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Valid Solara Tran Pan Gasket; Fuel Injector Fixes?

MAKE/MODEL/YEAR: Toyota Solara SLE 2000

MILES: 28,200 (primarily highway miles)

LOCATION: Colorado Springs

STORAGE: Garaged

FUEL: Inexpensive unleaded, octane ranging from 85-87 at places such as Sam’s Club or Loaf and Jug.



Oil has been diligently changed every 3,000 - 4,000 miles at same Toyota Dealership, where regularly scheduled maintenance is also done.

Most recent change was early January at 27,890, at which time the Service Manager stated that transmission fluid seal is leaking and fuel injectors need cleaning.

Based on spousal unit’s recommendation, I declined fixes and brought car home. Put newspapers under car; no evidence of leaks from engine; car runs fine.

Reviewed the invoice today and noticed the notation on it states “Needs fuel service and tranny pan gasket leaking”. So decided to tri-angulate my spousal unit’s recommendation and revisit my earlier decision to take no action by starting here, at Car Talk.

Fuel discussions in this appear to give a consistent “thumbs down” for fuel injector cleanings. Also researched owner’s manual and found nothing about injectors.

The transmission discussions were more difficult for me to follow.


Given above info, including low mileage:

1. Any reason to do anything more than run Seafoam (or other highly praised) cleaner through my gas tank?

2. Is “tranny pan gasket” the same as the “transmission fluid seal”, or something else?

3. I will have a 30K check-up done later this year, probably in the fall. Am I courting some kind of problem by ignoring the “seal” problem until then (i.e., because there is no evidence of a leak on my garage floor)?

4. What have I forget to disclose, ask and/or consider vis-a-vis “covering my bases” for this situation?

Thank you in advance for your responses.


I think you need a new dealer. Or find a good independent for a second opinion.

do not use Sea Foam or similar product unless you actually have to, it could cause damage.

I have never used Seafoam, but I would use Techron as the chemical to do the fuel injector cleaning. For $5-7, you get a quality cleaner intended to do what is recommended by ther dealer. I try to use Techron in all my cars once a year, and you can argue that that might be overkill.

Use Car Talk’s mechanics files to find a quality independent mechanic in Colo Springs. At 30K miles, any injector cleaning should be unneeded, except the preventative one I recommend above. I have only had one vehicle that needed a major injector cleaning, and that was in 1992 or so. Injector technology and gasoline detergents in all brands of fuel have come a long way since then.

If you have an auto trans, what does the owner’s manual say about ATF changes at 30K miles? If it is leaking, I would do this anyway: if I understand your question and the service advisor’s note correctly, all you need is a pan drop and filter change. The seal gets replaced as a result of the pan drop. That should also solve your trans fluid seal leak. Your independent mechanic can verify that is all that is needed. My cost was about $150 when I had this done on one of my trucks about two months ago.

I agree with Bill. Forget the cleaners including the Seafoam. If there is some kind of problem some day, there may be a reason to try some sort of cleaner.

There are other trans seals in addition to the pan gasket, but I would assume that the wrote the same thing as the service guy meant and it is the pan gasket. It should be easy to see the pan leak. They may have noticed some oil around the edge, but it might not be dripping. If it is not dripping, I see no reason to fix it. Even if it was dripping, I might not fix it. Just check your trans fluid regularly.

Does your car idle smooth? If it does, the injectors are fine and skip any cleaners.
If the pan gasket on the transmission is really leaking then no sealer is going to cure that. I have no idea if you have a legitimate, serious leak or not but one would think there would be a spot or two on the floor if one really existed.
Sometimes a transmission may have some slight weepage in certain spots and this may be normal. If the pan has any weepage at all around the pan gasket then odds are that simply snugging up the pan bolts will cure this.

See if trans fluid change is due at 30,000 miles and get the gasket changed then if the pan has to come down for fluid change. No fuel injector cleaning now. The stuff they use is really poison if they have to attach a can to your fuel system. The fuel system cleaning guy said you could use the stuff that pours into the gas tank but it dooesn’t do as good a job as the stuff I want to sell you. Okay.

Some dealers are very happy to find problems that need fixes when car sales are down.  

Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic.