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Do I really need to change transmission filter/fluid? and for how much $$$$?

I drive a 2005 Toyota Highlander. Currently I have 61649 Miles on it. The guy I go to for oil changes told me I should have a drain/flush and get my transmission filter changed. He wanted to charge me $400. I shopped around and found a guy who would do it for $300 and made the appt for this Tues. My question is should I be paying $300 for this? Is it necessary? The first guy I went to said my transmission fluid was BLACK the second guy said the fluid looks normal but that I should get a routine flush every so often…

You can check the fluid color yourself…read the manual…follow maintenance schedule…

Generally no, you don’t need a flush. Yes you should change the transmission fluid and filter every 30-50k. Even if your manual states you can go longer it never hurts to change it more often than less often.

A new transmission is expensive.

A fluid change will help keep the transmission going for many years. Poorly done transmission service can do more harm than good.

If you go “cheap” you may get more problems.

I don’t like trans flushes, some are done right, many are done wrong.

A trans fluid drain, refill and a new filter is best. If the cheaper shop uses generic trans fluid that isn’t good. Toyota brand fluid is your safest bet.

Don’t shop so much on price. Shop for how the trans will be serviced? What brand of fluid will be used in refilling it? Definately avoid any chain oil change shop trans flush service, they are just not good. Get a price from a Toyota dealer. If the dealer price is reasonable that maybe your best choice to make sure it is done correctly.

$400?? $300?? This is usually a $90 to $150 job…Keep shopping. Try an independent transmission shop…You can DYI for less than $50…

The first thing to determine is if the fluid is really black. If it is, then the transmission is toast.

Just a gut feeling, but I kind of doubt the fluid is black and the first guy is trying to put you in panic mode.

The first guy told me the fluid was black…he said I needed to have a total flush, hence the $400, the second guy told me I should just get some drained and change the filter…he quoted $300. I will be contacting my local Toyota dealership tomorrow to see what they price it at…hoping they will be cheaper! Thanks!

The first guy said the fluid was black but you need to verify this. If the fluid is really black in color then maybe you need to hold off on any transmission servicing.
Black fluid means the transmission is going out and this dark color is due to friction material, overheated fluid, etc.
In other words, start planning for a new transmission or car if this is the case.

I agree. When you do get things straightened out you need to service your transmission every 25-30k miles regardless of what your owners manual says. A proper service includes dropping the pan and changing the filter. $300 and $400 is way out of the ballpark for this. Do find an independent transmission shop to do the servicing. STAY AWAY from the large chain shops, you could run a brand new transmission in front of them and they would find a way to sell you a rebuild on it.