Replacing ATF: How Many Miles Between Drain And Fills?

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15
Location
WI
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I am going to do the "multiple drain and fill method" to change the automatic transmission fluid (ATF) on a 2009 Toyota Rav4 (2.5L four cylinder engine/four speed transmission) with 110,000 miles on it. As far as I know, the ATF has never been changed on this vehicle. The fluid looks a little dark, but does not smell burnt. The plan is to drain and fill the transmission three times. The first two times, drain the ATF through the transmission drain plug, the third time drain the fluid, and also remove the pan and change the automatic transmission filter. When changing the transmission fluid with this method, how many miles does one put on the car between the drain and fills? Is there a number of miles you should not exceed between the drain and fills?
 
Per Honda instructions on D&Fs, I would drain & fill, drive about 3 miles getting the trans thru all gears, then go back and repeat. I did it four times per Honda instructions the first time I serviced that trans, and then after that I just started draining one gallon every 15k miles and replacing it. I figured the first 4x change got around 90% of the old fluid out, and changing one gallon every other OCI just keeps it fresh.
 
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4,825
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Columbus,Nebraska
After doing multiple drains on my 04 Camry in 08, I drain/refill AT every spring and ATF stays looking/smelling new. I can drain out four quarts if I raise vehicle with jack stands. Works for me
 
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3,922
Location
SW Ohio
Do what works best for you or is convenient. If that means drain and refill, go for a 15-30 minute drive and repeat, do that. If it means do them a week apart or a month apart, do that. <span style="font-style: italic">There is no "right" answer to this.</span>
 
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15
Location
WI
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I have an upcoming 1000 mile road trip. I was going to do the first drain and fill, before the trip. That's why I was asking if there was a number of miles that should not be exceeded between the drain and fills. I only have time before the road trip to do a simple drain via the drain plug. If it is preferable to change the automatic transmission filter with the first drain and fill, as JLTD advised, I will start the fluid change process after the road trip. Note to Bubba: I thought besides changing the filter, dropping the pan was an opportunity to clean off metal debris from the pan magnets.
 
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34,427
Location
NY
You could drive around the block if you like. Getting it through all the gears would be nice. Some units only have to be run through all the gears without even driving the car to circulate the ATF. In other words, shift from Park to Reverse, to Neutral, D, 2, 1. The pump is mixing the ATF as it gets pumped through the unit.
 
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3,922
Location
SW Ohio
Honda has a "tech document" that tells their technicians to simply run it through gears while it's still on the hoist/lift. I don't think it involves more than a few minutes of "driving".
 
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15
Location
WI
Thread starter
OK, thanks. I will do the ATF changes after the 1000 mile road trip. Does it matter if the filter is changed with the first change or the final one?
 
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34,427
Location
NY
Originally Posted by hallstevenson
Honda has a "tech document" that tells their technicians to simply run it through gears while it's still on the hoist/lift. I don't think it involves more than a few minutes of "driving".
Exactly.
 
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7
Location
Louisiana
Originally Posted by kc27
OK, thanks. I will do the ATF changes after the 1000 mile road trip. Does it matter if the filter is changed with the first change or the final one?
It probably good to go ahead and get that old filter out of there. Its probably extremely dirty at that mileage. While you have pan off make sure you clean the magnet.
 
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34,427
Location
NY
Originally Posted by kc27
OK, thanks. I will do the ATF changes after the 1000 mile road trip. Does it matter if the filter is changed with the first change or the final one?
I'd change the filter and clean the pan on the first change.
 
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2,176
Location
Flaherty, KY
I did the same service you are describing when I bought my Pacifica at 120k. I replaced the filter on the first drain, then did a second drain within 50 miles. The third drain I did after another 5k or so, and during that third drain I replaced the filter again (had to drop pan for drain anyways, and for less than $15, why not). During the third drain I welded a drain plug to the pan so I could do a simple drain/fill every 30k or so, I plan to change filter @ 60k intervals. Personally, I prefer to change the filter at the first service to get the system as clean as possible. Since yours already has a drain plug, you probably don't need to replace the filter on the final drain if you don't feel like dropping the pan-- I don't really see a need. I just did it because I had the pan off anyways.
 
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92
Location
Minnesota
Originally Posted by Dave1027
Or just replace all the fluid at once using the ATF cooler lines going to the radiator.
Drop the pan, change the filter then do a fluid exchange like this, just buy the correct extension drain tubes, usually around 10mm, 3/8, 7/16, 12mm, if cooler return line is unknown, disconnect the easiest first, run both ends to a collection agent(drain pan or empty jug) and see which side is flowing as you run the motor briefly, if the side coming from the radiator, that's the return line, your good, over fill by 1 quart, pump 2 quarts out, repeat putting 2 quarts in until the final than add quart to fill. if the side coming the transmission is pumping fluid, connect it back together and the other line is the return line.
 
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15
Location
WI
Thread starter
Thanks for all the info and the video link. I noticed the person who made the ATF flush video lifted and supported a vehicle parked on a gravel drive. After seeing that, I will no longer grumble about my slightly uneven cracked concrete garage floor.
 
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