Transmission slip - what to do next?


I have a 1999 Toyota Camry LE with 155k miles on it. Half a year ago, I noticed that the transmission started to slip. I did not pay immediate attention to it due to my ignorance about transmission problems. And it gradually got worse and worse until it was doing it more frequently whenever engine was cold, i.e. when I started the car.

So I checked the transmission fluid and it was black, but did not smell burnt, and was a little low. I added some new transmission fluid and it started running a little better, but still slipping. Then, a week later, I added some Lucas transmission additive and it started to slip even less, but still does sometimes.

I called around and found out that a transmission replacement costs about $2,000. I wonder what would be the worst case scenario if I keep driving it as-is or if there is any other alternative way to fix the problem.

Opinions? Thank you!

Did you completely replace the fluid? You need a complete flush. The torque converter usually holds a couple quarts. Obviously you did not check stuff as you should. You also need a new filter. Go to a good shop for a flush and filter change. Should be 80-100 bucks. Just do it. The damage to the trans is already there but good oil flow and clean oil may help enough.

Once an automatic transmission begins to slip, it’s the demise of the transmission. You’ve done about all you can do to remedy the problem short of replacing the transmission. So run it for a while and see if the Lucas buys you some time in reducing the slipping. In the mean time, if you want to keep the car, look into installing a used transmission. But have it checked out before the installation.


All you did is put a band aid on a gaping wound. It definitely needs to be overhauled. Its going to do nothing but get worse until it finally dies. Dont waste your money on a service now, save it for the overhaul. Also, automatics need to be serviced with a pan drop and fluid/filter change every 25-30k miles regardless of what the owners manual says.


What is your future outlook for ownership of this vehicle? If one to two years you may get away with driving it about.

If the slip is only occasional and you want something else you may be able to trade in and move on and maybe the slip may not get picked up on. Most vehicles this age get low trade in allowance in anticipation of problems although not this severe.

Park it over by the fence on the right side, next to the others and bring the keys and plates back to the office…

Thanks for all your informative replies. I am thinking of doing a transmission fluid flush first before deciding to do a replacement of the transmission. Does it sound sensible or it is a waste of money? I read online that for cars with high mileage, sometimes flushing transmission fluid would get the transmission slip problem worse as the old fluid contains debris to keep the transmission running. Is that true?

Thanks again!

So, you are going to spend another $100-$200 on a trashed transmission??? Why??? This thing has been slipping for 6 months now and has got worse over the 6 month period. Unless you just have money to burn, do yourself a favor and spend it towards your new trans,


Should have had the fluid and filter changed at the recommended interval, but you know that now. I’d also be asking myself, what driving/operating habits, if any, led to the present condition of the fluid (the blackness).

You can flush and fill the trans if you have an extra $100 to spare and see if that helps, but the inner workings of the trans might be too far gone. In that case, you can put that money towards a used trans from a yard, or a rebuilt one from a shop.

All depends on what you want to do with the car. Do you live in the NE, where it will probably be consumed by rust in a few years, etc? Good luck!

Listen to Tester and Transman - put your money toward a rebuild or perhaps pulling one from a salvage yard. There is no point in servicing this one any longer. You can try to buy time with the Lucas, but have your AAA number handy.