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#4660682 - 02/09/18 08:37 AM Opinions requested: interval for ATF drain/fill
mrdctaylor Offline


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 530
Loc: McGregor TX
Guys,

I have a 2012 Toyota Highlander 2WD with the 3.5L V6. I did a transmission drain and fill at 30K miles and another at 60K miles. Both times the fluid looked/smelled fine. Both times I replaced with genuine Toyota WS ATF. I do not tow anything. Most miles are highway miles (probably 75/25 highwy/city) and I travel about 15-16K miles in a year.

I've always done 30K mile drains/fills on my other vehicles. I've done it on my 2002 Toyota Tacoma since new using Mobil 1 ATF. I've done it on my 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe since new using Genuine Hyundai SPIII ATF. Both vehicles have over 210K miles now with no transmission issues.

My question is this: considering that Toyota *never* recommends changing the fluid in this transmission, is 30K miles overkill in your opinion? I have about 82K miles on the car right now. I did the last ATF drain/fill at 60K. I was thinking about waiting until 100K (instead of 90K) which would make it a 40K interval and then going to 50K intervals after that. I like easy-to-remember numbers. :-)

Thoughts on the interval? To me, it seems like 50K mile intervals should be sufficient.

PS. I know some will recommend switching ATFs. I have heard Maxlife is a good substitute for WS. But I generally feel better using OEM ATF. The only reason I went with M1 in my 2002 Tacoma is that it recommended Dex III and that was a popular standard that many fluids adhered to at the time. With all of the manufacturers essentially having their own standards these days I just like to pay a few bucks more and use OEM. To each their own.


Edited by mrdctaylor (02/09/18 08:58 AM)
_________________________
12 Highlander 3.5L, 84K, M1 EP 0W20
02 Tacoma 3.4L, 211K, Napa Syn 5W30
17 Escape 2.0L, 28K, ???
02 Trailblazer 4.2L, 174K, Magnatec 5W30

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#4660689 - 02/09/18 08:43 AM Re: Opinions requested: interval for ATF drain/fill [Re: mrdctaylor]
Jimzz Offline


Registered: 10/03/14
Posts: 1109
Loc: NoVA
I would try Maxlife next time and then check at 30k/40k and change at 50k if it looks good at 30k/40k checks.
_________________________
yup

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#4660690 - 02/09/18 08:44 AM Re: Opinions requested: interval for ATF drain/fill [Re: mrdctaylor]
WobblyElvis Offline


Registered: 09/23/14
Posts: 1274
Loc: Toronto Canada
Since the 70's I've been changing the fluid and filter every 100,000 miles, maybe less often. Never had a transmission failure.

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#4660694 - 02/09/18 08:50 AM Re: Opinions requested: interval for ATF drain/fill [Re: mrdctaylor]
edwardh1 Offline


Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 2853
Loc: Coastal South Carolina
I have an 04 highlander, I drain and fill (no flushing, no pan removal) at about 60-75 k. car has 150k on it now. atf t-4 for mine is 3 quarts for $17 at dealer.
what I dont understand is toyota says different atf specs for different years, ws and T-4 , but max life says one product for all WS or t-iv . how is that explained. so I went with oem.

I have used it
maxlife in my MAXIMA and its good I think.


Edited by edwardh1 (02/09/18 08:51 AM)
_________________________
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#4660697 - 02/09/18 08:51 AM Re: Opinions requested: interval for ATF drain/fill [Re: WobblyElvis]
paulri Offline


Registered: 08/14/15
Posts: 721
Loc: CA, USA
How far do you take these cars--do you keep them to 200K miles and beyond?

My Civic has had one flush at 175K, I bought it at 80K and I was given no records at all at that point, so this might have been the only time it was changed. I'm just wondering myself, how often I should be draining/flushing.

