Another thread reminded me of a question I’ve been meaning to ask. A friend has a 2004 Corolla with an automatic transmission. I helped him replace a drive axle. As expected, transmission fluid leaked out. I made it a point to tell him that we must use the proper fluid, as specified by the manual. After picking up the new axle, we didn’t find Toyota ATF Type T-IV at the parts store. We went to the dealer to get a quart. After getting the fluid, the guy at the parts counter told us next time we could use Dexron III from any parts store. On the bottle, it says something substantially similar to “this fluid replaces Dexron III used in Toyota vehicles.” What are the thoughts here? Did the dealer give us the wrong stuff? Or is T-IV just overpriced Dexron III? Something else?
From what I know it is different. It is semi synthetic or something like that. Based on a lot of internet reading I have done the only ATF’s that come close and qualify are probably even more pricey than the ATF IV. I get coupons from my dealer and just use their stuff. Have an extended warranty that don’t want to void and even after that not sure if I am willing to risk my transmission to save a few bucks. Now if I was stranded in the middle of nowhere then I will put anything in there and then change it over.
I agree 100 % with “galant”. Few of us are that transmission savvy to take the chance. Toyota autos have very good overall record for transmission reliability with just a few exceptions. How much are you really saving when it comes to possibly shortening the life of the transmission ? The same is true for their coolant. Use it, pay the difference and leave it in for 100k. Their recommended interval chances for normal use are generous. Don’t cheapen the maintenance. You’ll never completely replace the fluid and have to mix it with the Toyota brand in cases like yours. You’ll sleep better for a couple of extra bucks.
My 4runner has the new Toyota WS fluid…So far I’ve only been able to find a couple of replacement fluids that are NOT Toyota…and they are just as expensive.
I would not look at the parts guy behind the counter at a dealership as being all that different from the parts guy behind the counter at Autozone (or wherever). Just a guy full of all sorts of ideas, some of which might be good, others completely half-baked.
The world of transmission fluids is complicated and my own approach has always been to just use what the manual specifies.
Design flaws dealt with by formulating special designer fluids…That’s why each generation of transmission needs it’s own special fluid…
Design flaws dealt with by formulating special designer fluids
You’re kidding right???
IIRC, Caddyman pretty much says that every time a trans fluid type question comes up.
Then I guess GM and Ford has had design flaws for all their transmissions for years…
Dexron I then II then III then IV…when will it end???
The statement on the bottle of T-IV means that the new fluid can be used in older transmissions that used Dexron III, but it does not mean that you can use Dexron III in the newer transmissions that call for T-IV.
You can get transmission fluid that meets T-IV specs at Autozone and other outlets. Castrol makes it as do some other now, I think, but it costs about the same as getting it from a dealer. The advantage is that Autozone etc are open later at night, on weekends and may be closer to you.
“The statement on the bottle of T-IV means that the new fluid can be used in older transmissions that used Dexron III, but it does not mean that you can use Dexron III in the newer transmissions that call for T-IV.”
That makes sense. I agree completely with using the proper fluids, which is why we went to the dealer.
Thanks, everyone, for the input. I think I understand now.
A Toyota service bulletin shows Dextron III not used after 1992.
“All vehicles produced after 1993 with Automatic Transmissions specified to use
ATF Type T, T–II and T–IV.”