New Castrol ATF

Was in wally world getting oil for my Rav 4 and saw that they have a new Castrol ATF in gallon bottle which is “Universal ATF/CVT Fluid”. It looks like it’s better than Valvoline Max Life in that it’s CVT also (don’t think Valvoline Max is good for CVT’s). They didn’t have a price on the shelf but I’ll probably get that next time as it’s good for Toyota WS (world standard) application. Valvoline Maxlife is 17.96 per gallon fyi. Please disregard this post if you know about the new fluid.

I see it’s 18.97 at WMT

Have you been using the Maxlife in place of the Toyota WS? Any issues? My wife’s Highlander specs the WS fluid and I’ve always been a little apprehensive about using anything else, although I’d imagine it would be fine if the Maxlife or Castrol state they’re WS compatible. It would be nice to avoid going to the dealer for the Toyota stuff…

I wouldn’t touch any ‘universal’ ATF, especially if I had a CVT. It’s the one thing I would pay extra for from the dealer every time.


I have used Maxlife in place of WS without any issues. Camry had 180K miles and shifted just fine when sold. First change was at 36K Miles (when I got the car) and then every 15-20K Miles. Maybe overdid it, but better to be safe.
I have also used it in my wife’s Sonata with now at 120K miles without any problem.


A tip for Walmart shopping. The phone app has a barcode scanner which is helpful since occasionally item price does not match shelf price, shelf labels can be indecipherable.
The app also has a product locator.

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I’d like to see an independent test that shows how this Castro’s ATF performs.

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sorry I didn’t see your post/question. I have 71100 miles on my rav. changed the fluid the first time with WS from dealer at $8 a Qt (need 3 bottles as it dropped 2.5 qts). From then, I either used Valvoline Max Life or Super Tech LV/VI fluid that’s WS compatible. I’ve changed the filter once (beck arnley) at about 67K I think and the fluid about 12 times or so. The 1st change of fluid was at like 11 to 12K but about every 5K or so since then. It’s not too bad to change (not as easy as my old camry’s with the dipstick fill but I’ve got it down to where it doesn’t take too much over 1.5 to 2 hours. I haven’t had any issues with using ST or valvoline. I’ll try the castrol in my next drop. I used to use a lot of after market filters (liked K&N #7020) but now get Toyota filters for $4 online but have to pay $9 shipping so I get a bunch to drop the cost.

Mine isn’t a CVT and I wouldn’t buy a vehicle with one. I like the gear shifts. But I’ve used castrol import trans fluid for my camry’s and no issues. So I’ll try the universal for the Rav as it’s a WS equivalent.

yeah, I use the valvoline max life on my wife’s Kia. I did 2 changes on hers (31K now) and no issues. It’s equivalent to Kia SP IV. Valvoline is good stuff. 18 for a gallon. The ST LV / VI fluid is good to but at almost $7 a qt.

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Man, looks like you’re changing trans fluid every 6-7k miles if I read that right. I did my wife’s Highlander at 100k, then again at 150k. Haven’t touched the filter. I thought I was doing more than most since the trans is “sealed for life”, but you’ve certainly got me beat! Good to hear you’ve had no issues.

I think “for life” means the life of the power train warranty.
My owners manual says change at 150K, 90K pass the warranty.

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Yeah, that’s why I put “sealed for life” in quotes. Hell, I’m not even sealed for life myself. I’ve been opened up a time or two already :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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yeah, I’m OCD and change early in oil, anti freeze and trans fluid. gives me something to do also. peace of mind. Remember that the drop and fill only gets about 60% of the fluid out so you need 3 drops and fill at the same time to get like 96% old stuff removed. I just looked at my records and I did the 1st at 12999 and have 13 done so far for the 6 year old car. If I don’t work on my cars or yard, my wife gives me other stuff to do so…

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there was a video on youtube showing a camry with 84K or so miles and it’s 1st trans fluid drop. The stuff was brown and had chunks. might have been a fluke but even with my oil changes, I see a black film settle out in the container as it sits in the garage for 6 months waiting for a trip to the recycle center.

I go for the 30k happy medium.

some of the new fluids are interesting.

zf 8/9 speeds are getting more common across manufacturers, they help keep the gas engine at at an optimal rpm for emissions and mpg.

although they are described as “sealed units” and “lifetime fluid”, zf does license a special low viscosity fluid for them that is kind of clear / green / gold.

they also have three specific plugs on the transmission – fill, fluid check, drain.

zf itself says their transmissions and fluid need to be changed about every 60k miles.

One of the latest castrol atfs is “Transmax Dexron VI Mercon LV” which is listed as compatible with zf lifeguard 8/9 fluid. It’s red though so the dealer will know right away that someone has changed it.

Maybe it is great, my preference is to go with oem.

It’s your time and money. but this is very wasteful of both, and really does nothing to extend the life of the transmission. In fact, there is a small chance of something going wrong in the process and you are multiplying that chance.