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Discussion Starter #1
Dear Forum Friends,

Could someone with access to a service manual please tell me if the automatic transmission fluid level on a 2003 4 cyl Camry should be checked with the engine off or with the engine running and transmission in park?

I was concerned when I checked my fiancee's car with the engine running in park and found no fluid on the dipstick. When I sent her to the dealer for service, they did not add any fluid. I asked them the next day to clarify the proper procedure. The service advisor and tech gave me two different answers.

It can't be that hard to figure out, but I can not find a service manual on-line. Thank you very much for your help!

Sincerely,

Dave
 

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Engine running at normal operating temperature with the car in park on a flat surface. The fluid should be in the hot range on the dipstick.
 

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ASE Master Technician
2006 Lexus GS430
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2,397 Posts
ON-VEHICLE INSPECTION




  1. CHECK FLUID LEVEL HINT: Drive the vehicle so that the engine and transaxle are at normal operating temperature. Fluid temperature: 70 - 80°C (158 - 176°F)
    1. Park the vehicle on a level surface and set the parking brake.
    2. With the engine idling and the brake pedal depressed, shift the shift lever into all positions from P to L position and return to P position.
    3. Take out the dipstick and wipe it clean.
    4. Put it back fully into the pipe.
    5. Take it out and check that the fluid level is in the HOT position. If there are leaks, it is necessary to repair or replace O-rings, FIPGs, oil seals, plugs or other parts.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you very much, TouringCamry and JSM1284!

Is there any chance that the procedure is different on a 2003 model?

I have the suspicion that the dealership in question is not giving me the right answer. At first the service advisor told me to check the fluid level with the engine running in park. Later, he asked his tech, who looked like he was overworked and underpaid. The tech said to check it with the engine off. It sounds to me like the tech is taking a shortcut. Neither the service advisor nor the tech ever looked in a service manual to confirm an answer.

I am concerned, because with the engine running in park, there is absolutely no fluid on the dipstick. They sent me away from their shop in that condition twice in three days.
 

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ASE Master Technician
2006 Lexus GS430
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You need to add fluid then.
 

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ASE Master Technician
2006 Lexus GS430
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^^^Ditto
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you very much, everyone, for helping me find a correct answer!

The questionable service staff was at a dealership auxillary "while-you-wait" shop just across the street from the dealership's main shop. I had thought that they would share staff and knowledge with the main shop. They must have the junior varsity folks there. I called a service tech at the main shop and he confirmed everything that you shared with me. I certainly will not service my fiancee's car at the first location again.

Have a great week.
 

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Turk
2003 Toyota Sienna
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Thank you very much, TouringCamry and JSM1284!

Is there any chance that the procedure is different on a 2003 model?

I have the suspicion that the dealership in question is not giving me the right answer. At first the service advisor told me to check the fluid level with the engine running in park. Later, he asked his tech, who looked like he was overworked and underpaid. The tech said to check it with the engine off. It sounds to me like the tech is taking a shortcut. Neither the service advisor nor the tech ever looked in a service manual to confirm an answer.

I am concerned, because with the engine running in park, there is absolutely no fluid on the dipstick. They sent me away from their shop in that condition twice in three days.
Did you add fluid? Was that the right way? Caused any problems?
When I checked fluid when it was parked and running, the fluid level is too low, not even on LOW COLD when cold.
 

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Add ATF Type-IV until you start seeing it on the dipstick with the engine running. You can find ATF meeting Type-IV specs at any parts store. Use a funnel with a piece of tygon hose to put the fluid in. I would say you are down at least a quart,probably more. Regards
 
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