MY OWNERS MANUAL TELLS ME NOT TO CHANGE THE TRANS FLUID…EVER. CAN THIS FLUID REALLY LAST INDEFINITELY? THE FLUID HAS 85K ON IT AND STILL IS BRIGHT RED. ID LIKE TO AVOID A TRANS REPAIR IN THE FUTURE CUZ A 4WD TRANS REBUILD WOULD COST A TON OF $.
Well, you’re smarter than your owner’s manual. What you want to do is have a pan & filter service done every 3yrs/30K miles. This does only change out about half the fluid (sometimes less). If I were going in 85K without a change I’d probably do it twice in the next 10K miles and then go to 30K mile intervals.
Alternatively, for a fresh start you could do the pan & filter service and then a complete fluid exchange service.
And, btw, if you type in all CAPS it means that you are yelling. So turn off your all CAPS key.
I would change the fluid. Also I’d make sure to get Toyota brand fluid in the trans. Don’t go to a quickie lube place, the fluids they use are generic and I don’t trust them or the fluids they use.
It would cost a bit more but for this I’d use a Toyota dealer for the trans service. Better safe than sorry, because in this case sorry is real expensive sorry. If you have a trusted shop I’d provide them with the fluid that was purchased from a Toyota dealer. This is what I do for my Honda and Toyota vehicles.
Manufacturers started calling their automatic transmission fluid ‘permanent’ about 15 years ago. However, they are not really concerned about my application because they are focused on what happens within the warranty period. I buy all my vehicles after the warranty is expired and run them to at least a quarter million miles.
My rule of thumb - conventional flud - 50k miles; synthetic transmission fluid - 100k miles. That synthetic stuff is really expensive so I hope I am not changing it more often than I need to. I do a simple fluid and filter change, no “flush” unless the transmission has failed, which has never happened to me.
My daughters Corolla said the same think, but it was black after 75k. I changed it just in time, much longer and the transmission would have been toast.
The newer Toyota transmissions are sealed and you can’t change the fluid without special equipment.
The manual is incorrect (the marketing people at work) and if car makers want to be so bold as to call the transmission fluid permanent then they should also provide a minimum 250k miles warranty on the transmission.
The fluid should have been changed about 50k miles back (real world intervals) and the fact the fluid is red means very little. It only means that at this point the fluid is not burnt or heavily contaminated with friction material.
Fluid does break down over time as far as the additives in the fluid go, etc.
Tear that page out of your owners manual and toss it in the circular file. Automatics need to be serviced every 25-30k miles REGARDLESS of what the owners manual says. There is no such thing as lifetime fluid.
There are many reasons I love my 2002 Sienna. One on the list is I can pull the drain plug, drop 3 quarts of transmission fluid, and add 3 new quarts. 173,000 miles last week, and shifts smoothly. Knock on wood!
That would be a bummer to have to take it to a mechanic to change fluid.