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Automatic Transmissions

Would you recommend to change or not change the automatic transmission fluid on a 1994 Toyota Camry LE 4 cylinder with 170,000 miles? I purchased the vehicle with 120,000 miles and I do not know if the transmission fluid was ever changed.

The fluid is a little brown, but the transmission is not having any problems.

I would have the transmission oil & filter changed. If the shop says “you don’t need to change the filter” find another shop…

I would have the fluid changed. At the same time I would have the pan dropped and the filter changed as Caddyman suggested. Have the mechanic report if there is any significant debris in the bottom of the pan or attached to the magnet(s). This will give you a heads up if the transmission is making metal from a bushing or steel from a planetary or bearing. If the only debris is friction dust, put that new filter in, a new pan gasket, refill to the proper level, and drive on in bliss.

Change it…


thats like saying i had the same under were on for a week, its dirty but it does not stink…change it.

I suspect you will run into someone who will tell you stories about all those transmission that failed right after the fluid was changed.

There is a lot of truth in that. However the cause of the failure is NOT the fluid change, but rather many people wait until they are experiencing early signs (or even late signs) of transmission problem and then change the fluid after it is too late.

I would change it now.

Change the fluid by dropping the trans pan and put in a new filter, but that’s all - don’t let someone talk you into a transmission “flush”. And don’t get the fluid changed at any of the “quickie” lube places.

The two mistakes that you need to avoid is “flush” jobs that aren’t done correctly and shops that replace your fluid with the wrong type. Transmission fluids are not all the same. Some transmissions are very fussy about the fluid used in them and the wrong fluid can cause an expensive problem. If in doubt use the mfg’ers branded fluid of the correct type. Since your car is a '94 a good independant mechanic should know the proper fluid to put in it.