Transmission: To change or not to change the fluid...that is the question


I have an 89 Camry automatic transmission. The transmission fluid is dark, not all nice and red like it is supposed to be. It is running for now, but the trasmission does slip from time to time and I have noticed that as I accelerate it shifts a little harder than it used to. One Mechanic advised me not to change the fluid. He said he has seen it go from bad to worse quickly. He says I should just drive her til she drops. The other mechanic says I should try new fluid, it may make her last longer. What should I do?


You should change it IMHO. Auto transmission fluid should be changed every 30k miles.
It’s the cheapest transmission life insurance policy you can buy.


Normally you have to change it. Now your tranny is giving you trouble. A fluid change might help and might not help. In the latter case you will blame the worsening symptoms on the fluid change. That is how the story has been and thats why people are scared to change their transmission fluid.


You should change it. However you are likely going to add one more example that those who say don’t change it use to support their point. Many people wait until they are where you are and the damage is already started and often it is just too late. They see a failure after a change so the blame the change when in fact it was the lack of an earlier change that was the real problem.

Changing the fluid now may save you a rebuild.


I would CHANGE the fluid, but I would not let anyone flush the transmission. A flush will likely do more damage than good, but I don’t see how some new transmission fluid can hurt anything.


Your transmission may not last much longer whether you replace the fluid or not. Whatever damage there is has already been done.

If you change the fluid and your transmission soon gives up, someone is sure to crow “I told you not to change it!” I hope you know beter.

Fresh transmission fluid ought to buy you a little more time. Years, maybe. Go ahead with a pan drop and filter change but not a flush.