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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2010 S with an auto trans and 68,000 miles. I've never replaced the fluid or filter. Over the last 10,000 miles or so, I've noticed the following in regards to shifting.

I will being on a merge ramp to the highway rolling along and waiting to pull out into the flow of traffic. I'll be traveling along at a constant speed, say 30 mph, with constant pressure on the throttle waiting for my opening in traffic. I will see my opening and floor it. That's when (sometimes) the car seems to get very confused. It doesn't shift back right away, it lingers in 3rd (or OD) and picks up a tiny bit of speed. Then, it hesitates with no acceleration, and then roughly shifts to 2nd or 1st. It feels more like it forces itself into gear and, once in gear, it accelerates like it should.

The biggest issue for me is that this whole process takes about 3 or 4 seconds. That's not very long, but when you're trying to merge onto the highway or cut into traffic, 3 seconds is the difference between being safe and a close call.

Transmission fluid appears to be full, is a nice red color, and doesn't smell burnt. Any ideas what the issue might be?
 

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uh..no, it's not a hybrid
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:welcome: to TN !


I would start by draining and refilling your WS-ATF. According to used oil analysis, its time. Color is no real indicator of fluid health. Do a :search: on how you can do it yourself for savings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the welcome! :) The '10 is my second Corolla. It has more issues with it than my '03, which was practically indestructible at 300,000 miles before someone rear-ended me on the highway. But the '10 is still a good car if I can work out some of the issues. I think my other issue is a starter relay (grind noise on cold start occasionally). But I digress...

I will give the fluid change a try. I saw a couple posts and it looks like you're a big believer in a drain and fill LeanBurn. I'll give it a go this week and do it a second time in another week to make sure I get most of it changed out. Based on what I've read here, it doesn't look like a filter is really needed.

Thanks for the help and I'll post back with the results when I can.
 

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09 Corolla Base 17 Camry SE
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I had more miles on mine when I did my first drain & fill. I waited about 2 weeks (almost 1000 mi) before doing a second one. I noticed a slight improvement in trans performance although I was not having any prior issues. Even though your color looks good if you compare the fluid you drain to the new fluid there will be a very noticeable difference. I bought a case (12 qts) of WS and got a price break of almost $1 per quart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I had more miles on mine when I did my first drain & fill. I waited about 2 weeks (almost 1000 mi) before doing a second one.
Thank you for the heads up stvotw! I'll wait a little longer for the second drain/fill.

Also, doing more research, I'm wondering if it's just the way I drive the car? I'm not a speed freak, but I like a peppy car. Maybe I need to look into a throttle controller so I can pick the type of driving I intend to do. Perhaps my issue is the result of the car doing what it's supposed to do by being an economy commuter car and I'm driving it too aggressively. Still going to do the drain/fill though, just in case.

Thanks again everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Hi all. I just wanted to update my thread here. This weekend I stopped by the local dealership and picked up some WS ATF for $9.xx / quart. I drained the fluid out of the pan and got about 2 2/3 quarts out. I put in 2 2/3 quarts of new WS and took it for a test drive. I'm not sure if it's just in my head or not, but I'm pretty sure I feel a difference already. So far I haven't experienced any jerky downshifts and it feels smoother.

When I originally looked at the fluid on the dipstick, it looked nice and red. Once I drained it into a clear container, it looked dingy brown with a hint of red. It was so dark, in fact, that I initially feared that I opened the wrong drain plug! The new stuff was super red, so you were right LeanBurn and stvotw, the color on the stick was misleading. I'm about 3,000 from my next oil change, so I'll do drain and fill #2 then.

So-far, so-good. I really appreciate the help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Hi everyone. I'm back. I still have this car, but I need help again on the same issue. It's the same 2010 Corolla S with 152,000 miles on it now. I performed the drain and fill a few times a few years back when I started the thread and it seemed to help for the short-term and I stopped updating the thread. It never fully went away and now it's much worse - sort of.

This past winter, it was so bad, I thought for sure I would find the transmission laying on the highway one day. Kick-down shifts for passing are causing a horrendous jerk/landing into gear. Normal downshifts while slowing to a stop have no problems - only when I give gas to cause the downshift/kick-down. It is absolutely random - I cannot recreate consistently no matter what I do. Sometimes it's when I need full throttle and sometimes when feathering the gas enough to gently pass someone. When it does occur, as described in the OP, I can tell just before it happens. My tell that the rough shift is coming is an unusually long pause or hesitation before the shit takes place. For instance, going down the road at 50 mph in OD. I decide to pass, I give 25% throttle increase, wait a good 2-3 seconds, and bang! into gear and I'm accelerating. If I notice the pause, let off the gas, and try the pass again, there's a good chance it will be a smooth shift. The issue is, sometimes I'm accelerating to avoid something or merge into heavy traffic and that pause is making that maneuver dangerous as traffic bears down on me.

I took it to a respected transmission shop in the area. For $100, they put it on whatever tester they have and drove it around while monitoring it. They could not recreate the problem (of course) and they said everything looked great. The fluid was in great shape, the pressures were good, and everything they could see without taking it apart, looked good. They reiterated what I've seen numerous times on the forum - this transmission is near bulletproof and has lots of life left. They did reset or clear some module related to the transmission and said to see if that helps. As I pulled out of their parking lot, it happened. >:-(

I took it to the shop at the end of winter. Spring started and the issue got a little better. Now it's summer and the problem has gone away. Now I'm really confused because it seems worse in the cold temperatures (<50 degrees F). I don't want to put a ton of money into this car in other repairs it needs unless this is fixed. Otherwise I will trade it in when the 2019 hatchback has a couple years of proven reliability under its belt. ;-) Thank you for reading. -Mike
 

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uh..no, it's not a hybrid
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I have never heard of this problem occurring other than yours. These transmissions are usually near bullet proof. Does it do the same thing when you shift down manually?

