Transmission fluid change question on camry or rav 4 2015 year

Thirty years ago I lived in an apartment and witnessed people putting drain oil and car batteries in dumpsters. I would imagine it is still going on today.

I remember, way back, when 2-liter soda bottles became widespread. My uncle was a big fan of them, because they provided him an easy way to dispose of his used motor oil. He simply funneled the old oil into the bottles, screwed the cap on, and threw them in the trash can along with the filter. Frankly, I’d suspect that as many people do that today as they did 30 years ago. It’s so much faster and easier than hauling it in to be recycled.

Occasionally though uncle would keep the used oil to spread on the ground along the driveway to keep the weeds down, because it was cheaper than buying weed killer.

I remember back in the day when farmers would take all the used motor oil from their equipment and spray it on the dirt roads in front of the farms to keep the dust down.

I wonder how many water wells got contaminated from that practice?


I remember back in the day when farmers would take all the used motor oil from their equipment and spray it on the dirt roads in front of the farms to keep the dust down.

Yes, and it wasn’t that long ago. In fact it’s probably still done today. Made the road slippery as heck if it rained right after you oiled the road too.

I wonder how many water wells got contaminated from that practice?

Given the low permeability of packed road dirt to oil and the ability of bacteria to slowly metabolize the oil, I’d say zero.

George, your link was interesting, but that seems to only address the issue of the level of the ATF. It does not do much for analyzing the color unless quite a bit leaks out. I suppose that if you change the ATF every 30-50k miles, color will never be an issue.

Ah yes, oiling roads to keep down dust. But when prairie rolls through the oiled roads catch fire. Saw it happen as a kid. Weird but darned scary seeing the only escape route road itself burning.

Also, some oiled roads were sprayed with contaminated waste oil. The entire town of Times Beach MO was evacuated and became a super fund site due to years of dioxin contaminated oil sprayed on the town’s roads.

Here is SE Wisconsin every city, township and county has oil recycling tanks where you can take your oil. Then there are also some, auto parts stores, tire shops, and others that have collection tanks.

We have a tote on a pallet (500 gallon I think) at our shop, and we have a construction company that comes and pumps out the tote for us. They use the oil to supplement their heat in their shop for the winters.

Even with all these places to rid yourself of the old oil…you can still find places where people drop off old jugs in the middle of the night.
I even loaded a bunch of jugs into my truck that were dropped off at a parking area for hunters/hikers and disposed of them. I called the county PD first so that if one pulled in they wouldn’t think I was dropping off, not taking away.

What ever happened to the “anti littering campaign”…remember Iron Eyes Cody???

They retired him like smokey the bear, but those two programs were worthy causes.


The only thing that contaminates the wells here are nitrates; mostly from fertilizer.

Speaking of Smokey, what idiot in DC decided that his last name was “Bear”?? He is a bear and his name is Smokey. He doesn’t have a last name and its not bear. So its not “Smokey Bear” its “Smokey the bear”. Been that way since at least 1954 when I first visited Yellowstone in our Ford. Why they had to spend money on this advertising campaign is beyond belief. They named the original Smokey that because he was a cub bear that managed to survive a forest fire. Sheesh.

“So its not ‘Smokey Bear’ its ‘Smokey the bear’”

I remember a park ranger saying adamantly it’s the other way around.
According to Wikipedia the Smokey Bear campaign started in 1944.
The bear cub was rescued in 1950 and became the living mascot.

It all depends on if you use his middle name : “The.”


