2000 Corolla 4-spd auto, where can the trans fluid likely leak from?

Car is 2000 Corolla 4-spd auto at 65k miles (bought used 3 years ago). Replace CV axles about 1.5 years ago.

When I backed out today, I saw a red fluid in the snow. Also, my trans fluid has been slowly declining (I’ve been adding more in).

Where is it likely to leak from? Is the only place the output shaft seals? Would the mechanic be able to spot it out easily?

I saw some posts where the entire gearbox had to be removed (but i think that was for a manual trans)…I hope that doesn’t apply to autos.

A mechanic with the car on a lift and a work light in hand should have no problem finding the leak. How involved the repair will be will be entirely dependent upon where the leak is. It could be as simple as the gasket around the pan.

Allow me to commend you on monitoring your fluids. You have a leak to fix, many people wouldn’t realize they had a problem until the tranny died.

Out put shaft seals or a leak in a transmission cooler line.

Check after it’s parked again and you see a puddle and you may be able to see where it is leaking from. I doubt that you’d need to pull the transmission out, just the half shafts and replace the seals. A leaking line would be a simple fix.


Should be easy to find. The axle seals are the most common leak.

Thanks, is it called a “axle seal” or a “output shaft seal”?

Are the left and right seals the same or different?

Don’t forget the cooler lines that go from the transmission to the radiator. They have a rubber section where they connect to the radiator and at 15 years old, just say’in.

If you drain the fluid the washer on the plug is a one time use only, be sure to replace it. The seals can be different check with your parts guy to be sure.

Took it to the mechanic and he showed me the left front axle seal was leaking badly. Luckily it had enough transmission fluid (as I added a couple of weeks back).

We replaced the seal and all is good now.

Great to hear back from a poster, many times we don’t know if the answers are even read.

Just curious. Wouldn’t a leaking axel seal drip brown/black gear oil rather than red transmission fluid? Or does the entire transaxle including the differential part use automatic transmission fluid on Toyota automatics?

It’s all atf.

@GeorgeSanJose : your '92 has a set up with a separate differential. I think Toyota did away with that. Check the owner’s manual for the correct fluid though because I don’t remember what it was. I was putting gear fluid because mine was leaking and was on its last leg. I actually had a hose routed to where the brake MC was and would just add diff fluid from there. Drove like that for another 2 years.

This probably isn’t where you’re leaking from, but some of these have a separate “final drive” that also holds trans fluid and should be checked. Often this is neglected on these cars.