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Tires and Transmission update

For you regulars who so kindly have often helped me over the years…

Three year anniversary of owning the 2014 Camry last month. Original Michelin tires are down to 3/32 with lousy traction at only 28k miles. Even with my typical short haul stop and go driving, I usually get about 40k from tires. Oh well. New tires going on next week.

Also going to service the transmission early at the same time. Specifically having the pan dropped to check for any fragments. The software update for the torque converter I had to fight to get has mostly worked fine for a year with just a rare blip in low gears. The manual calls for waiting 100k for tranny service. Ha. I think not. I’ll stick with about 30k proactive maintenance. In particular, I want to catch early any fragments showing up while everything is still in warranty. About 10% of affected trannys have required repair or replacement from this problem beyond just a software flash.

And no, not using the dealer who has been a pain in the past. Using the indy shop I’ve worked with off and on for nearly 20 years who always provide excellent service and treat me with courtesy and respect.

Overall the Camry has been a wonderfully reliable vehicle. Soooo glad I traded in the hanger queen Impala for the Camry!

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You’re on the right track . . . !

I’d rather overmaintain a car and perhaps waste a few bucks, versus gambling, and possibly losing thousands. I think a trans service every 30K is a good plan

I’d venture go guess if you went to the Toyota dealer, they’d actually try to talk you out of having the transmission serviced.

As for those tires, I believe we’ve discussed on this website, how factory tires are a compromise, heavily skewed towards fuel economy, at the expense of other things, such as useful life of the tire

I wouldn’t rule out Michelin aftermarket tires, though. I’ve had several sets installed over the years, and I always got good usage out of them. I’ve only had all-season or performance all-season, though. But I agree that stop and go driving all but ensures your tires won’t last long

I change my oil and rotate tires at the same interval. Every 5000 miles. It’s worked well for me. Tires wear evenly and last a long time.

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db4690 Yes, I had the dealer tell me some time ago not to touch the tranny until 100k.

Torque converter issue aside, I figure my typical urban driving is harder on the tranny than highway driving because it is endlessly shifting up and down due to the stop and go traffic.

I have been doing paired oil changes and tire rotations every 5k on this car. On previous cars that did not have synthetic oil I changed oil at 3.5k and rotated tires every other time at 7k.

I’ve always gotten much longer life from replacement tires than originals, so I’m not surprised. What has surprised me is going safely two years with three of the tires plugged and patched from running over the road debris when I’d had the car only a year!

Well, that’s their loss, and another shop’s gain . . . !

A properly repaired tire can lead a long and useful life. That’s not really surprising to me. I can’t stand those cheapo string type plugs that get inserted from the outside. In my experience, they just don’t hold up very well. Proper repairs need to be done from the inside

That’s exactly what happened at the Toyota dealership when I brought my friend’s Rav-4 in for trans service. I was told that “if it isn’t acting-up, we don’t normally do a fluid change”. I convinced them to do it my way, and to change the F-ing fluid.

When I replaced the crappy OEM Continental tires on my Outback, I chose Michelin Defenders. In addition to improving the ride, the handling, the resistance to hydroplaning, the noise level, and my fuel economy, they are wearing so slowly that I think they may actually make the claimed 90k mark for treadwear.

Just make sure the right tranny fluid is used. I might spring for what they sell at the dealer, expensive as it may be, just to be sure.

I have to go back and check the notes I’ve made over the years from reading here as to when to flush the cooling system and brake lines. I’m thinking I should do the cooling system this year as am at the three year mark?

Thanks for the informative update on your new-ish Camry there OP. I think your new car tire experience is pretty common. I’ve purchased 2 new cars over the years, and on both of them the original set of tires didn’t last nearly as long as the replacement set. By a pretty big ratio, probably 2 to 1. I think the manufacturer sees tire tread as an expense to their bottom line, but not a big selling point – other than for test ride handling and comfort; so they install a good quality tire on their new cars, but a version with less than average tread life.

Spot on. At even $50 for an oil and filter change, it’s going to take a whole heck of a lot of overspending on routine maintenance to compare to the cost of even a minor engine repair bill.

On the other hand, my OEM tires at 26k are at 8/32, so I would project a life of at least 50k miles. Tokohama Geolander.

A question on transmission maintenance. I have a Subaru with CVT. manual says:
Differential fluid: inspect every 60k miles
severe: replace every 15k miles
CVT fluid: inspect every 30k miles
severe: replace every 24855 miles

replacing diff fluid every 15k seems extreme, but so does never.
replacing CVT fluid every 25k also seems extreme, but again, so does never.

Any advice?

Is that a typo? Only 145 out of 30,000 miles difference between severe and normal? lol …

Can’t speak to the CVT fluid, but on my 4x4 truck I sometimes had to replace the differential fluid every day on camping trips, if I had forded a stream high enough the diff went underwater.

