Automatic Transmission Fluid Change Interval - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
2nd Generation (2008-2013) Forum dedicated to the discussion of 2nd generation Toyota Highlanders.

 
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#1 Old 01-26-2012, 03:38 PM
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Automatic Transmission Fluid Change Interval

What the recommended frequency for changing ATF fluid on a 2008 Highlander with normal service (never used for towing)?

My manual doesn't have an interval for changing it and only says to check the fluid every 60K miles - it only recommends changing it if the vehicle was used for towing.

On this forum I read that 100K is the recommended interval for changing ATF without towing but I wasn't clear if that was a personal recommendation or a Toyota recommendation.
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#2 Old 01-26-2012, 04:09 PM
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I'm of the opinion that you can't hurt anything by changing your transmission fluid more frequently than recommeded. That being said if the fluid is staying clean and your not engaging in severe usage you may be ok to go to the longer change intervals. Id keep an eye on the transmission fluid color. If it looks even the slightest bit dirty change it.
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#3 Old 01-26-2012, 04:10 PM
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I like to stick to 45k intervals on all the fluids, top to bottom.
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#4 Old 01-27-2012, 04:28 PM
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I guess I should clarify that what I am asking is if there is any official Toyota recommendation for changing ATF on a vehicle NOT used for towing.

I am thinking there isn't based on my research.
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#5 Old 01-27-2012, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark069 View Post
I guess I should clarify that what I am asking is if there is any official Toyota recommendation for changing ATF on a vehicle NOT used for towing.

I am thinking there isn't based on my research.
I've never seen anything beyond "check." My recommendation is based on managing a team of Toyota technicians in the past and asking them for their recommendation based on what they've seen. 30k if you're towing/45k if you're not.
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#6 Old 01-27-2012, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark069 View Post
I guess I should clarify that what I am asking is if there is any official Toyota recommendation for changing ATF on a vehicle NOT used for towing.

I am thinking there isn't based on my research.
You're right, in going through all the information available there's only inspections listed and no set changing date for non-towing Highlanders.

I agree, though, with JMSinMD that 45,000 miles is the better option, and that's when I have my private mechanic change it.

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#7 Old 01-27-2012, 04:54 PM
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#8 Old 02-07-2012, 02:59 PM
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Just got went to the dealer to get recall repairs done and I asked them to change the ATF since I had 60K miles on the car. They asked why I wanted to change the ATF and recommended I wait at least until 100K unless there is a color change in the fluid or other problems. They said that the ATF in my Highlander is Toyota World Standard "WS" Lifetime ATF and that this fluid technically NEVER has to be changed.

Last edited by mark069; 02-07-2012 at 03:02 PM.
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#9 Old 02-07-2012, 03:53 PM
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Marko69..... Let me get this straight. You went to a dealer, and they told you that you DIDN'T need to have your transmission fluid changed? That is amazing that a dealer didn't try to give you the shakedown for services. I think you have found an honest dealer my friend. Nice to know they are out there.
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#10 Old 02-08-2012, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtown40 View Post
Marko69..... Let me get this straight. You went to a dealer, and they told you that you DIDN'T need to have your transmission fluid changed? That is amazing that a dealer didn't try to give you the shakedown for services. I think you have found an honest dealer my friend. Nice to know they are out there.
There are a few honest dealers around. I took my '11 Limited in for the 5K service and asked that they do on oil change and filter in addition to the 'inspection' and rotation. Not only did the write up guy tell me that it wasn't necessary until 10K but the tech came out to make sure the order was written up correctly. This was not the dealership where I bought the HL (but had bought from them previously) so at that point they had made NO money from me on this vehicle.


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#11 Old 03-15-2012, 08:27 AM
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Actually i had a similar experience as well. I had asked for the transmission flush at 30 K and now again for 60K on my 2008 HL Sport and the service guy told me that if I dont do towing, it is not required until 100K and then the lead tech came and pulled me and showed me the stick and compared to the strip and said it looks fine no transmission flush required. I was surprised both times when they dint try to steal me. Also, going back to the oil changes on the new toyota to 10K my tech showed me the new oil which is fully synthetic from Mobil 1 that they use and is completely great.
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#12 Old 03-16-2012, 10:30 AM
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Forget the dealers. Go underneath the car and drain the fluid yourself. Purchase enough quarts/liter (stay with the dealer fluid) Let the fluid drain into a pan and cool down overnight. Then measure the amount of fluid that came out. Stay in a garage to avoid moisture. Then add the same amount of fluid, run vehicle for 10 minutes warm and check fluid level. If needed add more, but I doubt it.

This lifetime is a bunch of crap. I own a BMW 7 series with lifetime fluid and it is not lifetime. People have listended to the dealer and have had to replace their transmissions (10K) over fluid changes which would of cost $300 each time. Although those are sealed units (bit different).

I do a drain/fill every 15,000 miles on my wife's Infiniti QX56. The fluid (equivalent costs $4 a quart. So in total I spend $24 every year on a Transmission Fluid change) Not a big deal. The Toyota fluid will probably be about $60 each year.

If not comfortable yourself, find someone who is. This will take you about 20 minutes to do the fluid drain/fill. The synthetic fluids do break down over time just as any other fluid. Toyota wants to sell you a new transmission when your vehicle is out of warranty. That is what they are really telling you.

Change your fluid. Otherwise go to an Aamco and they will do a complete flush for about $200. Every year they will do a "free flush" as long as you own the car. May be a little more expensive because of fluid but at least you can use a good quality transmission shop.

Keep us posted on what you will do.
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#13 Old 03-16-2012, 10:34 AM
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Transmission and oil change intervals are basically voodoo science. Every "expert" car owner has their own idea of what should be done... and exactly NOTHING to back it up.

Simply following manufacturer recommendations is quite adequate. A LOT of fluids are changed way before they are depleted.


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