. The filter (screen) is not difficult either. Just get the filter and the gasket from the dealer as the aftermarket ones I used to use had some issues. Torque the bolts properly and make sure there is no leak.
Now, if the engine is shot, I wouldn’t waste time.

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I would not trust //////IFFY LUBE\\\To check the air in my tires. :upside_down_face: :roll_eyes:


The life of transmission fluid (ATF) is all about the heat, heat KILLS ATF, but it also needs to be at proper operating temp, 180 degrees is almost perfect…
Regular ATF temp and life expectancy…
175* = 100K life
195* = 50K life
220* = 20K life
240* = 10K life
I’m sure full synthetic is a little better, but maybe not…

Now the ATF in my hot rod at the time that the torque converter blew the stator apart, enough damage it could not be rebuilt, the ATF was still red and looked great, except for the metal in it… It had been changed recently but never overheated and I am very hard on it, full race manual shift, it feels like a mule is kicking you in the back at 1/2 throttle and 3K rpm when I hit 2nd gear and a 3rd is almost as hard, full throttle in a slight curve at 6k and hit 2nd the back it kicking out on you so hold on… lol
I say all that cause this trany is abused and the fluid still looked good even before I dropped the pan before the TQ blew up… Now on the flip side, my buddy that knows better, drove his similar transmission very very HOT and destroyed the clutches and OD unit, even collapsed the springs in the valve body and through out the trans… Had to buy a core and build it for him…

So I would say the “lifetime ATF” is for the life of the warranty, but I did have a friend that had 400K on her Camry OE ATF (bought new) and then someone talked her into changing it and the trans went out right after… And I have seen multiple (about 20) Corollas used for a Maid service (that drove them like they stole them lol) go 500K with no trans issues and no service to the trans… So ATF is the only fluid that if never changed and has a ton of miles on it you are gambling, it might work, it might not… Just keep it full and cool…


The fluid is easy to change, but getting the transmission filter off looks like a pain. You need special tools to access the bolts.

And when the transmission dies whether at 60k, 90k, or 120k the fluid lived up to its expectations. I Change mine at between 40 and 50k and have never had a fluid related failure on my Toyotas (about 10 o them) or any other car.


I wouldn’t even trust the poorly-trained kids at Jerky Lube to give me correct highway directions.

Would they do it?
Would they use the correct fluid, and would they NOT screw-up the procedure?
Not so sure…


sure there is. The fluid will last the lifetime of the transmission. It won’t last the lifetime of the car, but it will last the lifetime of the transmission…


Replacement transmission fluid is a heck of a lot cheaper than a new transmission. And based on your description, it sounds to me like a fluid change is overdue.

Take the car to a transmission shop. They’ll know what to do.

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There is not special tools needed. For the bolts that are under the cross membrane, you will have to jack the trans/engine up a bit (like 1/3 of an Inch) and use patience.

I’m guessing Toyota puts that sign on the trans dipstick saying to not to change fluid b/c from experience they’ve found that often-times the fluid is changed incorrectly, which causes more problems than it solves. If the fluid is changed correctly, changing it can only help prolong the transmission’s life. If I owned a Camry w/automatic trans, and I trusted my shop to do the job correctly, I’d ask them to change the transmission fluid every 50 K miles. If the job were easy enough for a diy’er to do, I’d change it myself every 30 K miles. I’d use the standard trans-service method, remove the pan, clean the inside of the pan, replace the filter (if practical, depends on design), and refill. If diy’ering the job, I’d probably do this twice, the second time after driving a couple hundred miles.


Jiffy Lube uses universal transmission fluid. I won’t use them anymore. If you don’t do your own work, ask everyone you know for recommendations. Eventually a couple places will get good recommendations several times. Try one of them.


We’ve used independent shops for the family fleet since at least 1979, the one we’ve used since roughly 1993 is the sort of shop we’d have no qualms about changing the fluid. On the site Next Door there have been a few people asking for local mechanics. with multiple suggestions for the same shops. Our longtime shop among many.

My 2004 Corolla says the same thing on the dipstick…and I changed the transmission fluid and filter back in 2016 when it reached 90,000 miles. At 94,000 miles, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by changing the fluid and filter.

Edit to add: Make sure you (or your mechanic) use the correct transmission fluid. There were at least two different transmission fluids used in Toyota vehicles during that era, and they are not interchangeable. Do not use a “multi-vehicle” or “universal” transmission fluid.


I tried with a socket wrench and wasn’t able to access the bolts.