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Toyota transmission fluid substitute

I have always used the expensive Toyota trans fluid both T-lV and WS. I was thinking of using Vavoline MAX LIFE ATF. I called them and they assured me it is compatable with T-lV and WS fluid.
In their product info sheet they state that it WILL NOT void vechele warranty and if you or your customer have any transmission issues while using it to please contact them.
I would like to find out it anyone has thoughts or experience with this.

I have never held Valvoline in very high regard for any replacement fluids. That said, if they claim it replaces Toyota fluid, I would believe them before a bunch of strangers on the internet. If they hand out bad advice willy-nilly to those that call, hungry lawyers will descend on them like buzzards on roadkill.

A counterpoint question - How much are you saving by not using Toyota fluids vs the cost of a rebuilt transmission? Is it worth the risk? Only you can answer that.

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For pete’s sake, why not just use the Toyota fluid. It isn’t like you are going to be doing this that often.

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I’ll say this . . .

My local Toyota dealers price their atf competitively, meaning it’s almost not worth it to buy aftermarket and wonder if you’ll be alright.

Some of the aftermarket “multi import” atf is nearly as expensive . . . in some cases even more expensive . . . than buying from the dealer

As far as aftermarket Toyota-compatible atf goes, I’d be more comfortable using Idemitsu or Aisin fluid. Aisin actually builds the Toyota automatic transmissions, as far as I know. Napa carries Idemitsu

It seems to me that the difference in price between proper Toyota spec fluid (sourced properly) and MaxLife isn’t more than a couple of bucks per quart. So I generally stick with the actual stuff. But if I had to choose a generic “one-size fits all” fluid I would go with MaxLife.

If the difference is less than $20, or round about, is it worth the peace of mind to you? If you use the non Toyota stuff, and you experience some sort of transmission failure down the road, guess where your mind might start to wander?

That is NOT a warrantee. So if you use it and the transmission dies the next day, you are out of luck.

I am trying to find a better substitute for T-lV and WS. My vehicles are 10 years old and I am sure oil technology has improved.
The car manufacturers do not make their own fluids but there is not much information on alternatives. So most people just fall back to what the dealer tells them. We know that the dealers will lie just to make money. Toyota says that their “{WS is lifetime fluid and never has to be changed” (making that statement saves
toyota millions of dollars on environmental fee). Do you think making a statement like that benefits the customer.
I will probably default to buying the dealers crap again.
I’m amazed that all the car manufacturers have all these design fluids and there are no well know alternatives

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WTH . . . ?

What could be better than the exact fluid specified in the owner’s manual?

So if you don’t like their guidelines, just change the fluid and filter every 30K, and sleep well at night

I don’t understand how using the factory fluid is :poop:

Nobody’s forcing you to buy from the dealer. The alternative is to buy aftermarket fluid, or buy factory fluid from another source . . . and save little or no money, possibly spend even more than for the factory fluid . . . or simply not service the transmission at all. You ALWAYS have a choice

Frankly, it seems that the purpose of this discussion was simply for you to vent off some steam . . .


Go for it! You can be our Guinea Pig! Most folks here, including me, advise against it, but hey! You never know, it could work out for you and save you a couple bucks.

If not then you can learn, adjust, and proceed from there. How could you beat that? You either get excellent results and save money or lose quite a bit of money, but get a real education. It’s a win-win!

Besides, it seems as though you have in mind to try it anyway.

@gdan29 How often do you change fluid, in miles?

They said it would not void the factory warranty.

The only “they” that counts here is the dealer. If Toyota voided your warranty, would you tell them to call Valvoline? Do you have in writing from Valvoline that they will cover damage?

can you please provide a link that confirms what you are claiming?

I drain and fill every 30K. My car is out of warranty. Vaoline MAX LIFE meets Toyota spec. By law car manufactures can not void your wananty if you use non Toyota fluids as long as the fluids meet their specs.
MAX LIFE fluid is synthetic and
Toyota is not.
I’m not trying to argue I was trying to find out info on some other type of transmission fluid. I was hopping someone who may work in a transmission shop might have some experience with different transmission fluids for Toyotas

Try a Toyota forum, like Toyotanation.

Silly, there is no such law.

I don’t know if this is technically a law, but have you ever heard of Moss-Magnusson /

Yes it is a law and I am familiar with it. The following sentence copied from the law states very clearly “…This means that a vehicle’s warranty cannot be “voided;” the dealer can only deny a claim if the stock part failed due to damage or unreasonable use…”

While this law prevents voiding the overall warranty for a vehicle, a dealer can clearly deny a specific claim. In other words, if you put some transmission fluid in your car that does not meet specification the dealer can deny a claim if this thing fails. 5/30…10/30…etc is not a specification. The chemicals and additives included in the fluids are the specifications and they are not published, as far as I know, by the carmaker.

When I worked at the dealer, I discovered it was actually quite difficult to void a claim, due to use of aftermarket filters and fluids.

Sure, we could prove that aftermarket parts and fluids were used

But proving that those aftermarket parts and fluids CAUSED engine and/or transmission problems was no piece of cake. What’s more, the dealership and/or manufacturer often just approved the warranty repairs, so as to not risk damaging the dealership and/or manufacturer’s reputation. Also, they knew that if they approved such a repair, there was a fair chance the customer would buy their next product there, and would spread the good word to friends, neighbors, etc.

We were specifically told to not talk smack about customers, when they rolled in with aftermarket brake pads, filters, and Big O tires. We were specifically told that none of those parts were necessarily voiding the warranty.

I’m not defending dealerships. As you all know, I’ve not been happy with many of their practices, particularly cheating employees out of wages, and such things, without going into too many details. We’ve been down that road before, many times, in fact.

I’m merely stating that the simple use of aftermarket parts does not necessarily equal a voided warranty, even if they at first glance seem like incorrect and cheap parts.