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TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, USA, INC.

Checking Automatic Transmission Fluid

Question
How do I check my vehicle's Automatic Transmission Fluid?

Answer

CHECKING AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FLUID LEVEL

TOOLS AND SUPPLIES:

  • Automatic Transmission fluid
  • Rag or paper towels
  • Funnel


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Check the fluid level when the transmission is hot (normal operating temperature).

    If the vehicle has been driven over 10 miles or 16 km (15 miles or 24 km in frigid temperatures) and the fluid temperature is 160-175 degrees F, 70-80 degrees C, the transmission is hot.

    If the vehicle has just been driven for a long time at high speed or in city traffic in hot weather, or if the vehicle has been pulling a trailer, an accurate fluid level cannot be obtained. Check the level after the fluid has cooled down (about 30 minutes).

    You may check the level when the transmission is cold. If the vehicle has not been driven for over five hours and the fluid is about room temperature 70-85 degrees F, 20-30 degrees C, the transmission is cold. However, checking a cold transmission is to be used for your reference only and the transmission must be checked again for correct level at normal operating temperature.

  2. Step-by-step procedures.
    1. With the vehicle level, first set the parking brake and then start the engine.
    2. While the engine is idling, depress the brake pedal and shift the selector lever into each range from "P" to "L" and return to "P".
    3. With the engine still idling, check the fluid level and condition on the automatic transmission fluid dipstick.
    4. Pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean with a rag (be careful, fluid is hot).
    5. Reinsert the dipstick -- push it in as far as it will go.
    6. Pull the dipstick out and look at the fluid level. If the transmission is hot, the fluid level should be in the "HOT" range on the dipstick. Similarly, if it is cold, the level should be in the "COOL" range.
    7. While checking the fluid level, also check the condition. If the fluid is black or if it smells burnt, have it changed.

    CAUTION: Moving parts like the fan blade and drive belts, as well as extreme heat in the engine compartment or from the exhaust system, can result in serious injury.

    • Approach with caution and care.
    • Never take short cuts.
    • Improper servicing may damage your Toyota and lead to personal injury.
    • Unless you have the proper knowledge, equipment and tools, have your local Toyota dealership perform the repairs and maintenance.
  3. If the level is low, add the appropriate automatic transmission fluid for your vehicle.

    If the level is at the low side of either range, add the appropriate automatic transmission fluid for your vehicle to bring the level within the range. (Fluid is added through the dipstick tube, using a funnel.)


NOTE: Avoid overfilling, or the transmission could be damaged.


Disclaimer: There are many variations in the step-by-step procedures used when checking fluid levels, and varying skill levels of individuals. These instructions cannot anticipate all circumstances or provide advice and caution on each. If you are in doubt concerning your ability or have any questions, consult your local Toyota dealership and have the work performed by an experienced technician.


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