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When to replace fluids

I need some general guidlines as to when (mileage) the following fluids should be flushed and filled for my car:



-Radiator (my manual says 60,000 mi)

-Transmission (Ray and Tom say 60,000 mi)

-Differential (my Matrix is FWD)

-Brake

-Power Steering



It depends on what your owner’s manual says on the subject. Usually, there are both time and mileage intervals, whichever comes first.

Here is my $0.02:

-Radiator: every two years. That is how long most corrosion inhibitors last. If you do it on time, you shouldn’t need to flush and fill, just drain and refill.

-transmission: every 30,000 miles, but I have a manual transmission, so changing the transmission oil is easy for me. If you have an automatic transmission, they should drop the pan and clean the filter. This should not be a transmission fluid flush. You are better off just draining and refilling rather than getting it flushed.

-differential: I didn’t know FWD vehicles had differentials. They are usually used in RWD, AWD, and 4WD vehicles. If your car as one or more differentials, follow the recommendations in the owner’s manual.

-brakes: every three years. Do a brake line flush and then refill and bleed the lines.

-power steering: every 60,000 miles, but a flush isn’t necessary. Just drain and refill with a siphon pump or an old turkey baster.

I have a 2006 Matrix.
There is no separate differential fluid for FWD.
If you use Toyota Long Life Coolant like the manual suggests then I would say change coolant and thermostat every 4 years/60K miles.
If you switch to conventional coolant then coolant every 2 years.
Change brake fluid every 3 years.
Once a year, starting this year, I empty the power steering reservoir with a turkey baster and refill with fresh fluid.
Automatic transmission fluid 30K miles.
Manual transmission oil 60K miles.

Change everything at 60K miles or 5 years, whichever is first…

Automatic transmissions need to be serviced every 25-30k miles regardless of what the owners manual says. I would have the brake fluid changed out every time the brakes are serviced. Power steering is ok every 50-60k. Engine coolant I do every 2 years.

transman

Radiator: 2 years if old type antifreeze, 5 years if the new HOAT type.
Transmission: Manual never, automatic 30k miles IF it can be changed (some new Toyotas are sealed)
Differential: If separate from transmission, then when transmission fluid is changed
Brake fluid: when the pads are changed or any work done on the brakes
Power steering: only if the unit needs a repair.

Keith,
We have a 2005 Camry, with what appears to be a “sealed” automatic transmission – no drain plug that I can find. It has synthetic ‘world standard’ transmission fluid in it, with a label on the trans dipstick that says that the fluid never needs to be changed under normal conditions. Opinions, anyone?

I haven’t heard of any unusual transmission problems with the Toyota Camry and I would think problems would begin to show up after four or five years. However, I have always had the fluid changed on a regular basis in my vehicles and I think changing the fluid and filter on an automatic transmission would preserve its service life.

IMHO, making things maintenance free does not make them trouble free. My 1965 Rambler had sealed lubrication points and supposedly needed to have the plugs removed at 30,000 miles and more grease inserted. I had the plugs replaced with grease fittings at 15,000 miles and when we applied the grease gun, water came out of one of the lubrication points. I just had the sealed bearings go out on my furnace blower. I wouldn’t have found it to be any problem to oil the bearings a couple of times a year. As a result, I replaced the entire furnace since the manufacturer went out of business and replacing the bearings was about 1/4 of the way to a new furnace.

Maybe the sealed transmission will work. I’ll let others find out.

Keith, I don’t understand. Why would you change the differential oil but not change the manual transmission oil? I would also like to know your reason for not changing the power steering fluid. Do you buy a new car every couple years? Do you have money to burn? Does your owner’s manual actually back up these assertions?

MHO, making things maintenance free does not make them trouble free. My 1965 Rambler had sealed lubrication points and supposedly needed to have the plugs removed at 30,000 miles and more grease inserted. I had the plugs replaced with grease fittings at 15,000 miles

Same here 1965 L-head 6.