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Transmission flush - more harm than good?

My son recently purchesed from his grandmother a 2000 Camry with about 90000 miles. While otherwise well maintained, we learned that the transmission had never been serviced because on a previous vehicle the transmission went out shortly after such service and my parents vowed to never flush a transmission again.

I have asked various mechanics their opinion and the findings are mixed. About half say go ahead it’s the right thing to do while the other half say to flush it now will loosen up the very “gunk” that is keeping the the thing working - and it does work fine right now. It’s the same online - some yes, some no. Care to confuse us further?

Just drop the pan, examine it real good for any debris. Clean the pan out real good, change the filter and refill. The main reason I really dont recommend flushes is because they are rarely done properly. Shops want your quick money and to service your transmission properly by first dropping the pan and changing the filter takes up way too much time and cuts into their “quick money”.


Do what the Transman says. Drop the pan, clean what you can, change the filter, refill with the correct kind and amount of tranny fluid. Make sure you end up with the correct amount of fluid

You may want to drain and refill again shortly after this since about half the tranny fluid will remain trapped in the system. Does the pan have a drain bolt? Does this make sense Transman?

You can take Transman’s advice to the bank.
A properly done flush after a pan drop will not hurt anything. An improper flush might and many times a flush is done on a shaky transmission to begin with. When a shaky transmission drops dead later the flush gets the blame.


If you find debris in the pan, then what?

Depending on what you find in there. With that kind of mileage you will find some clutch fibers on the magnet. This is ok. What you dont want to see is chunks of friction material, brass, which indicates excessive bushing wear, steel, which indicates gearset, thrust bearing or any other hard part damage, or aluminum, indicating case damage.


Do as was suggested …followed by a cooler line “exchange” …flush implies using some chemical to too many people. Then you’ll have about 90% new fluid in there and should be good to go for a few years. I put a Magnefine in the cooler circuit to catch any stray debris. They’re usually good for a couple of years. For $20+/- I feel they’re worth it.

Special note for Toyota Camry–most have a separate drain and fill point for the differential. On mine (2001 4-cylinder) the diff. uses the same fluid as the transmission but must be drained and filled independently from the main part of the auto trans. Make sure this is done as well.

Would you recommend going to an actual transmission shop or just having your regular mechanic drop the pan, change the filter, and refill?

Follow transman’s advice. I don’t like transmission flushes because it needs to be done by a trained technician and using the proper equipment. Most shops that flush do not have the trained personnel or the proper equipment.