Originally Posted By: WobblyElvis
Since the 70's I've been changing the fluid and filter every 100,000 miles, maybe less often. Never had a transmission failure.
_________________________
2005 Toyota Sienna LE; 148,000 miles
1998 Honda Civic DX; 197,000 miles

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#4660700 - 02/09/18 08:53 AM Re: Opinions requested: interval for ATF drain/fill [Re: mrdctaylor]
wlk Offline


Registered: 08/21/16
Posts: 9
Loc: Pennsylvania
After replacing a trans in my old dakota, I do all of mine, pan drop and filter, at 20k miles now. Overkill sure but beats a $3000 replacement bill. 20k is what the trans shop recommended, while under warranty they did the servicing. I do all of it now on the other vehicles and did(son totalled it) the Dakota after warranty expired.


Edited by wlk (02/09/18 08:59 AM)

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#4660728 - 02/09/18 09:18 AM Re: Opinions requested: interval for ATF drain/fill [Re: mrdctaylor]
JMJNet Offline


Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 905
Loc: TX, USA
I will do every 60k-90k for Toyota after the first 30K.

If it is Ford or Chrysler/Dodge or Honda (not sure about new Honda) then do it every 30K or 1 year.
_________________________
  • 2017 Toyota Sienna
  • 1995 GMC Suburban 6.5L Turbo Diesel



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#4660799 - 02/09/18 10:21 AM Re: Opinions requested: interval for ATF drain/fill [Re: JMJNet]
khittner Offline


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 253
Loc: Michigan
I have a '11 Highlander with the 2.7 liter engine, and the U760E 6-speed transmission. I abandoned WS at the first fluid change and filter ("screen", which it really isn't) change at 30K miles. I used MaxLife for the first change, and Amsoil LV ATF for the subsequent two changes. My transmission shop owner told me that, based on what little they've found in the removed filters and the fluid pan & magnets, that I could stretch future fluid and filter replacements to 50K miles. I did them a bit sooner than that, at 75K miles and 120K miles (45K intervals). No problems and smooth shifting so far at 126K miles. I view major internal transmission work as being the end of my ownership of a vehicle, and I'm hoping to get this one to 300K without major internal engine or tranny work. Hence, my choice of zooty Amsoil for this application; it may not be better than WS, but I feel better about this minor expense to maximize the chances of getting to 300K. "Checking" the ATF's condition in this tranny, and perhaps yours, too, is problematic, given the "sealed"/no dipstick design, so I just do the filter and fluid change. Haven't done a flush or complete fluid exchange; just drain and fills with the pan drop and new filter. Now that ATP filters are available at RockAuto for this tranny, that's what it's been getting, instead of the pricier OEM piece.

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#4660801 - 02/09/18 10:22 AM Re: Opinions requested: interval for ATF drain/fill [Re: mrdctaylor]
SubieRubyRoo Offline


Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 893
Loc: Winchester, Indiana
30k is what I'd stick to. Tranny fluid is cheap if you are doing it yourself; average transmission replacement is likely around $4000 (give or take).

I'd never do a forced flush, just drop the pan and change filter where you can, or drain and fill where you can't. Fresh clean fluid will clean more gently than forced flush.

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#4660804 - 02/09/18 10:23 AM Re: Opinions requested: interval for ATF drain/fill [Re: mrdctaylor]
LotI Offline


Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 1231
Loc: America's Dairyland
<opinion on>
50k is a nice round number for today's transmissions using a lifetime fill. If it's easy to change (like my E450, Mazda6, or previous Accords), then you could change it more often, but with your driving style I don't think it's necessary. My Mazda is lifetime but my Accords would signal the MM when it was time, right at 50k. The disclaimer was for any delivery, taxi or mountain driving they recommend 25k.

