Transmission maintenance and repair question

On April 22, 2016, the Toyota dealership replaced my transmission pan, gasket and drain plug, due to what they said was a “drain hole thread strip” and they said they needed to do that because they had to “remove the transmission oil pan to diagnose if the drain plug is able to be removed”. They charged me $620 in labor and $240 for parts for a total of $922. When I went in that day it was supposed to be only for a “complete transmission exchange, flush and refill” at a cost of $134. Did they do what was correct, did I get charged and diagnosed correctly, when do I next need my transmission fluid changed, and is it safe/a good idea to go back to this dealership where I bought my car to do the transmission work next time? I’m a bit wary.

When the pan was removed, they may have seen the condition of transmission fluid and thought it was a good idea to flush it.

It’s recommended the transmission fluid be serviced every 30,000 miles.

You don’t have to go to the dealer for this service.

Most shops have the same equipment to perform this service.


There are pieces of this story missing. The work was done in 2016 and you are now asking about it. Why?

Seems odd that they were going to change the fluid but gave an odd explanation about a stripped drain plug. Was there work done on the transmission before ?

What year is the Corolla, what was the mileage when the work was done in 2016?

Any competent shop can change the fluid, make sure they use Toyota fluid.

Someone damaged the transmission pan by over-tightening the drain plug. The vehicle was ten years old, was this the first time the transmission was worked on?

If this is the 2006 you have all those posts about why are you going to a dealer . You have gotten your money out of this . You have asked about what to buy for a vehicle . Start looking now while it runs.

Personally, I think they should have called you and given you a little heads up before charging you 8 times what they said they were going to charge. Might not have changed the outcome, but I think it warrants a call from them. Whether it was diagnosed correctly, no one can really say other than the people who did the job. Dealers generally have the higher labor rates and might tend to replace parts (transmission pan) rather than fool around with trying to save you a little money by working with the damaged part. An independent shop might be more apt to attempt to repair the stripped threads on the drain plug hole.

The model year of the car is 2006 Corolla. It had 105,000 miles in it in 2016 when I took it in. And it has 160,000 miles on it now. I’m mentioning it now because I’m thinking of bringing it somewhere now for a transmission fluid change. I’m moving out of my house and just found the 2016 paperwork today. But it’s been on my mind ever since. I think I know of a another trusted place that I can bring it to to have the work done. My goal is to keep the car another year or 2 until the availability and prices of new cars gets better and I can save up a down payment.

As far as over tightening, I think that might be the first time the transmission fluid was completely changed although it was probably topped off before?

Might have been the second time it was changed

If the dealer didn’t ask you to authorize the extra repairs, then they broke the law. You were not obligated to pay anything above the original estimate + 10%, without prior approval. BTW, the pan NEVER needed to be replaced, that was bogus. The threads could have been restored for just a couple of dollars.

Now, pull out the transmission dipstick, check your owners manual for instructions. If the ATF is red, you.are good. If it is a light pink, it should be drained and filled. If it is black, the pan needs to come off and be cleaned, the filter cleaned and then the pan replaced and finally (this should be done last) hooked up to a fluid exchange machine and have the fluid exchanged. Only the correct Toyota ATF should be used.

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Thanks for the information

I just had to move from one house to another this weekend and for a couple days I had a lot of heavy stuff in my car and it was sort of like straining the car. Everything is out of the car now. Hopefully that didn’t affect the transmission?

Nope , nothing to worry about here . Your vehicle can hold 5 adults so I doubt you had that much weight in it .

I think you might have over done it…


Haha I never carried that much stuff. Nothing on top or outside the car.

Most people never change the transmission fluid, especially if they know they’re going to sell the car soon. It’s nice to hear that someone does!

Regarding the car with a lot of stuff strapped it: You know you’re in a different place when you see that much stuff strapped to a motorcycle! No seriously I saw a video collection where someone had a clothes dryer strapped to the back of the motorcycle!

At least you had a car!

As far as finding another transmission place, yes, do it. Even if the dealership did the right thing (and without more details we just can’t determine that), they’re charging you more than an independent shop would.

But find an independent shop with good reviews. Don’t take it to AAMCO or some other chain - you’re better off at the dealership.

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