Power Flush or change Transmission OIl

I have a 2005 Toyota Matrix with 53,000 miles. I had the transmission oil changed at 30,000 miles , and the last time I had it in for an oil change, the service writer told me I should have it power flushed since the oil change leaves too much of the old oil in the tranny. The oil looks clean and doesn’t smell. Should I wait till 60 K and have it changed again, or have it flushed now? The owners manual says it should be changed at 60,000 , and doesn’t mention anything about power flushing.

Just have the trans fluid (and filter, if so equipped) changed at 60k.

A “flush” is not called for by the manufacturer, and if not done properly it can damage the transmission. It will definitely damage your wallet.

A few thoughts (though I’m sure you’ll hear others).

Those who push flushing are the ones with flushing machines that make nice profits.

I haven’t seen many, or any, manufacturer vehicle owner’s manuals which specify flushing.

Flushing doesn’t remove the pan. Pan removal allows you to replace or clean the filter. It also allows you to remove the sediment that builds up at the bottom of the pan.

If you have sediment in the bottom of your pan, flushing will “stir” it up, and increase the risk that a piece of sediment will get lodged in a valve body valve.

I would consider flushing only if I knew the pan and filter were already clean, and I knew that the person flushing it used the exact trans fluid specified (instead of a generic fluid with additives added for your car). Since those conditions are very unlikely to occur, I tend to stay away from flushing.

They only want to flush the money from your wallet. BTW, automatic transmissions (what I assume you have) use fluid, manuals have oil. 30K miles is a good interval to change the fluid.

who did your 30,000 mile change? an independent or dealership. When in doubt follow your service maintenance schedule. Mt Toyota dealership has never deviated from the printed schedule.

Ask your service writer how the automatic transmission world possibly survived for decades prior to the invention of the power flush machine! He’s right, a drop and drain doesn’t get everything out, but it doesn’t have to, unless your transmission is having a problem. It is no surprise that the dealer’s pushing unneeded services, that’s what stopped me from going to my Lexus dealer. The service writer insisted that the tranny fluid be changed every 15,000 miles!

It is difficult to say since the language in the owner manual seems to be ambiguous. ?Changed? is not very precise, but it is likely that it means a full replacement of the fluid. It is rare today, to find a torque converter that can be drained and if you can?t, you leave more than half the fluid in there. Even with a drain plug there is a lot left in there. Just dropping the trans pan and refilling is like paying off your credit card by making the minimum payment every month.

The bet thing to do is use a machine or just pull the cooler line(s) and pump the fluid out. Then drop the pan, inspect it, clean it and change the filter. Put a 2-4 (depending on capacity) quarts of fluid in the trans through the fill tube and pump half of that out. You just flushed the transmission. Button everything up and refill.

If your transmission contains a serviceable filter, then “Power-Flushing” becomes a meaningless term, as it ignores the filter and focuses on your wallet…

The dealer did the 30K fluid change ( meant to say fluid before, not oil…)

Unless the fluid is contaminated, flushing is really not necessary. You did right by servicing the trans at 30k miles. You can wait for 60k and service it again. Drop pan and change filter and refill using Toyota fluid. Another reason to make sure the pan gets dropped is that the fluid in the pan is the dirtiest fluid in the transmission so it must be dropped and changed.


If that is his only reason and the manual doesn’t say flush, don’t have a flush done.

There’s nothing wrong with leaving some of the old fluid in, if it’s not contaminated or totally worn out. If the change is done on time or early the fluid was still doing its job the day before, right? The new fluid replenishes the additives and dilutes the wear products, even if it’s half old and half new. The same goes for coolant.

Read this.http://www.aa1car.com/library/2004/bf100456.htm It explains the advantages of using a transmission exchange machine when servicing the transmission fluid over just doing a pan drop and drain.

And I would wait until the 60,000 mile service is due.


I am almost at the 60,000 mile mark ( don’t drive that much) and I asked three different Toyota dealers if they drop the pan and clean the screen when they do a drain and refill of the transmission fluid. They ALL told me, that they do not do that, they just drain the fluid and refill it. Every shop I talked to tried to talk me into a Power flush…

Does it have a pan, or just a drain plug?
My Matrix is a manual so I can’t say for sure:
many Japanese auto trans have no pan to drop and the screen is in the case.

I would just get the fluid changed again at 60K, 90K, 120K etc.
No flushes.

I sent Toyota and email regarding this question, from their web site. here is the following response that I got ( I edited out my real name…)

Here is the question I asked them in the email …

"I have been told by my dealer that I should get the auto transmission power flushed rather than having the oil drained and filled which I do every 30,000 miles. It does not state in the owners manual that power flushing is required and many auto experts I have talked to tell me that power flushing a transmission can cause problems. I personally have had 2 vehicles ( not Toyotas) that developed transmission problems very soon after power flushing them, and for this reason I prefer to drain and fill every 30,000 miles.

I would like to know Toyotas official position on this issue. "

And here is the answer that I received my Email

" Dear Mr. **********,

Thank you for contacting Toyota Motor Sales.

We appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns.

Fluid flushing is not a service/repair recommended by Toyota. In terms of maintaining the integrity of your warranty, Toyota Motor Sales’ primary interest is adherence to the Scheduled Maintenance Guide.

Your local dealership may recommend more frequent maintenance intervals or more maintenance services than those listed in the Scheduled Maintenance Guide. These additional services are not required to maintain your warranty coverage. We recommend consulting with the Customer Relations Manager on site at your local dealership for an explanation of any recommended maintenance not included in the Scheduled Maintenance Guide.

Thank you again for contacting Toyota and for the opportunity to address your concerns.

If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to http://www.toyota.com/help/contactus.html.

Renee Toussaint
Toyota Customer Experience "