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Toyota Matrix - 2005

I took my wife’s 2005 Matrix in for its 55,000 service which is an oil change, tire rotation and brake inspection. The tech told me the Transmission fluid and brake fluid looked dark and that we need to change it this time or next (60,000 miles). I looked in the service manual and it does not state that these fluids need to be changed. Do they loose their efficiency when they get dark like motor oil? We have been diligent about keeping up with the maint. according to the Toyota manual. How much should;d something like this generally cost?

Owner’s manuals are becoming a political document, sorry to say. Some manufacturers are bowing to pressure from their marketing dept and from governments (EU in particular) and leaving things out of the maintenance schedule, or changing the schedule.

Why? EU is pressuring manufacturers to produce less waste fluids via longer intervals, thus less oil consumption. Marketing departments want car to appear more reliable, by requiring less maintenance.

After all, what do they care, as long as it lasts until the warranty period is over.

You have found several examples. Most experts will agree that brake fluid should be changed every 2 years (time dependent, not milage dependent) and transmission fluid every 20 to 60k miles (opinions vary), depending upon type of car and type of fluid. Be careful to use fluid recommended by manufacturer. You should also check for antifreeze change, and timing belt change (if you have one), as those also are sometimes left out of manuals.

If you do decide to do the tranny fluid change, let us know, there are 2 methods, one good, one bad.

I suggest you follow the Toyota maintenance schedule. You can examine the fluids yourself to determine whether or not they are “dark.” Suggesting to customers that service is needed over and above the factory recommendation is known as profit generation. Replace the transmission fluid and the brake fluid when the maintenance schedule (the FACTORY schedule, not the dealer schedule) tells you to.

If you decide to replace the transmission fluid, tell them to drain and refill, as opposed to doing a transmission flush. Flushing is not recommended.

How do you determine the “Toyota maintenance schedule” and how does this differ from the schedule in the owner’s manual? And how does that differ from the “dealer schedule”? Confused.

Maybe you are calling the owner’s manual the service manual but no matter. Either book should give the same service schedule. And even if it does not specifically recommend changing the transmission fluid there ought to be some statement about regular “transmission service,” typically every 30,000 miles or so.

If there is truly no mention of regular transmission service, this is shocking. But it ought to be done. Note that you do not need to have it done at a Toyota dealership. Any independent shop can do it, generally for significantly lower prices. Be sure to specify pan drop and filter change, NOT the transmission flush. And you can ask for an estimate at each place.

Please look at the collar around the top of the ATF dipstick. It probably has a statement to the effect that the fluid never needs to be changed under normal conditions. If I understand correctly, the auto trans is filled with a synthetic transmission fluid and needs to be changed rarely, if ever. We have a 2005 Camry and the manual only recommends checking the fluid. I don’t know about the Matrix, but since it’s also a 2005 model it’s very likely to be the same type fluid.

Our Matrix Manual says the same thing. Only to inspect the fluid but not specifically to change the fluid. Additionally, there is no mention of any sort of transmission service, other than inspecting the fluid. My real question is if the fluid is dark does that mean it is no longer effective?

What about the brake fluid? We have had no problems with either the brakes or the transmission. I’m not a car guy but based on the other replies, I am assuming you are referring to a dump and fill vs. a flush

The Toyota schedule is the on in the owner’s manual unless Toyota has changed it. The dealer schedule is based on ADP (Additional Dealer Profit).

Listed or not the brake fluid should be scheduled to be changed every two or three years. It likely is listed somewhere in the owner’s manual. It absorbs water and after a few years it is due. This is a safety issue.

The transmission fluid if it look or smells bad, should certainly be changed, but don’t trust any old shop to check it or to honestly do it. It is a common scam. If it has 50,000 miles it would not be a bad idea to change it. Avoid engine oil, Power Steering Fluid and Transmission fluid flushes. When they use the word flush there be very wary. Have the Transmission fluid change and be sure they drop the pan and change the filter.

The engine coolant should also be changed from time to time. This is one I differ with many owner’s manuals. Some manufacturers did produce some cars with what they thought was a good lifetime coolant, but it has turned out they were wrong.