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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all. I have a 2009 Corolla S that seems to be "shifting hard". It only seems to happen when I drive it for the first time after a few few days. It also seems to go away after accelerating once (i.e. it doesn't happen on subsequent accelerations). This is sometimes accompanied by the tachometer shooting up to around 3000-4000 RPM suddenly, without much movement from the car. I currently do not have a video or audio recording, sadly. I am not sure whether the car's transmission has ever been serviced or whether the ATF fluid/filter have ever been replaced. Do I need new fluid or could it be something worse?
 

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Slow AF
2012 Matrix
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311 Posts
Hey all. I have a 2009 Corolla S that seems to be "shifting hard". It only seems to happen when I drive it for the first time after a few few days. It also seems to go away after accelerating once (i.e. it doesn't happen on subsequent accelerations). This is sometimes accompanied by the tachometer shooting up to around 3000-4000 RPM suddenly, without much movement from the car. I currently do not have a video or audio recording, sadly. I am not sure whether the car's transmission has ever been serviced or whether the ATF fluid/filter have ever been replaced. Do I need new fluid or could it be something worse?
You should probably check your transmission oil before coming here. The first thing we expect here is that you've already covered the basics.
 

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Administrator
2006 Corolla XRS
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9,517 Posts
Any transmission codes?

Hard shifting is typically associated with older transmission fluid.

Drain the transmission and remove the pan. Clean the inside of the pan and inspect the magnets for the metal shavings.

After replacing the transmission fluid, put around 500 miles and then do another drain and fill. This will help remove the older fluid that was not removed from the previous drain.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Any transmission codes?

Hard shifting is typically associated with older transmission fluid.

Drain the transmission and remove the pan. Clean the inside of the pan and inspect the magnets for the metal shavings.

After replacing the transmission fluid, put around 500 miles and then do another drain and fill. This will help remove the older fluid that was not removed from the previous drain.
Thank you for the reassurance/advice. As far as I know, no codes. I was inspected about a year ago and everything was perfect.

Do you think it is necessary to change the filter as well or just the fluid? As I said, I have not done this before.
 

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The term "inspected" means nothing. A year ago doesn't mean there are no pending or stored codes today.

Mileage on vehicle?

If you drop the pan, always change the filter.

Hopefully is nothing worse. But, the more you drive it and allow it to slip, the more damage you are doing and shortening the life of the transmission. When it reaches EOL, time for a rebuild or new transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hello all,

Just to update you, I did go through with the fluid change (not flush). This was per the recommendation of Toyota and my regular mechanic. I do not believe that the filter on my car is accessible/replaceable, so I did not do anything with that.

My fluid looked terrible. It smelled burnt and it was dark gray and runny. I had it replaced with Toyota Genuine ATF WS fluid.

After the replacement, I drove my car home and it was a night-and-day difference. I could not feel shifts at all anymore and the issue has not occurred again as of yet. My mechanic recommended changing the fluid again after driving for a couple of months to clear out some of the old stuff.

I would like to thank everyone who replied for their time in contributing their opinions! If you have anything else to suggest feel free. By the way, there were no metal shavings present in the old fluid so that's good. I'm thinking that I might have saved my car by doing this.
 

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Slow AF
2012 Matrix
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311 Posts
Hello all,

Just to update you, I did go through with the fluid change (not flush). This was per the recommendation of Toyota and my regular mechanic. I do not believe that the filter on my car is accessible/replaceable, so I did not do anything with that.

My fluid looked terrible. It smelled burnt and it was dark gray and runny. I had it replaced with Toyota Genuine ATF WS fluid.

After the replacement, I drove my car home and it was a night-and-day difference. I could not feel shifts at all anymore and the issue has not occurred again as of yet. My mechanic recommended changing the fluid again after driving for a couple of months to clear out some of the old stuff.

I would like to thank everyone who replied for their time in contributing their opinions! If you have anything else to suggest feel free. By the way, there were no metal shavings present in the old fluid so that's good. I'm thinking that I might have saved my car by doing this.
Nothing wrong with just a drain and fill. Glad to hear you got the desired outcome.
I inquired about the fluid change with my Toyota and they said they do drain and flush For 160. Told them I wanted the trans filter so I could drop the pan myself and do the work and they said the filter itself is 160 so I should just do the work through them as they don't like to drop the pan and potentially introduce a contaminant.

But drain and fill is probably the best and safest and least hassle way of doing that
 

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2011 Toyota Corolla LE
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Didn't want to make another post but i am also experiencing slight sudden rpm drop when i let go of the gas on freeway does not happen on streets I can feel it and see it through the tachometer. Will change the oil this weekend see if that helps wanted to see if it might be something else
Here a video of the rpms

Incase you miss it happens twice at 5 and 21 seconds
 

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Didn't want to make another post but i am also experiencing slight sudden rpm drop when i let go of the gas on freeway does not happen on streets I can feel it and see it through the tachometer. Will change the oil this weekend see if that helps wanted to see if it might be something else
Here a video of the rpms

Incase you miss it happens twice at 5 and 21 seconds
Do you see something similar when you have it set to 70mph on cruise control?
 

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Diehard Rams Fan
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21,877 Posts
Hello all,

Just to update you, I did go through with the fluid change (not flush). This was per the recommendation of Toyota and my regular mechanic. I do not believe that the filter on my car is accessible/replaceable, so I did not do anything with that.

My fluid looked terrible. It smelled burnt and it was dark gray and runny. I had it replaced with Toyota Genuine ATF WS fluid.

After the replacement, I drove my car home and it was a night-and-day difference. I could not feel shifts at all anymore and the issue has not occurred again as of yet. My mechanic recommended changing the fluid again after driving for a couple of months to clear out some of the old stuff.

I would like to thank everyone who replied for their time in contributing their opinions! If you have anything else to suggest feel free. By the way, there were no metal shavings present in the old fluid so that's good. I'm thinking that I might have saved my car by doing this.
Good to hear. I would say to do a drain and fill at regular intervals. It only replaces a small percentage of the total volume of trans fluid so do it again within 500-1000 miles and again at 5k miles. It's so easy to do when you do an oil change that some guys do it every 10k miles just to add a little fresh fluid and keep it in peak condition. When you do a drain and fill the closer the color is to new the better the overall condition of the fluid.
 
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