My mom’s 2014 Civic has a cvt transmission, and the maintenance schedule also says every 25k for severe service

Since it’s mostly for stop and go city driving, and short trips on the freeway, I most certainly did change the fluid at 25k. I went to the Honda dealer and got the correct stuff. A little more expensive than aftermarket cvt fluid, but worth it for peace of mind.

it’s inspect versus replace

I have had original equipment tires that didn’t last very long and original equipment tires that lasted over 50,000 miles. I have had the same mixed results with replacement tires. The Goodyear tires that were original equipment on the 2006 Chevrolet Uplander I owned lasted 55,000 miles. The Firestone that came on my 2011 Toyota Sienna were worn out at a little over 30,000 miles. I replaced these tires with Michelin and these tires lasted only 35,000 miles. When I replaced these Michelin tires, my tire dealer said that Michelin had improved the tires. At 20,000 miles, this set seems to be wearing well. On other vehicles I have owned, I have gotten good mileage life from Cooper tires when I replaced the original. I bought my first new car in 1978–an Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon. It came with Firestone 721 radial tires. I barely got 20,000 miles from the tires. I had tread separation with one of the tires as well. I couldn’t get an adjustment from the Firestone dealer that was satisfactory. The dealer wanted to “adjust” the tires off some phony list price. I left and went down the street to Quality Farm and Fleet and replaced the original tires with the Duralon house brand. I got over 40,000 miles from these tires. I just keep my tires inflated properly, do the tire rotation and hope for the best.

That’s incredibly specific.

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I never buy in the trans fluid inspect part of schedule. The fluid can look clean and still have the additives in the fluid breaking down.

The problem with dealers going along with recommendations such as 100k miles auto trans fluid changes is sheer ignorance and following the Toyota corporate line rather than using mechanical common sense.
Even some mechanics are guilty of this.

I was at a Subaru service school many years ago and the subject of valve lash was brought up. The instructor of course stated that lash should only be checked if the valves are making noise.
Being a disrupter, I asked him point blank how are tight valves checked that are making no noise…
He kept hedging around for a while and finally said that if the engine started running rough that MIGHT be a good time to check the lash.

I then pointed out that by the time is engine is running rough it’s too late to do anything about it because more than likely the valve face and seat are burnt or will soon fail because of microscopic damage. I then mentioned the near new Subaru that came in with only 7k miles on it with both heads trashed due to tight lash.
More hedging before he decided to move on…which shows the tech instructor is equally clueless.

My Subaru manual says the same thing, but it defines severe as used for towing a trailer more than once. So if you never tow a trailer or only tow one once, its good forever, but tow a trailer twice, then its every 24855 miles.

24855 miles = 40,000 km.

Inspecting the fluid is just about impossible without draining it. You have to check the level with the engine running and the transmission fluid at a specific temperature that is somewhere between cold and normal. It makes no sense to have a procedure that is that difficult to perform.

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My daughter also has a 2014 Camry and she just had her tires replaced. The OEM were Bridgestone and she only got about 35k out of them. She now has Michelin tires on it.

Years of reading here and asking questions has given me a different perspective such I know to do better proactive maintenance than in past years. Yes, I read the manual but I also err on the side of caution.

Dad was always good about oil changes so I learned that early. But he didn’t know and so never taught me about flushing brake lines and cooling systems. He was good about tranny service. But without reading here I wouldn’t know to have the pan dropped and inspected now that flushing trannys is the norm. :grinning:

My 2012 Camry had Michelin Fuelsaver tire from the factory and they were at 3/32 when I put snows on at 28000 miles. I would have bought Michelin Defenders but they don’t make them in 205/65/16 size that my car uses. I bought 90,000 mile Goodyear Comforttread Assurance Fuelmax. At 7 to 7.5 thousand miles a year I doubt if I will be still driving when they wear out.

My car came brand new with Michelins. I’ve loved how they handled until recent loss of traction due to tread wear. Just disappointed they only went 28k but that’s better than how I got only 15k on the original tires of the Impala due to the rear end so badly misaligned from the factory it chewed up the tires.

I did my homework checking info on Tire Rack. I also had a thorough conversation with the shop about tire recommendations. My primary criteria is excellent traction and handling. Best options came down to Michelin, Pirelli, and Continental as fitting that along with a good balance on other performance and cost factors…would have to look up again the exact models. Both Michelin and Pirelli are on sale next week at the shop I use with Pirelli more affordable. As money is an issue right now after recent huge medical bills, I’m going with Pirelli which has high ratings right up there with the other two. The shop is ordering those and I’ve an appointment for Thursday to get those along with the transmission service.