You've already done more maintenance than 95+% of the cars on the road, IMO. I would use the OEM fluid as it's not that expensive since you're doing it yourself. If I were purchasing your car I would pay more if I saw the changes were done with OEM vs. universal fluid(Maxlife)

The 5R110 in my E450 didn't like Maxlife as well as a licensed Mercon LV.
_________________________
03 Honda Interceptor
11 Kawasaki KLR 650
12 Ford E450
17 Mazda6 GT

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#4660807 - 02/09/18 10:24 AM Re: Opinions requested: interval for ATF drain/fill [Re: mrdctaylor]
mrdctaylor Offline


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 530
Loc: McGregor TX
Mine actually has a dipstick, so I can look at the color and smell to see if it is burnt. That's about it. WS seemns to get a bad rap on here, but for me it holds up pretty well. I'm thinking I'll probably stick with WS and stretch it 40K this time. And if everything seems fine, stretch to 50K next time. I too like to own my vehicles for a long time, but I'm just thinking 30K may be be overkill. So many people do nothing to their trannies and still get 250K-300K miles out of them.
_________________________
12 Highlander 3.5L, 84K, M1 EP 0W20
02 Tacoma 3.4L, 211K, Napa Syn 5W30
17 Escape 2.0L, 28K, ???
02 Trailblazer 4.2L, 174K, Magnatec 5W30

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#4660918 - 02/09/18 12:08 PM Re: Opinions requested: interval for ATF drain/fill [Re: mrdctaylor]
supton Offline


Registered: 11/09/08
Posts: 11567
Loc: NH
If it's not changing color then I have to think you're changing perhaps too often--not that it's a bad thing, just that you could go longer. It's not accumulating anything / breaking down.

Aisin transmissions seem pretty robust. I'm not sure that they need changing sooner than 50k, not if all highway. Too many cars are going 200k+ without any changes to make me believe it's that critical.

I'm with you--do it ever 50k (which means short changing this upcoming one). Real easy to remember what needs to be done this way. I like to do tire rotations every 5k on this basis, and oil changes every 5k or 10k, same rational.
_________________________
2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 157k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 141k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 178k, his

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#4660944 - 02/09/18 12:31 PM Re: Opinions requested: interval for ATF drain/fill [Re: mrdctaylor]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 10424
Loc: Buffalo, NY
I think that first 30-40K mile range is when you're going to remove the highest concentration of wear materials in the fluid, regardless if you can "see" them or not (hopefully not!). To me, that can only be a good thing to reduce those materials to make things easier on bearings, orifices and seals.


Edited by JTK (02/09/18 12:32 PM)
_________________________
2016 Subaru Forester 2.5, CVT. 2016 Nissan Quest SV (Babe magnet IV)

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#4661075 - 02/09/18 02:49 PM Re: Opinions requested: interval for ATF drain/fill [Re: mrdctaylor]
andyd Offline


Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 6892
Loc: Marshfield , MA
I ran a 727 Torque flight until the filter cut off the flow to the pump. I'm gonna say the Jeep had 150 K Miles. Dropped the pan and changed the filter and replaced whatever ATF drained out. Revived the trans. The several Getrag 4hp22s I had over 22 yrs of daily driving 5 different cars, just one repair involving R+R'ing the trans. I did drain and fills as a baseline and maybe every 60K afterward. Rugged unit
_________________________
'16 Camry LE STP synth 0w20 and STP filter. the Fridge

1994 Ranger ,the Rat, 5w30 dino, STP filter

'16 Camry SE, Valvoline bulk 0w20 and ? filter

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#4661152 - 02/09/18 04:09 PM Re: Opinions requested: interval for ATF drain/fill [Re: mrdctaylor]
Sam_Julier Offline


Registered: 05/22/12
Posts: 417
Loc: Connecticut
We just inherited an 05 Highlander Limited AWD with 38,000 miles. I did a drain and fill at 40,000 with 4 quarts of OE T-IV fluid. $8/quart at the local dealer. I plan to do have the pan dropped and the filter changed at 60,000 and then do a drain and fill every 20,000 there after. It's a beautiful car that we hope to have for a long time and possibly pass along to a child.

Sam
_________________________
2005 Highlander 3.3L PD Duron 0W30, 45k
1993 Volvo 245 Delo 10W30, 138k
1993 Volvo 244 VPB 10W30, 148k


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