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Old 12-14-2010, 09:45 AM   #1
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Too Late to Flush the Tranny?

In the next few months, I will be getting a 04 Toyota Corolla LE, with approximately 89,000 miles on it. The car works fine, with no apparent issues, however, I don't think that the transmission fluid has ever been changed. Is it too late to change the transmission fluid, or will I just be asking for problems?
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:49 AM   #2
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Re: Too Late to Flush the Tranny?

I'd do a couple of "old fashioned" drop the pan changes on an accelerated schedule before attempting a power flush.
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:50 AM   #3
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89k Miles Too Late to Change Tranny Fluid?

In the next few months, I will be getting a 04 Toyota Corolla LE, with approximately 89,000 miles on it. The car works fine, with no apparent issues, however, I don't think that the transmission fluid has ever been changed. Is it too late to change the transmission fluid, or will I just be asking for problems?
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:56 AM   #4
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Re: Too Late to Flush the Tranny?

What is a "drop the pan change", I'm fairly new to that method. How does it differ from flushing the transmission?
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:21 AM   #5
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Re: Too Late to Flush the Tranny?

many here may not agree w/ this assessment, but it's the only 100% no BS one...

dropping the pan, changing the filter, and refilling is the "old school" and correct way. you may not have even have a filter to drop, but drain and fill is the correct method.

by using vacuum to flush your transmission, shops avoid the mess and time consumption of dropping the pan. what they don't tell you is that this CAN cause issues down the road. they sell this technique by suggesting that a flush is the only way to evacuate the entire amount of tranny fluid in the car. truth is, it really doesn't matter, especially if there is a filter to be changed.

your car may have no pan either--just a drain plug, like for the engine. if it's a manual tranny, i'm certain it has no pan.
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:24 AM   #6
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Re: 89k Miles Too Late to Change Tranny Fluid?

you sound like you're unsure. i would drive it until hot, then drain and refill it.
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:59 AM   #7
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Re: 89k Miles Too Late to Change Tranny Fluid?

No, it's not too late.

As far as I can tell, the truthful horror stories about transmission maintenance fall into two categories:
- It was failing so we tried changing the fluid and that made it worse.
- Used a machine to force a backwards flush.

If you're too nervous, however, bowtieguy's strategy should put you at ease by changing less than half of the fluid. Just drain-fill. Do it at every engine oil change for a while and eventually you'll have mostly new fluid in there.

If you're not so nervous, use the DIY fluid replacement (not quite a real 'flush') by letting the vehicle pump out its own fluid through a disconnected cooler line. I just did that on my 197,000 mile old GM but it has had a few transmission fluid changes in the past.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:02 AM   #8
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Re: Too Late to Flush the Tranny?

I'd say it's really never to late for a tranny fluid change. I had a 2000 astro van auto with 150k. It had a little clunk/hesitation between 2 and 3 under moderate acceleration.

I dropped the pan, changed the filter/fluid, (only one time, not twice as some might recommend) and drove it. It definitely improved the issue. (it may have gone away completely but my worry about it never did) It may have bought me several thousand more miles too. I drove it for another 5k or so and sold it for something more economical.

I'd also try this over the flush from a shop.

If it's a manual tranny, it's really easy to do. No filter and all you need to know is what kind/amount of fluid to use.

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Old 12-14-2010, 11:30 AM   #9
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Re: Too Late to Flush the Tranny?

For everyone involved, I'd like to say thank you. What I can say with absolute certainty, is that the car has an automatic transmission, without any hard shifts or apparent problems.

Correct me if I'm wrong; but what it sounds like I'm hearing is to "not" have it flushed via a vaccum from a garage. It would seem to me that dropping the pan would be the way to go. I don't know much about this car as of yet, so I may decide to take it in to a mechanic. Any suggestion as to what I should be aware of, in terms of what they may try to push on me? Rather, what else should I avoid?
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:18 AM   #10
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Re: Too Late to Flush the Tranny?

I too vote that its best to drop the pan and change the filter and fluid. I just service my transmission last month and you can feel the difference.
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