2015 Rav 4 trans fluid change issues

toyota
rav4

#1

I’m trying to change my trans fluid on 2014 Rav 4. I took the tire off, panel off, and tried taking out the “WS” fill plug before draining the fluid from the pan. I couldn’t get that bolt to pry loose. I used a 24mm long neck socket with a 6" socket. I don’t have a longer socket for torque so I gave up (actually pulled my groin muscle trying to tug it free). I went to the Toyota place in town and asked if they will break it free for me. After hearing 4 people tell me the fluid is “lifetime” and doesn’t need to be changed, they said they have a machine which fills from the drain plug and that they never ever take the WS fill plug out. The guy said they recommend not to do the service and leave the original fluid in the trans and they don’t even stock the metal gasket for the drain plug. Go figure. So I asked why did Toyota put one there if you’re not supposed to take it out. I wish I can drain it from the pan and then use a pump to fill it from the bottom. once full and I pull the hose out, if overfilled, it will drain out. Problem is if I drain it and don’t have a correct size hose or can fill it up, I’m screwed (tow to Toyota I guess which will cost 200 plus tow). My plan is to take it to an independent shop to help me break that fill plug loose and then go home and finish the job.

Has anyone done this before at home? how hard was it to get the plug off? I’m turning counter clockwise so I hope that’s the right way and it’s not a reverse thread plug. Once open, did anyone fill from there and then finish the job? thanks for your help. I hate paying someone for something that I feel I can do.


#2

sorry, 2015 rav 5. the Camrys are like this too so any camry owner might help. thanks


#3

what does your owner’s manual say about transmission fluid change?


#4

take it to the dealer but the dealer says lifetime fluid. If you search the net, some say don’t even use the WS Toyota fluid as it’s not synthetic and is trash. The dealer said not to change the fluid as it’s good for the lifetime of the vehicle. Sure it is. Thanks for the reply but this is one case where the manual and dealer are wrong. Search the net. They say the fluid breaks down at 50K or so.


#5

Toyota touts their ‘World’ tranny fluid as lasting a life time. But no matter what you call it, it is a hydrocarbon fluid that will break down over time and heat. I had my local independent mechanic change it for me, have not tried it my self.


#6

Since I don’t have a lift I take my Toyotas to have the tranny fluid changed. Place I take it to is a transmission specialist. And they most definitely remove the plug. They also drop the pan and replace the filter.

It is a lifetime fluid, but I still replace mine every 50k miles. Tranny fluid is cheap…transmissions aren’t.


#7

The first step would be to buy a wrench or a long handled ratchet, I have never found one that I couldn’t loosen with an ordinary wrench (15/16" will work).


#8

Order and have in hand the “metal gasket” you noted as a suggestion before you try again


#9

This is a 2015 vehicle so it should have a fair amount of time left on the drive line warranty. I would have a shop do all of the work and have actual receipts at least until the warranty is over. Paying to have the plug loosened and then buying fluid might not be that big of a savings.


#10

costs 200 at Toyota to change the fluid. It might cost me 40-50 bucks for a shop to break the bolt free but then I can do my own changes. car has 10,500 on it now but like other said, the fluid gets hot and degrades. if you search WS Toyota fluid online, one poster said it’s not even synthetic. And I paid $8 per quart which makes me suspicious. Their anti freeze is 22 for a 50/50 blend. You can get undiluted for 11 bucks/prestone so to sell the trans fluid that’s supposed to be lifetime, you’d think they would charge more than 8 bucks. Lots are suggestion Valvoline maxlife fluid as a replacement. Using prestone or Valvoline doesn’t void the warranty.

Granted, the car is on the ground, and I have a 6" socket so I can’t get leverage. I don’t want to round the nut/bolt so I guess I’ll take it to a professional and let them lossen it. I have 3 sets of metal gaskets for the drain plug and fill plug so I’m good to go there. I wish I didn’t buy 3 qts of the WS fluid now but at 10K, it should be “okay”.


#11

I also paid 2K to extend everything to 100K miles (wife’s idea) so as long as I use equivalent or better fluids, they can’t say I voided the warranty. I change my oil between 2500 and 3000 (full synthetic or dino) and baby the engine. Have never had an engine or trans issue changing too soon. Just some money.


#12

Who the HECK have you been talking to . . . ?

If you believe Toyota’s factory transmission fluid for your vehicle is “trash” then there is little useful advice I can give you

I am no engineer, and I don’t work at Toyota, but I believe WS is a synthetic fluid

Because I would normally advise somebody to use the fluids specifically listed in the owner’s manual

but if you are dead set against that, so be it

BTW . . . I feel you are planning on changing the fluid WAY too early. I would say change it every 30K


#13

What an awful lot of trouble for no good purpose.


#14

To what are you replying?

The fact that OP wants to do a trans service after only 10K?

The fact that he thinks WS is “trash” . . . ?

Or the fact that the fluid essentially has to be pumped in?


#15

Toyota uses synthetic transmission fluid made by Mobil. They have their own additive package. It’s supposed to be lifetime fluid, but I have mine changed at 50k miles. The dealer only charges for $95 here in Ga.


#16

$95 sounds very reasonable . . .

Can I assume they do NOT drop the pan and replace the filter?

I’m asking because dealer labor rates are relatively high, and $95 usually doesn’t get you much


#17

Toyota’s WS fluid is full synthetic. And all WSW compatible fluid is full synthetic.


#18

WS is synthetic, I have used Valvoline Maxlife in my Camry with good results so far. It is compatible with ATF IV and WS from Toyota along with a lot of other ATF’s out there. Walmart sells them for around $17 for 4 liters.

As far as the fill hole, I believe it should have a 6 mm hex bolt, are you sure you are trying to remove the correct bolt. Just look on Toyota nation forum and RAV4 world. Your transmission procedure should be the same as Gen 7 Camry which is a more popular car so you might find a few pics of the bolts/etc.


#19

I have been in the vehicle repair business for about half a century. Believe me when I say there is no such thing as “lifetime” transmission fluid. You can take that to the bank.


#20

I agree…and that’s why I get mine changed every 50k miles. But I do know a couple people who now have well over 200k miles on their Toyota’s and never had the fluid changed. But I’ll never take that chance.