Transmission fluid change or flush or leave alone?

Geez, just searched and I am finding many different opinions. Now I have analysis paralysis. I have an 04 Camry v6. Took it for my 90K oil change and tire rotation and shop recommended a transmission “flush kit” for around $150. I have not changed or touched the transmission fluid at all. I had a 99 Camry that had close to 200K on it before the cat converter went, and I never touched the trans fluid in that car. I did get rid of the car becuase it wasn’t worth the 4K to fix and I wanted a new vehicle anyway.

Now I am stressing becuase I read that flushing a system is not good as it could loosen up or remove the “good” varnish that may have been built up on the parts and actually CAUSE MORE HARM than just leaving it alone. Then I read you should just “drop the pan and clean” and sometimes change the filter at the same time.

Worse yet, I am hearing that I need to take it to the dealer to have serviced as “they are the only ones who have access to the magic Toyota transmission fluid”.

ARRRGGG. 200k on my old car is what I expected, a good 10 years, never touched the trans fluid. Now the 04 Camry has me stressing over what to do.

I did check the look of the fluid and its brown with pink edges, so yeah, it’s dirty and probably might need to be changed.

OK here are my questions…

1. Should I do anything if I have not touched the trans fluid in this car yet at 90k?

2. If I do something, what should it be? A flush or just drop the pan and clean? Change the filter too? and then get me on a 30k maint schedule thereafter?

3. Use the shop or take it to the dealer for service?

I also want someone to guarantee me that if I DON’T chagne the fluid, I will be good for another 110K and that if I DO service it (flush or drop the pan) that it won’t cause any problems. :slight_smile: (LOL).

  1. You should be doing you second or third change now. The old stories about not changing fluid are due to all the transmissions the die shortly after their first fluid change. That first fluid change usually is the result of someone detecting problems with the transmission and then hoping new fluid is going to correct the problem.

    You want to change the fluid before it shows any indication that it is needed. Even if it may show some indication, a fluid change may help give you some more time. It certainly will not cause a problem.

  2. You answered yourself "just drop the pan and clean? Change the filter too? and then get me on a 30k maint schedule thereafter? "

  3. The dealer will not be any better than a shop. Any good shop will have the correct fluid. Dealers are not magic, they then do tend to change more.

Take it to a TRANSMISSION shop. Have them change the fluid and filter. That’s that. Forget flush unless it’s part of removing the pan and changing the filter.

If a transmission fails shortly after you change the fluid, it was getting ready to fail anyway. The fluid change is not the cause. There is no such thing as “Good Varnish” in a transmission, and few transmissions today have ANY varnish…Putting off servicing your transmission will NOT extend its life…

Before you do anything look at this web site for information…fluid exchange instead of a flush?