Transmission Service Questions

Hello. I have a 2008 Toyota Corolla with 49,000 miles on it. I had a transmission service done at 34,000 at my old Toyota dealer. I moved to NYC in October and haven’t driven my car since mid-February (it’s been in storage) and I took it to a new Toyota dealer for an oil change and tire rotation since I will be doing a lot of driving over the summer. They also recommended a transmission service which they said consisted of taking the old fluid out and putting new fluid in. I did some of my own research and am now thoroughly confused. First, what questions should I ask to make sure it is the appropriate service at the appropriate time? Second, what would be the appropriate transmission service (i.e. transmission flush, transmission fluid exchange etc.) Is it something that I should get done right away (especially if it’s been stored for 4 months).

I am a new graduate which we all know what that means…young and broke. I want to make sure that I am taking excellent care of my car since it’s going to need to last me a long, long, long time so any assistance would be greatly appreciated.



There should be a maintenance schedule with the owner’s manual. The schedule will tell you what needs to be done and when. Dealers are known to recommend additional “services” because they make money doing them, not necessarily because your car needs them.

Your transmission should not need another fluid change until about 60K miles or the time interval listed in the schedule.

4 months of storage does not mean the transmission needs service. It means nothing, really. If you’ll be storing the car for a few months you should be adding fuel stabilizer to the gas, but other than that there’s nothing special to do.

Most here seem to prefer transmission fluid exchange to transmission flushing, but I don’t know if there’s any scientific evidence one’s better than the other. The important thing is to have the transmission serviced at the intervals specified in the maintenance schedule.

You have what should prove to be a very reliable car that you can count on for many miles to come. Please read the maintenance schedule and the owner’s manual to help you best maintain the car. All you need to know is in these documents.


 Automatic transmissions need to be serviced every 25-30k miles regardless of what the owners manual says. Servicing includes dropping the pan and changing the filter (Where applicable) and refilling.  Since yours was done at 34k, you can wait again until 60k but I wouldnt go past 30k between services.  Flushing is ok in some instances.  I would only have a flush done if, first of all, its being done by a qualified trans shop or dealer AND that the pan is dropped and inspected and the filter is changed BEFORE the flush is done.  Another thing that helps as far as the flush is concerned is if you have been servicing the trans on a REGULAR basis (Every 25-30k) If you have 150k on a transmission that has never been serviced, you would not be a good candidate for a flush. Just keep doing what you are doing, that is the best thing you can do for your trans.