Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Transmission Fluid Change - 2006 Toyota Camry

2006 Toyota Camry Standard v4 engine 5 speed standard manual transmission with 100,500 miles. Never had transmission fluid changed and no problem with the transmission. My local mechanic offered $70 to change transmission fluid without changing the oil filter. Is this a good price? My 2006 Camry owner’s manual is silent about chaining transmission fluid as a maintenance. Is changing transmission fluid something that can be done at home like changing engine oil? Anyone have a link where it shows the steps with pictures or tutorial video?

You have an I4 (I assume); if the transmission is manual, I do not believe there is a filter. It should be a matter of simple drain and refill. You have to refer to your manual and see what is the correct fluid and make sure that is the correct fluid is used.


Your manual transmission does not have a filter

You could do it yourself

There are two plugs on the transmission. The lower is the drain plug, and typically faces straight down. The one that’s located higher is the fill plug. The fill plug is on the side of the transmission. Basically, you use a suction gun to fill fluid level with the bottom of the fill hole.

Most manual transmissions have a drain plug on the bottom of the case & a fill / check plug on the side of the case . Check out U Tube for a video .

Just make sure you use the exact oil recommended by Toyota.

No need to ever change the gear oil or ATF in a manual transmission. It doesn’t get hot like the ATF in an automatic transmission does, so it doesn’t break down.

It should be checked periodically though. If it has gear oil, you have to pull the inspection/fill plug to check it. Some manuals use ATF instead of gear oil and some of those have a small dipstick located in the top of the transmission. Your owners manual should have instructions if there is a dipstick, otherwise it is not considered owner maintenance.

“No need to ever change the gear oil or ATF in a manual transmission.”

Maybe this applied to older American cars.
Lots of Corolla/Matrix owners who have had their transmission fail prematurely due to oil contaminated with metal particles would disagree.
I changed the oil in my Matrix at 22k miles after reading that its C59 transmission was problematic; and the oil looked pretty “dirty” and felt gritty.
My older Hondas ('75 Civic, '81, '85, '88 Accords) all recommended 30k oil changes.
Oil is cheaper than transmissions.

That’s not a bad price. It relatively easy to change the manual transmission fluid on that year Camry. The drain hole is on the low side of the transmission and the fill hole faces forward and is easily accessible from the front. I would change mine every 30K or so and use Red Line synthetic to make for easier shifting. At that price it can’t hurt and is cheap preventive maintenance. Those manual transmissions have no filter.

I think it is a good idea to periodically change out the fluid in a manual transmission. Not as critical as for an automatic, but still a good idea. And it is usually much simpler to do than for an automatic. I’d especially recommend it if you’ve driven a lot of high speed miles in hot weather. Just mostly putting around town? Not so much.

If you routinely change your own engine oil and filter you’ll likely be able to change the transmission fluid without much problem. I’ve done it twice on my own Corolla, at around 90 K miles each time. I can’t remember if I needed a special tool or not. I think I recall I did on my old VW Rabbit, but not sure about the Corolla. You may need a special allen-type-wrench, a big one. My own Corolla doesn’t use a filter for the manual transmission, but this may vary year to year.

No need to guess though. If you want to move to your own diy’er services beyond engine oil and filter changes you need a repair manual, at least a Chiltons or Haynes. The manual will say if a filter is used on the manual transmission. A factory service manual or access to All Data would be better. It’s a fools errand to try to do this kind of stuff without some kind of repair manual assistance.

The main problem I had doing this job was finding the plugs. Over time the transmission gets caked in gunk and hides the plugs. That’s another reason why a manual is useful, to tell you where to de-gunk to find the plugs. And it will tell you the correct replacement fluid, which you should confirm matches what your new car user’s manual says. Best of luck.

The biggest issue is having a socket of the right size. I think the bolts are 24MM.

I would have to back up what everyone else has said… 100%. Manual transmissions typically use a type of Gear Oil… Sometimes it resembles Honey…sometimes they do it with ATF if you can believe that.

Just drain and refill…SPLURGE on the factory flavor of gear lube …I cannot stress this enough.

For some reason…the mfg will call the gear oil a 75W or something…yet when you purchase name brand gear oil…it may not resemble the viscosity of the Toyota gear oil…not at all. Now it will lube your gears and function…but shift quality will suffer if the viscosity is differing. Ive run into this many times.

Just refill with the Gear oil that Toyota sells…or its direct replacement without Toys name on it…it MUST BE the same exact fluid if you want to keep it behaving like Toyota designed…and how it probably functions perfectly at the moment. Keep things the same…


I would have to back up what everyone else has said... 100%. Manual transmissions typically use a type of Gear Oil... Sometimes it resembles Honey....sometimes they do it with ATF if you can believe that.

My 84 GMC S-15 5-speed manual used Dexron-II.

Yes… I believe you @MikeInNH my 91’ Ford Explorer used ATF in the MANUAL gearbox… never had any issues with it… I am of the opinion that Ford is the truck to have if not any of the imports. I can say i do enjoy me a Ford Truck…especially the older 80’s F series with the 300 cubic inch straight six…now those run forever. Its my only exception when discussing long lasting vehicles and Murican offerings…I can admit that. Not sure about the newest crop…I guess nobody is…YET.


My '06 Matrix (and perhaps the Camry) calls for 75w-90 transmission oil.
RedLine MT-90 (they love this stuff on the Toyota forums) meets that viscosity spec and works very well.
There is a difference between gear oil and transmission oil, has to do with friction modifiers for the synchronizers.
My older Hondas called for 10w-40 motor oil.
Later Honda came out with Honda MTF, which is notably thinner than 10w-40.
I switched from 10w-40 to Honda MTF in my '88 Accord the shift-feel was noticeably better, especially in cold weather.
ATF in some manuals is no surprise since ATs have gears and bearings in them too.
Just a matter of designing the syncronizers to work with the ATFs friction characteristics.

I had a 2014 Ford Focus with a Manual transmission and it called for dual clutch specific ATF even for the manual.

Of course, the ATF in a Ford Focus DCT never touches those two dry clutches.

The switch to using ATF in manual transmissions is for the most part because of fuel economy

At least that’s what I’ve read

I do remember Chrysler switching to using ATF in some of their manual transmissions back in the mid 70s. I never understood why back then.

I had an 81 Plymouth Horizon with automatic that had a separate oil supply for the front differential that was filled with ATF from the factory. The ATF started leaking at 70000 miles and the diff. getting noisy I refilled it with 85-90weight gear oik at the advice of a local transmission shop and it not only lasted many,many more years but stopped leaking and never made noise again.

This transmission uses standard SAE 75W-90 gear oil.

And here’s a hint. If you plan to change the fluid yourself, remove the fill plug first. Because if you remove the drain plug first, and then find out the fill plug can’t be removed, there’s no way to add fluid the transmission once it’s drained out.