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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a new 2010 Highlander base 4WD with dip stick for transmission fluid checking. What is the procedure for checking? IE. Hot idling after running through gears and back to park? Manual and stick have no directions.....Stick is marked hot & cold, that's it.

Thanks,
Motoretro
 

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Transmission oil check proceedure

The owners manual makes no reference whatsoever on the proceedure to check transmission fluid. Does anyone know what the proceedure is? Should it be checked with the engine running? In drive, neutral and etc?
 

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Resident Nutcase
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from the repair manual:
-Get the engine up to running temperatures (includes driving around some to get the tranny warmed too, not just idling). (fluid temp will be 70-80 degrees C)
-park on level ground, put parking-brake on
-keep engine idling
-move the shift lever to all positions (between P to S1 and back to P again)
-remove dipstick and wipe clean
-put it back all the way
-take it out again and check the level. (should be between notches next to "hot")
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
While it took almost (2) years to find this out, I certainly appreciate the info. Thanks for the follow thru.:thumbsup:

Motoretro
 

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2008 Highlander Base
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Added a link to sweeney's post #3 in the Maintenance and Modifications sticky, sub-section Checking and Changing the Oil and Transmission Fluid.

:thumbsup:
 

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I've never seen a tranny dipstick on my '08 HL. Is there one? If so, where did they hide it? If not, I'm curious to know what year they started putting one on.
 

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I looked in my manual today and for the first time any vehicle I bought. The checking info it totally missing/omitted. Why, I was uncertain as to whether it was done Park or Neutral. I checked in Park and with a cold about 6C outside and it running a minute or two it was just above the very low mark. A short 20km drive to a store and it was above the half way mark. Colour its good (I had it drained and filled this summer) but has an not so nice smell. I am guessing its normal with this WS fluid to smell like that. I asked a dealer before changing and was told it was ok even before draining. But for $100 fluid and labour my local dealer did it.

Checking all fluid levels should be in the manual.
 

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I looked in my manual today and for the first time any vehicle I bought. The checking info it totally missing/omitted. Why, I was uncertain as to whether it was done Park or Neutral. I checked in Park and with a cold about 6C outside and it running a minute or two it was just above the very low mark. A short 20km drive to a store and it was above the half way mark. Colour its good (I had it drained and filled this summer) but has an not so nice smell. I am guessing its normal with this WS fluid to smell like that. I asked a dealer before changing and was told it was ok even before draining. But for $100 fluid and labour my local dealer did it.

Checking all fluid levels should be in the manual.
My understanding is that Toyota considers our version of their automatic transmission to be a sealed system that the customer/owner should never have to look at or do anything to. Therefore there is no reference to checking ATF levels in the owner materials, only in the maintenance manuals used in the shops. The transmission fluid dipstick is still there, they just don't think you have any need to use it. I feel better checking it now and then in spite of what they think! :laugh:

The strange thing is that the ATF levels in our trannies are checked just the same as any other automatic transmission out there - with the engine and transmission totally up to operating temperature and after running it through the gears, check it with the engine still running at idle in neutral or park. That's how you checked an automatic transmission in the sixties when I worked as a mechanic and it has not changed since that I know of.
 

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My understanding is that Toyota considers our version of their automatic transmission to be a sealed system that the customer/owner should never have to look at or do anything to.
Which.. according to Toyota engineers includes NOT having to change oil.. remove the pan to clean.. NADA except for unusual driving conditions.

It would be an interesting bit of trivia to know if there is an appreciable difference in the longevity of the transmission between those that change transmission oil frequently and those that don't.
 

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1996 T100 2WD 3.4L
2013 toyota highlander limited
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from the repair manual:
-Get the engine up to running temperatures (includes driving around some to get the tranny warmed too, not just idling). (fluid temp will be 70-80 degrees C)
-park on level ground, put parking-brake on
-keep engine idling
-move the shift lever to all positions (between P to S1 and back to P again)
-remove dipstick and wipe clean
-put it back all the way
-take it out again and check the level. (should be between notches next to "hot")
Okay, So I just did the drain and flush at the A/T cooler oil through the hose, and refilled. My levels are kind of off........ At cool (1-2 minutes after starting) my level is exactly at the low cold mark. At operating temperature after a drive through gears, I am exactly at the High on the hot mark. Soooo, low on one and high on the other??? Is this the sweet spot, lol.
Can anyone who verifies their level often tell me precisely where the A/T fluid level rests on the dip stick at cold iron (Engine cold and off)? Measurement in inches from the very bottom of dipstick please.

Thanks!
2013 Highlander 4wd.
 

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At 176°F, my running ATF level, while parked on a flat level surface in park, is exactly at the top of the range, where it should be. Use a scan tool for ATF temp otherwise its a guessing game and why newer cars don't have dipsticks for ATF that were never used correctly to begin with.
 

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1996 T100 2WD 3.4L
2013 toyota highlander limited
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At 176°F, my running ATF level, while parked on a flat level surface in park, is exactly at the top of the range, where it should be. Use a scan tool for ATF temp otherwise its a guessing game and why newer cars don't have dipsticks for ATF that were never used correctly to begin with.
What is your cold level compared to your at temp level? Can you take that measurement for me at cold iron?
 

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1996 T100 2WD 3.4L
2013 toyota highlander limited
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12 Posts
What is your cold level compared to your at temp level? Can you take that measurement for me at cold iron?
Okay, to answer my own question..... I finally got my fluid precisely where it needs to be at operating temperature, and it is also within range at cold. At cold iron (sitting over night for example, engine off) my ATF level on the dip stick is exactly 1" above the high mark (Hot), or exactly one half (1/2) inch below the WS on the dip stick.
 

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So a dead cold engine shows the trans fluid to be 1" above the Hot High mark? Does that mean it is overfilled? Also this means it is way past the cold range? What am I not understanding here?
 

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1996 T100 2WD 3.4L
2013 toyota highlander limited
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So a dead cold engine shows the trans fluid to be 1" above the Hot High mark? Does that mean it is overfilled? Also this means it is way past the cold range? What am I not understanding here?
The proper procedure to check the transmission fluid level is with engine running. When you start the engine, this drives the transmission pump thats circulating ATF fluid for lubrication. The fluid moving for lubrication is taken from the sump, so the fluid level in the pan drops. If you check the fluid soon after start up.... You should be in the cold range.
After driving the vehicle and moving through all gear selections and at operating temperature, at this point you should be at the hot range on the dip stick.
All done on level ground of course.
So yes, your level should look high when not running because that extra fluid is always in circulation with the engine running. I was curious what that measurement was in my case for a cold not running engine.
 
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