Transmission drain or flush?

I recently purchased a 2004 Toyota Solara with 120,000 miles on it. I have no idea of the maintenance history of this car, except previous owner replaced timing belt and water pump. Wondering if I should have transmission service done. If so, do I go with a drain and fill or a flush? Everything I read says something different. Transmission runs great and fluid doesn’t look dark or smell burnt.

It’s a Toyota transmission. Drain and fill only. Toyota does not recommend a flush.

Drain not flush, agree. Might want to do it a couple times at intervals if you don’t know the history. Something to do every 30K.

Agree, drain & fill only, especially since the fluid isn’t burnt. Don’t forget the filter.

What does the owners manual say?

In general I like to drain, drop pan, inspect for metal debris or deposits, replace the filter, and refill with the recommended fluid. I think a flush is wasteful and potentially harmful.

Here’s another vote for drain and fill only. Change the filter as well when you drop the pan.

Drain & fill only!

Drain & fill. Don’t flush.

In addition to what was mentioned . . .

Make sure to use the correct fluid . . . T-IV, I believe . . . just use genuine Toyota fluid, NOT some multipurpose stuff

2002 Sienna here. I use Mobil-1 synthetic ATF. I drain and fill three quarts whenever the fancy strikes me, probably around every 20,000 miles. I have never had the pan off, and I get conflicting information on the “filter”. All the Toyota people tell me it’s a screen not a filter. Yet, on here people insist it has a true filter.

216,000 miles and transmission runs out fine. ATF always looks like brand new. (I do have extra cooling in included towing package, never have towed anything. That cooling system is the one thing I love most about that Sienna. I have mostly had American made steam engines, driving with one eye on the heat gauge. With this Sienna, blasting up a long climb in the Texas Hill Country at 70 mph in second in 100 degree weather on cruise control and the heat gauge never moves.)

However, you have a vehicle whose maintenance history is unknown. I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you if I bought a car whose maintenance history was unknown, I would find an independent mechanic to drop the pan and replace whatever it has. The Toyota dealers will balk and insist the pan need not be dropped, nor does the filter need to be replaced.

Then, after that, I would only do a drain and fill when I felt like it, unless I did something extreme like pull a bulldozer with it,…

I would change the filter/screen at least once. Three drain and refills should get most of it out. When you have the pan put, by the amount of gunk on the bottom you can guess it is was ever serviced. The Maxlife synthetic oil seems like a good replacement for the Toyota ATF and Walmart has it for much cheaper than Toyota charges for their fancy bottles.

I have taken the screen off on my '05 Camry and I guess they call it a screen because it has a metal mesh that can be cleaned. I have changed it twice, but the 2nd time went to the original Toyota screen ($50) because the aftermarket one was not holding as much oil back and that made me think it has different flow properties.

I had a 2005 camry (4 cyl) and did my 1st drain at 25K I think. I did 3 filter changes (50-60K, 125K and then about 175K) but changed the fluid every 10K (or less). Early on I used the Toyota T-IV but after the warranty went away, I used Castrol Multi-vehicle and then Super Tech brand multi vehicle from Walmart. Never had an issue at all. Sold car at 185K. I agree with some that you don’t have to change the filter that often (Toyota didn’t even stock one. you had to go to advanced or pep boys). Mine was a hard cloth filter and it was almost always clean. The magnets in the pan had metal dust on them that I cleaned when I changed the filter.