Should I change my transmission fluid? - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
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post #1 of 4 Old 04-10-2019, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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Should I change my transmission fluid?

I just bought a 2010 Yaris with an automatic transmission and 90k miles. I have the previous owner's maintenance record. She took the car to the dealer for all the scheduled maintenance. But Toyota does not recommend changing the tranny fluid except at maybe every 100k miles, so I guess the fluid has never been changed.


Of course, a 100k tranny fluid change interval is ridiculous. The manufacturer can get away with never changing the tranny fluid because nearly all transmissions will last at least 100k miles with no fluid changes, and after 100k miles the warranty period has expired. Most recommend tranny fluid changes every 40k miles or so. If the tranny fluid has never been changed well after 40k miles then some recommend never changing the fluid because the new fluid has less viscosity because of less debris, and detergents in the new fluid can dislodge debris that can clog the tranny.


The tranny fluid in my car is purplish brown. Black tranny fluid is in very bad condition and brown is the color it turns when it first needs to be replaced. So I guess my tranny fluid is in between brown and new pink. If the fluid has never been changed wouldn't it be black after nine years and 90k miles? It also does not stink and is at the correct level on the dipstick. The tranny shifts fine and shows no signs of wear.


I think some people send their fluid to a lab to have it analyzed. Is that a possibility? If a lab determines that the fluid is in decent condition wouldn't that mean that there is not a lot of sludge buildup and that the clutch packs have not deteriorated, and therefore it's safe to change the fluid? Should I do a full flush or just a drain and refill? Thanks for any replies. .

Last edited by John999; 04-10-2019 at 03:09 PM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 04-10-2019, 02:13 PM
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I did our echo transmission fluid at around 200K. If if remember correctly, it wasnt black, but a dark dark reddish color. I hooked up a hose to the outlet line , put the car in gear for about 8 seconds to get all the fluid out, then replaced the filter and refilled the fluid. When I drove it, it had a weird shift flutter when it should have shifted into the next lower gear. My guess was that since the tranny was extra slick, it had to relearn the shift points. After a day or so, it returned to normal, and no weird things like that ever again.

I believe, the tranny fluid, per toyota doesn't normally have to be changed for a long time. Unless you drive/live in what would be considered a more extreme/harsh environment (dust, weather, etc.) do they normally recommend changing the fluid sooner.

At 100K, I think you could have waited longer, but oh well. The fact it's purple tells me it isn't original--mine wasn't purple but red.

Also, when I refilled, I made damn sure to use Toyota transmission fluid and no other brand.

Generally, a suck and refill, will keep some debris inside so, it keeps some grittyness which is good for no slipping.

I actually dropped the pan, changed the filter, and refilled. Other than the shift point thing, 4 years later, shes driving and shifting fine. No regrets on changing the fluid. Also good to clean out the pan, magnet, and determine how much wear going on, etc. If you do do it (with Toyota fluid, of course), I would just do a pan drop/filter replacement/refill fluid and call it a day. But don't skimp on the fluid. Get Toyota fluid.
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post #3 of 4 Old 04-10-2019, 03:21 PM
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Labs will analyze atf just like oil.

I would defintely change the ATF.
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post #4 of 4 Old 04-12-2019, 10:20 PM
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I didn't change my fluid till after 400k. 01 echo. Had no problem with trans. Did it just to be doing something.
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