I love my 2000 4Runner and hope to keep it for years to come. It’s in pretty good shape for an 18 year-old car with 177,000 miles on it. I married into it 10 years ago when it had 117,000 miles on it and had never had its transmission fluid changed. Having heard all of the stories about changing AT fluid on high mile cars, I decided not to change it in the last 10 years. So here I am at 177K still wondering if I should change the AT fluid. I don’t have any transmission issues at the moment and I don’t want to create any by changing the fluid, but I also want to maximize the car’s lifetime. What should I do?
Change the fluid. It is an old wives tale that the trans will fail immediately after a change.
Usually people who have neglected to change the fluid, do so once problems arise hoping to fix it. And then it fails… Well, no wonder!
You are way overdue, drop the pan, and take a peek inside, change the filter and re-fill. That will only get 1/2 or so of the fluid but you can see any garbage in the pan and know the actual condition of the transmission. Consider a flush maybe 20-30 K later.
If you haven’t already done it, change the power steering fluid and flush the brake fluid (way, waaaay overdue!)