Transmission Maintenance service?

I have 2005 Camry which I bought new and now it has been about 6.5 years since purchase (not sure when it was built or how long it was sitting on the lot before my purchase). It has about 30000 miles on it. I usually put 50-60% highway miles.

Toyota manual does not say any thing about Transmission service at all.

Q. 1. It is good idea to do it any way. If yes then what kind, Replace and fill or Flush?

Q2. As I understand transmission has some sort of filter. Does one need to be replaced or just clean it?

Q3. What kind of Transmission fluid to use? I am pretty sure Toyota does not make its own fluids? Does it even matter or is there one size fit all will do it? Most shops use one kind of fluids for all vehicles. It becomes too expensive if you buy fluids from Toyota have it serviced from elsewhere.

See the discussions below “My transmission/transfer case has lifetime fluid??”. I think you should change it out soon.

Can’t speak to the technical aspects since I have never owned a Camry, but discuss your options with a trusted independent mechanic and a dealer before you commit to a course of action.

See Mike in NH’s comments about his 4Runner as that type of fluid may be the one you require also. A pan drop, clean/replace filter or screen and a refill should work. Make sure you use the right fluid for your transmission. That may require purchasing from the dealer.

At 30,000 miles you just need to drain it and refill it. If you want to DIY, get the fluid fully warned up to make it flow better. Make sure there is a drain bolt before you buy the fluid. If the car doesn’t have one, you may need to go in through the dip stick tube or remove a panel on the transmission. Maybe you could take a trip to the public library and see if they have a Haynes manual for your car. It should provide instructions for doing the job, and the fluid to use.

One more thing: your owner’s manual may tell you to use a Toyota fluid for this if needs to be changed or added. Here’s another conversation about Camry transmission fluid changes:

I mistakenly drained the transmission fluid from a 2000 Camry V6. The drain plug required a big (10mm I think) allen wrench and is located in the center of the motor/transaxle. The motor oil drain plug is off to the side and you should be able to tell the difference. I refilled the trans with Dexron III which is what was spec for my Camry. You can’t go wrong with using the Toyota brand fluid, it might cost a bit more but why take a chance. Your Camry might take Dexron III but your Camry has a different trans than mine, you have a 5 speed auto. Make sure you get the right spec fluid by checking the owner’s manual, or check the markings on the trans dipstick.

Your Camry should be using Toyota T4 transmission fluid. Easiest source for this is from the stealership. Mobile 1 also has options available.

Yes, this car takes ATF IV from Toyota. The synthetics that claim to fit the bill on the outside market are actually priced higher than the oil from Toyota. Also my dealer sends me 10 or 15% off coupons, so I go there. There is a 10mm hex drain valve. You can drain and refill with 3.7 qts. Make sure you check the level. If you are not completely flushing the system (which I don’t do and don’t like), then draining every 15K miles is reasonable to make sure you get the most out of the transmission’s life.

I like galant’s advice, but I would drop the pan at 60k and clean the screen and the bottom of the pan. Then just a drain and fill at 90k, pan at 120k etc. It takes about a half quart more when you drop the pan.

Keith; I did that, but it is not for the faint of heart. There are 3 pan bolts that sit exactly under a cross membrane, have to jack the transmission up a bit and even then you only get the smallest box wrench in there. You have to reposition your wrench every 1/4th of turn and getting the bolts back on is a beast. Also no torque wrench gets to those 3, so you have to tighten them with feel. So I think unless mine starts leaking, I am not doing that again.

Check your owners manual for the maintenance intervals.

On many newer Toyota sedans (like Corolla, etc) with auto-transmissions, they recommend that the auto-transmission fluid not be changed under normal driving conditions. In other words, changing the fluid isn’t needed. I’m assuming you have an auto-tran. If you can’t find your owner’s manual book that came w/the car, look at the transmission filler dipstick. Pull it out. You’ll likely see a note written right at the place where you grab it saying changing the fluid & filter is not required.

If you drive you car under normal condition, I’d follow the Toyota advice. Changing the transmission fluid – if not done correctly, or if the correct fluid is not used – could do far more damage than simply leaving it as it is.

If uncertain still, visit a Toyota dealership and ask them at their service dept.

“they recommend that the auto-transmission fluid not be changed under normal driving conditions”

They only care about getting it through the warranty period.

Have to disagree with you there, George…I’ve been reprimanded here before, and proven correct as well at he dealership. Change it. If you can’t do the pan drop/filter change, at least drain it, and refill it.

My 4Runner is still running well, at 142K, and I’ve been keeping up with it since my reprimand and dealer correct-ness. :slight_smile: It also uses Toyota AFT Type-IV. 6 quarts with a pan drop, but it’s a large transmission. Still, it’s not that hard to do.

For those hard to reach bolts, I use a 1/4" drive, with a swivel. Thin, easy to get in there. I also have a large amount of extensions, so I can get exactly the right length to allow me to get at them, too.

I don’t agree with the no change either. Its easy enough to do that you can just drain and fill every other oil change since you have to crawl under there to drain the oil. George’s concerns have all been addressed. Fill with T4 (or whatever the correct fluid is for your car) and do not over or under fill. Can’t really screw it up, just like changing your engine oil. Here T4 is about $6/qt which is cheap insurance vs a transmission rebuild or a new transmission.

I just want to add that I only drain and fill my transmissions approximately once a year and have never flushed or dropped the pan. One of my toyotas is nearing 200k and still shifts perfect with cherry red fluid.

I have a 2005 camry (4 cyl) with 136800 miles. I changed the trans filter 2X at 65K and at 107K and am thinking of doing it soon (140K). I have changed the fluid initially at 30K but after the 1st filter change, have done it every 7-9K. I started using Toyota IV fluid but have changed to castrol multi-vehicle and then walmart’s multivehicle. No problems at all. Toyota doesn’t stock the filter. Go to pep boys (PL-1303 kit) or now advanced and auto zone stock their brands of filters. At the least, I’d drop the fluid and change (4 qts) at least every 30K but transman on this thread will say every two oil changes I believe. Get the washers from toyota. If you are going to change the filter, get a 10MM off-set wrench as 2-3 of the bolts on the left side are hard to get at. I got mine at sears I think.

the filter isn’t a screen. it’s a white, thick paper (maybe synthetic paper) but when I did both of mine, nothing was on the paper (it’s open in the filter and you can see it) but the pan has dust in the bottom. Oh yeah, make sure you put those two damn magnets in the pan before putting the pan on and bolting all the bolts on. ahhhhh
and yes, the 3 nuts on the left side are a bitch. the PL 1303 is a cork gasket. the PL-1293 has a rubber one that’s better but the filter in that kit if for a 2005 camry but different trans. I was going to see if I can get that gasket alone and buy the PL1303 kit for the filter. I too wonder if it’s okay to just drop the fluid and forget the filter as it was clean (short of being red from the fluid). have fun

Knock on wood, but my 2002 Sienna has nearly 182,000 miles on it. I have done nothing but drain 3 quarts and add three quarts, and that is when I think about it. Probably on average every 20,000 miles but I am not sure exactly. I can barely tell when it shifts. If it fails, and this was the wrong thing to do, I accept responsibility and it will be my money.

It is my opinion, based in major part on things transmission experts have said on this board over the years, that if you do not change it, it WILL eventually fail before it should.

Drop the pan and change the filter every 25-30k miles regardless of what the owners manual says.

Use ONLY Toyota fluid.


oilman, the Toyota filter is a stainless steel screen, not a white thick paper filter. At least in the Toyota’s I’ve serviced.

That filter costs about $60 to replace, but it only needs to be flushed out normally.