As a rule I take my wife’s Sienna to the local mechanic for maintenance, it keeps her happy. I changed the oil and filter for the first time this weekend, while I was underneath I noticed the transmission pan had a drain plug. At the 40k mark I asked the local mechanic to do a pan drop and filter change, he told me not to bother as it had “lifetime” ATF. I decided to wait until I change the timing belt this spring to do it. At 56k the fluid is still red and clean and the transmission is shifting normally. The fluid is Toyota Type IV, not the new lifetime WS spec. The factory change interval on the Type IV is either 100 or 150k miles.
Would it make any difference to drain and replace the fluid without replacing the filter? To the best of my knowledge it is a screen and not a filter. The Missus wouldn’t mind this, but I don’t think she would be to happy if I dropped the pan. I would use Toyota Type IV ATF and maybe a bottle of Lubegard Red additive.
I have the fluid changed at 30-50K intervals even if it has the long life synthetic fluid, period. If it has the drain plug, I would just drain and refill and don’t worry about the pan. Don’t know about Toyota but on Hondas, the filter is not accessable without some trans disassembly. Even so, when I took my Pontiac in with syn fluid to have the pan dropped and filter changed, they didn’t change the filter because it was like brand new, so just drain and refill with Toyota fluid in my view.
The filter is just a stainless steel screen, and is very expensive if bought from the dealer. I have had trouble getting aftermarket screens to fit properly in Toyota’s. If the fluid is red, then I would just drain it using the plug. Use the T-IV but do not add any additives, you are asking for trouble if you do.
I don’t know why you guys all think this is a screen.
It fits very well, as a matter of fact.
My 2005 V6 Camry uses the same transmission as OP’s car. This is the exact part I installed.
Thanks for the comments, the Wix filter is a good idea, but if I mess up I have to buy the wife a new minvan and Sienna’s are not cheap. I’ll settle for a drain and refill for now.
You are wise to do a drain and refill.
Many people don’t even do that and wind up regretting it later on.
@db4690 is correct. Same story for my '05 Camry (4 Cylinder), Toyota calls it a screen, it is a filter like any other I have seen. The one at Toyota is ~$50, you can find coupons for your dealer. I got mine from Autozone and it fit fine. NAPA gasket was of better quality though.
I checked the Owner’s manual, there is no mention of anything transmission related (check level, ATF type, etc) in the Maintenance section. Never seen anything like this before.
I stand corrected, there is a section listing the capacity and ATF type (T-IV). No mention of a dipstick though.
Let me rephrase that, the manual does not mention the dipstick. The trans dipstick is easy to find and marked “T-IV only”. I checked and the ATF was clean and smelled normal and the level was good.
@edb1961 Trust me, the dipstick is there.
My owner’s manual doesn’t mention the dipstick.
In fact, the picture of the engine bay with the hood open doesn’t even show the dipstick!
When you pop the hood, it’s to the lower right of the “front” valve cover. It sits a little lower. The handle is red.
I’d make triple sure it had a dipstick and tube to fill it before pulling the plug on it. My Pontiac has no dipstick or accessible fill tube. The plug is underneath by the axle and the car has to be raised and on the level to check or fill. So that’s not a DIY job. Don’t know if Toyota and others have gone the same route as GM or not but I’d make sure.
@Bing that’s exactly why I told OP where to look for that dipstick
My 2002 Sienna has 193,000 miles on it. I often drain 3 quarts by the drain plug and add 3 quarts. Recently, someone insisted there is a second drain plug on the transaxle which should also be drained. I have not verified that.
My ATF, which is now changed to synthetic, also looks and smells fresh. I have never changed the screen filter. Car shifts smoothly.
@irlandes FYI you have a filter, not a screen.
Just because a filter doesn’t screw on like an old school oil filter, DOESN’T change the fact that it’s a filter.
Just because the filter is bolted to the valve body and replacing it takes some work, DOESN’T change the fact that it is a filter.
Toyota calls it a “screen” so that the car can be marketed as a “low maintenance vehicle”
In any case, I’m glad that your transmission is doing well
There are others here who are happy to not drop the pan and change the filter.
I’m not one of them.
Good luck to anyone who chooses to reuse their trans filter.