I guess I should have made it clear that you set it at the curb on garbage day. I have lived here 47 years and have never had a problem with it. Why would it matter if the jug tipped over, it has a screw on cap on it.

okay, I got a RAV 4 and we’ll see how the trans change goes in 2 years (LOL). The dealer gave me a lifetime warranty but you have to do all the maintenance at the dealer (can’t do yourself) and have to do the 30, 60, 90, 120K inspections etc. It covers the engine and trans/axles only. The normal warranty of 36/36000 miles was extended to 100K or 7 years for 2000 bucks. My wife wanted it. I argued for 15 minutes as I did this for two grand ams (used it for one of them as it was junk) and two 1994 camrys (never got my money back on those either). So basically for 2000 bucks, the powertrain was extended to 100K from 60k and the rest from 36K to 100k miles. I feel had now but I can’t change it. The finance guy pushed it (cause he gets comm) and said the backup camera and navigation system is costly to fix. and the tires are covered for 5 years/unlimited mileage. Oh well. I’ll do all my fluid changes and void the “lifetime” warranty and have it last to 200K and get a new vehicle. I traded in my damaged 2005 camry (front end pushed in) and got 1500 bucks. so it’s maybe a wash. thanks for your help in deciding what to do and how to change the trans fluid.

If I remember Economics 101 paying 2000.00 dollars for an extended warranty then planning to void the warranty is just plain stupid.

There should be a cancellation provision on that expensive warranty. Read the fine print ASAP and see if you can get your 2K back.

There is a very good video on the proper way to check and change toyota ws fluid on transmission without a dip stick.

the way I understand it, the paid for warranty you get with the car plus the 2000 I paid to extend to 100K miles is okay if you do the work yourself and keep receipts. the “limited lifetime” warranty offered by the Toyota dealership is void if I do my own maintenance but the other ones are okay. Think if all manufacturers said NOBODY can do any oil, trans, coolant, brake fluid replacement and you have to do all the service intervals or the 36K/36 month (or longer) warranties are void!!! Granted, I’ve had three camrys (two went 200K and this 2005 had 185K and could have gone longer). So, I’ll do my own fluids and go 200K and then dump it. If I get all the service done by Toyota or similar/certified garage, I’ll be paying 5K or more for the work and service checks. I can put that to a new vehicle. Still mad my wife made/pushed me to get the 2000 extended warranty on the rav 4.

"Still mad my wife mad.pushed me . . . "

“Yes, dear”


gdan29 - thanks for that video. geez, it’s almost impossible to do it yourself now. I’m not the smartest person in the world but why can’t they design the red tube to be positioned high enough that the fluid can be checked at room temps of say 50F to 90F vs. 104-109F or while running the engine and temp at 187F and fill until it comes out??? I read the manual that came with the RAV 4 and it said you can fill it with the same amount of fluid that came out on a drain but it assumes that the trans had the right amount in it before draining. I’m also assuming that the fill plug is higher than the red tube and if you fill the trans till it comes out of the red tube, you won’t be UNDER FILLED. I can see the fluid expanding at 185F but during spring/summer temps, I don’t recall a full bottle of ATF in my garage compressing to 1/2 volume so one should be able to check this on a hot summer day and fill till the fluid empties out of the red tube/overflow tube. My analysis of this whole non-dipstick trans is at the recommended temp of 104-109, the fluid will just be high enough to not drain out. If hotter, the fluid expands and comes out unless you have that special tube/temperature adjustment piece. So thinking about this problem, 104-109F is slightly above summer temps. I’d think that if one did this on a hot summer day, the fluid will be just at that red tube level and you can fill till it stops coming out. Ugh, sounds like a trip to the dealership ever 25K or so. The reason I do my own fluids is like other said: pride, knowing it’s done right if I can, and it’s cheaper than the dealer. I have and others gone to a garage or dealer and paid for a service and not having them do the work. With a vehicle without a dipstick, I can’t know for sure if it was changed as they won’t allow you to go back in the garage to watch. Call me paranoid but I think they have had shows on 20/20 or 60 minutes where they caught mechanics getting paid to do nothing but hope that Toyota wouldn’t do this as it would cause one hell of a sales decline fast. As for every 10K, I’m not sure it was tester or some transman master mechanic on this site who had 30 years of trans experience and he said his cars/trucks get a trans drop every two oil changes and he did the oil at 3000 miles I believe.

Everyone, thanks for the discussion and all your help. It is greatly appreciated.