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Transmission Problem after Maintenance Service

Hi guys,

First post here and another transmission problem. This is for my mom’s 2008 Camry, 4 cyl, 86k.

I recently took it in for maintenance. The car drove fine before. It was at Toyota dealer, who did a transmission fluid drain and fill (not flush). I don’t think my mom did any transmission service prior. She said she denied all optional service prior. I drove the car once on a long trip afterwards (no issues) and it had been parking on the street since. Now, it appears the transmission won’t engage until i hit around 6k rpm. One it’s moving, it can cruise at a rather high 4k rpm, and the car jerks forward only after I really hit the throttle.

  1. Is it possible for a transmission to suddenly fail (as opposed to slowly degrade with noticeable shifting issues) after transmission service? Or is it more likely that the service was done incorrectly?

I have read this thread and know my decision to have Toyota do transmission service might have been a mistake: Thread: Can A Transmission Fluid Replacement Cause Transmission to Fail

  1. The car is at shop now. They say I need to replace the transmission with a remanufactured unit. I know another shop will do a rebuild for much cheaper. What should I do? Should I choose remanufactured over rebuild?

I also read the thread below and I am wondering if I should ask the shop to do drain and fill a few more times to clean out any left over gunk Thread: Transmission Shifts Late and Hard After Fluid Change

Here’s what happens when you do a pan-drop/refill with a lot of miles.

You only drain about 30% of the total amount of transmission fluid in the transmission.

The rest is held the in the torque converter, valve body, transmission cooler/lines.

When you drain that 30%, and add new fluid with its high detergents, it can break lose any sludge/varnish/crud within the transmission system.

And if it gets into the valve body? There goes the transmission.


Does that mean it’s too late for the transmission? Further draining / filling won’t do any good as the damage is already done?

It’s too late.

Once a transmission starts slipping, it’s done.


Thanks. Do you think Toyota dealer should know this (and not advise me to do fluid chang)?

Do you have any opinion on remanufactured vs. rebuild transmission?

@tester I know your knowledge supersedes mine, but at 145k decided to do a trans fluid change. Fluid looked good on the dipstick, but bought 12 quarts, as that is the trans capacity, disconnected the line at the radiator, hooked up a hose to drain into a bucket, ran the car and added new fluid at the rate it was being discharged into the bucket, now was it wrong? 45k after that and no issues, previous trans service replacing 6 quarts and filter I assume at 85k. 03 trailblazer 6 cyl.

The dealer is out to make money.

I would install a used transmission for how old the vehicle is.

Most auto recycler’s test major components such as this before selling them.

Just need to know what to look for prior to installation.


Nothing wrong with that!

You were basically a manual flush machine!


1 Like

Thanks a lot for your knowledge and advice.

This got me worried. I also have a Corolla with 46k miles. Dealer has never advised me to do a transmission fluid replacement. When do you think it’s too late to do fluid replacement? Should I do one now.

What does the manual call for?

These Toyota vehicles (both the Camry and Corolla) calls for inspection of transmission fluid at 30k, 60k and 90k, but not replacement.

They use WS fluid.

Did you request the transmission service? If so the dealership is not responsible for the results.

No, I did not request service. Dealer did.

But someone had to sign off on it.

1 Like

Yup, I sure said yes to it.

If you feel lucky you could simply repeat the drain and fill a couple more times. Drive 150 miles or so in between. Might work. If you try this, take it to a different shop. Tell them what happened, maybe they can spot something or another that didn’t get reconnected properly making you double lucky. There’s a couple tests a shop can do involving checking transmission fluid pressure too, to assess what’s causing the problem.

More likely tho the transmission was on its last legs, about to give up the ghost anyway. And the service may have just advanced the failure a few months. If so, that’s a good thing b/c it failed local, not a long way from home that way.

My only auto rebuild experience (on my own vehicle, a Ford truck, about 20 years ago) worked out great. Before the rebuild it was gradually more and more misbehaving, finally wouldn’t shift from neutral to 1st at all if the engine was cold. After the rebuild, shifted between all gears like new. And has been working fine since. Given that experience, if I had your problem I’d have it rebuilt rather than replaced. But that was then, and this is now, so things may be different. Tester is more experienced w/newer cars on this topic than I am.

I emailed Toyota and asked them how I was supposed to check the transmission every 30,000 miles when they had eliminated the dipstick. They told me the check is for signs of leakage only. They also said the world fluid never needs changing and the computer reads the transmission temp and will alert me if anything is going wrong.
Since they have extended the warranty on my transmission to 150,000 miles and I doubt I will live long enough to get there , I am going to do nothing to the tranny. I did print and save the email.

Hard to drive 100 miles or so if it won’t engage until 6k rpm. Or cruise around at 4K rpm. Sounds like limp mode maybe? Only 2nd gear? Could be shift solenoid issue? Or do toyotas not suffer from that issue?

Old Timer: What ur is ur car? Dealer won’t warranty an 08 up to 150k miles

Could be…happened to my brother’s Camry. A few hundred $ fixed it.