If not, I don't think it is anything hardware parts related. It almost sounds like the transmission control module is wacky..especially when it is so random and seemingly tied to the exterior temperature. I have no idea on TCM costing...perhaps looking into an auto wrecker to test the theory, not sure if it is tied to the engine control module and needs flashing etc.

If it seems to expensive I would be inclined to sell it during the summer and get a different one.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you for the reply. If I shift manually, there is no issue at all. Smooth as silk all the time. In fact, if I know I need the downshift, I've become accustomed to putting it in 3rd and then grabbing 2nd when I hit the gas for passing. Oddly enough, it seems slightly better if I turn off the VSC.

A part of me wonders if I should do a fluid flush in case something's clogged - but I've heard flushes can cause more harm than good.
 

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uh..no, it's not a hybrid
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If it works manually with no hard shift, to me it means the mechanical functions are operating correctly.

It seems that somehow the transmission control module is getting a false reading or performing incorrect calculations that it needs to shift with greater than normal line pressure which causes the harsh shifts. Whether its a code that needs to be cleared or to have it re-flashed or replaced, my bets are on the module being faulty.
 

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I know it's been a while, but were you able to get the problem sorted out? I am having the exact same problem with my 2010 Corolla XLE, and it does not have any problem shifting when I do it manually. I also took it to a mechanic who was unable to replicate the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi Devin - no worries, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only person having the problem. As mentioned, I've changed out the ATF with multiple drain and fills, took it to a transmission shop and it passed with flying colors, and grabbing second gear manually when I need it results in a fast, smooth shift. This past winter and now into summer confirms that it's worse in winter. I never did pursue the transmission control module suggested by LeanBurn. I took it in to a dealership last week for the air bag inflator and power window switch recalls. I didn't tell them about the shift issue, but they did mention that it didn't need any software updates for any of the control modules.

I have noticed that the kick-down delay is getting ridiculously long. It seems to be getting worse so slowly that it's practically not noticeable until traffic is bearing down on you fast and you need second gear to get up to speed. I will add, something interesting that I just remembered. Because I like to work on my own cars, I had removed the engine cover a long time ago. Before this past winter, I put the cover back on. I figured if the shifting issue was better in summer, maybe keeping the cover on will retain some heat during the winter and maybe that would help. Believe it or not, it did seem to help. I have no clue if this is real or a placebo effect, but it seems like shifts became less frequent and slightly less harsh.

Sorry you're experiencing the same issue, Devin. Let me know if you have any luck. At this point, I'm living with it and waiting for it to break so I can either fix it or junk it. I have 175,000 miles on it now, so it's been going quite a while with the problem.
 

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hesitation like that I've only experienced on my 2013 Corolla when the ATF is not up to operating temp yet and i happen to lug it or floor it in 3rd or 4th... this was back when i had my first original U340E trans, i dont do that anymore lol. I fear your ATF may not be getting up to operating temperature fast enough?

Also it could be a shift solenoid, has the car shown any codes or DTC's related to the trans? If it's at 170k and last time you changed the fluid it was at 60~k, i'd change the fluid again, and the filter, and clean out your pan and clean out the magnets on the pan. The wix filter, and gasket I bought in my Transmission thread from a few months ago (January 2019) were perfect fits. I'd do 3-4 drain and fills, or 1 complete flush every 50k miles on a corolla to keep the ATF fresh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you for the reply Cuban -

The car has not recorded any transmission related codes.

As for operating temperature, you make an interesting point. However, it seems to happen randomly during my one hour commute. It could happen as I pull out of the parking garage just after a cold start or 45 minutes down the road when everything, I presume, is fully up to temperature.

You also make an interesting point regarding the transmission filter. I have asked around about that and not received a solid answer on this. I've heard it's a filter that can be replaced and I've heard it's a screen that isn't serviceable. but, I have to admit, I've never pulled the pan to see for myself. Maybe that's the next step.
 

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The shift points, throttle delay and downshift response are definitely terrible with this transmission. My 2009 Matrix only has 15,000 miles and the driveability is far worse than my wife's 2006 Matrix with 150,000 miles. In the winter, my car will hang on to 3rd gear and won't shift in to OD at lower speeds until the car has warmed up...I think that's all computer making it do that.
 

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you need to reach the first notch on the temperature gauge for OD to start being used... takes a good 5-10 minutes on the highway in winter.


i seen rough shifts in mine but i think the problem is not pushing the pedal far enough, or not at the right speed.



on first gear, its good to push the pedal all the way from 3000 rpm to redline... also im not sure about thing i think i did this only once, if anyone can confirm : with the automatic stick on the L position once a bit over redline i think it will shift in second gear (for towing heavy loads, i guess)


i will see a rough shift if im in 1st, and it shifts in 2nd while im trying to rev up, it goes back to 1st a bit hard

only fix i see is pushing the pedal further away, or using the "manual" mode... does yours down shift hard if you go from 3 to 2 or from 2 to L?
 

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Hello, 2013 Matrix has the same problem. Just changed the fluid and see very little change. Delayed downshift at city speeds and when it does engage it can be violent. Scared Im going to grenade this trans and it works fine otherwise. Considering changing the valve body because I really dont know what else to do. Car drives just fine under normal driving conditions
 

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Hello, 2013 Matrix has the same problem. Just changed the fluid and see very little change. Delayed downshift at city speeds and when it does engage it can be violent. Scared Im going to grenade this trans and it works fine otherwise. Considering changing the valve body because I really dont know what else to do. Car drives just fine under normal driving conditions
Curious what trans you have? Do you have the 1.8L with the 4AT or the 2.4L with the 5AT?
 
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