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2002 Toyota RAV4 transmission flush and fill

how important is it to get transmission flush/ fill. on 2002 toyota rav 4? i get the oil changed regularly, brakes etc…

Many believe flushes can do more harm than good. Changing trans fluid and filter every 60,000 miles is sufficient maintenance for lifetime.

thanks for the advice! ive never changed it and now im at 124,000 so i guess “if its not broke dont fix it” is my motto now! thanks again…

Think of changing your transmission fluid/filter the same as changing your engine oil/filter. Either change all of it, or why bother?

With that many miles, what I would do is, remove the pan and inspect it for any metal debris.

If any is found, I would put the pan back on, fill transmission with fluid, and drive the vehicle with my fingers crossed.

If none is found, replace the filter, install the pan, fill the tranny with fluid, and then flush the transmission so all the fluid is replaced.


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I have friends who never go to a doctor unless they are really sick. Preventive medicine works just like preventive maintenance; you increase the chances of living a long and healthy life.

Good transmission can live to 400,000 miles with good maintenance; yours will likely bite the dust before 200,000 miles.


Not to disagree but I have a trusted transmission shop that I have used for over 30 years. They do not recommend the flush but just the pan drop every 30,000 miles. That’s what I do. Reminds me I need to make an appointment.

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I have never experienced transmission failure, but I do a fluid and filter change every 30k miles/3ys.
By contrast, I know a lot of people who think that transmissions don’t need to be serviced.
All of them wound-up replacing or overhauling their transmissions somewhere between 90k and 130k miles.

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There’s a BIG difference between that mileage, and 30,000 miles.

Dontchya think? Or don’t you?


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Yep big difference. Crap shoot time. But he asked about a flush and doesn’t sound like he/she/it intends to do either. "If it’s not broke why fix it?’ One wonders why do an oil change then?

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Agree! I have driven cars with automatic since 1965. Have regularly changed fluid and filter every 30,000 to 50,000 miles. 4 of my cars have towed trailers.

In all those years I have had only one transmission problem, on a 1971 Mercury Comet with a C-4 transmission. A slipping band cost me $175 dollars to correct.

By contrast, a person I know had the transmission (no maintenance done) fail on a Mazda 6 with only 90,000 miles on it. The rebuild cost was such that the car was scrapped.

rav4 has T-Iv fluid and i know those trans prefer new fluid at 30k intervals. i do a drain/fill and it does make our trans shift better.

You have a dipstick for the transmission. What color is the ATF in the transmission now? You also have a drain plug in the transmission pan. You can drain the pan and refill with fresh ATF if you want. The filter is just a stainless steel screen.

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That’s what I would do. Because only a fraction of the fluid drains out, maybe repeat the drain and refill soon after. That way you are getting more fresh fluid and less of the old stuff.

I have not had any problems with any of my automatic trannys in the last 50 years, and only had a manual 4 speed with a problem 20+ years ago. I’ve owned about 30 cars in that period, between me, the wife, and the kids.

With automatics, I change the fluid every 30K miles, but the filter only every other time.
The reason being, I have never found a dirty filter in any automatic that I’ve owned. I feel that the tranny is so much more of a closed system that an engine that little outside contamination is present…

Back when I had standard tranny’s I changed the fluid every other year, along with the rear end fluid…

Even these non serviceable trannys…there is still access to drain and fill.


Heh heh heh. Well i’ve had quite a few over the years. To be honest I can’t remember at what mileage I did fluid changes but I hated the job and I’m sure they were extended. I think probably my average was an overhaul about at the 150K mark. I did one at 180K on my 74 Cutlass. The dealer apologized that it went out at 80K but I said no, that’s 180K. Before they had that last digit. I can’t remember how many I did on my diesel Olds but think it was at least three that I remember on the 350 trans. I did one on my 86 Riv and one on my 89 Riv at 350K. I might have done more but just don’t remember. So I’ve used the dealer a couple times but have come to rely on a particular ATRA member shop. Average $1500-2000 each time. I was impressed with that shop because the trans went out on the way to work one day and had it towed there. Picked it up on the way home. No harm no foul except a little poorer.

Yea, I’ve always been lucky with transmissions I guess.

And yes I do hate the drain and fills. It always seems that the drain pan is never in the right place.



to add to this: I was helping a friend of mine to replace transmission on his Toyota Echo, which failed after ~200K miles: final drive developed vibration and clank. what was interesting, his dipstick showed nice pink fluid color

once I had a chance to look at it: apparently transmission had one dipstick/fill hole, but it had two drain plugs: one for transmission, one for final drive gear, and his mostly highway usage worn final drive gear much more than transmission itself. removing transmission plug drained relatively clean fluid, removing final drive gear plug gave us some black goo slowly crawling out

needless to say, now my friend changes his fluid on 30K marks, where before he was in “it never needs to be changed” camp

I suppose Toyota considers 200k miles the expected “life” of the vehicle. Which is somewhat reasonable, really.

I’m not advocating not changing the transmission fluid. I’m just saying 200k miles if the fluid’s never changed ain’t too shabby. Especially since a lot of, or maybe most people trade vehicles before then anyway.

I know of several people with over 200K on original trans fluid, and my neighbor’s Prius went over 300K on original fluid.

Toyota considers your 2002 RAV4 trans fluid to be lifetime.