TRANSMISSION FLUSH PROCEDURE
Q: How can I flush my transmission fluid without bringing it to a shop?
You can actually change virtually all the fluid in the system using the following method. We have 5 Toyota's in the family, and I have done this to them all at least once.
It takes about an hour. Use whatever fluid is recommended on the dipstick, or in the manual. Our Camry's and Corolla's take Dexron, but the Celica takes Toyota Type IV fluid, available only from Toyota, at about $3.50/qt. Use what's recommended, or you'll be sorry. It's still less expensive than having it done.
1. Drop the pan*, drain the fluid, replace the filter, and reinstall the pan as you usually do.
2. Add 3 quarts of fluid. (or however many quarts of fluid are drained from the pan).
3. Remove the fluid return line at the transmission (usually the upper of the two lines), and place it into a one-gallon milk jug or similar semi-transparent container. You may want to place the container in a box with rags around it so that it doesn't spill.
4. Start the engine, and let about a quart or so of fluid get pumped into the milk jug (about 10-15 seconds).
5. Stop the engine, and add a quart of fluid to the transmission.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you get new fluid out of the drain line.
You'll use about 8-10 quarts of fluid total, including the 3 you put in at the beginning, so you may need more than one milk jug.
7. Reinstall the drain line to the transmission, start the engine, and check for leaks.
8. With your foot on the brake, put the transmission in each gear, then into Park.
9.Let the car down and check the fluid level on the dipstick. Add fluid if needed to bring it up to the proper level.
10. Take it out for a test drive, and check the fluid level again.
(*One caveat is that it is not nessary to drop the pan. Removing and replacing the filter is not necessary. It is more or less just a screen that doesn't get plugged unless your clutch plates shread or something equally traumatic happens. Brian R.)