Dealer said transmission oil can't be drained and refilled

Discussion in 'Prius c Main Forum' started by Species5618w, Apr 16, 2022.

  1. Species5618w

    Species5618w Member

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    Went in for the 160K km service for my 2012 Prius C and asked for a drain and refill. Dealer said that would only replace about 1 litre of the transmission oil and I should do a flush instead. I have seen people recommending drain and refill over flush (the service lady on the phone actually recommended it, but the lady at the counter said no). What did you guys do?
     
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  2. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    If you look in your owners' manual you'll see that Toyota does not list any recommendation for periodic fluid exchange. That doesn't mean that it isn't a good idea, but the other end of it is that the dealer service people don't really have a plan for it. It's not on their menu, so to speak.

    Their mechanics are all quite capable of doing a drain and fill, it's just weird because they've all been trained that it isn't needed, there is no official procedure, and they'd have to get creative about how to list it on the bill- probably just time and materials.

    Honestly if you really want it done, take it to an independent mechanic with a few bottles of genuine toyota WS fluid sourced from the dealer. You'll pay less overall, and everyone involved is likely to be more comfortable.

    Probably a good idea to line up a good indy mechanic anyway- taking an older car like that back to the dealer is expensive!

    Regarding the difference between drain and fill and flush: there isn't one, from the car's point of view. All you need is drain and fill, if you even need that.
     
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  3. Species5618w

    Species5618w Member

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    Thanks. Flush is more expensive, but the lady on the phone said flushing might cause leaks. I might have to bite the bullet since I don't know any mechanic who work on hybrids. It just doesn't give me confidence that they don't seem to know what to do and quote me the wrong amount of transmission fluid for my car.

    Even without doing it, it cost me a lot today with new brakes, new coolant, new brake fluid, all season tire installation. :( Although this is the first time I really spent any money on it, so I am still more than happy.
     
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  4. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    It is time to find a dealer with a clue or a good hybrid mechanic.

    There is no flush (other than your wallet) in any Prius, just drain and fill.

    The 'old wife's tale' about ruining an automatic transmission by changing the ATF does not apply to any Prius as they lack clutch packs ànd valve body shift logic. If they don't exist, they can't fail.



    This discusses the why's, you just need to know that your Prius c lacks a torque converter, clutch packs and a valve body, so those issues can't affect you.
     
    #4 JimboPalmer, Apr 16, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2022
  5. Elektroingenieur

    Elektroingenieur Senior Member

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    While it’s true that there’s no scheduled interval for it in the United States, the Repair Manual (more info) does give a procedure, under Drivetrain: P510 Hybrid Transmission/Transaxle: Hybrid Transaxle Fluid: Replacement. Basically, the fluid is drained and refilled three times, with the engine operated in maintenance mode after the first and second times. One edition of Toyota’s Flat Rate Manual allows 1.1 labor hours for this (operation number 002359N, NHP10 series).

    In Canada, the Owner’s Manual Supplement (PDF) does call for replacing the automatic transmission fluid every 72 months or 96,000 km, but only when “Towing a trailer, using a camper or car top carrier” (page 26).
     
    #5 Elektroingenieur, Apr 16, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2022
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  6. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Good to know. I was paraphrasing what a random dealer technician told me when I asked. Of course it does make sense that there is a procedure for it, since certain (probably very rare) repairs would normally involve drain & fill.
     
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  7. Species5618w

    Species5618w Member

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    Wow, that's wonderful information. Unfortunately, I am nowhere handy enough to do it myself. I can understand the lady in the service front desk probably just don't have any of those info. She gave a whole bunch of wrong info about my brakes until the technician came out and talked with me. For example, she said my brake drum was all rusted and will break soon, but I shouldn't replace it since the shoes are still good. I was like what? Then I talked with the technician and he showed me the rust was on the outside and the inside are just fine and indeed it needs no replacement. None of the video I saw online really showed all these steps too, so it's probably still best to get it done by someone who knows this stuff. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to find a right technician for this. Maybe I will chat with the dealership again and see whether they can find a technician who knows this procedure. I would like to keep this car for another 10-20 years, so I'd rather replace it even if I have to spend a little extra, but I don't want them to mess something up. Thx again.

    BTW, if anybody in the GTA area knows a good Prius C technician either in dealership or independent, I would highly appreciate an recommendation please.
     
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  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    there's really no such thing as a flush. speak to the service manager. tell him what you want and why.

    if he argues nonsense, tell him you don't care, you would really like to have the fluid changed.
    they will probably give in, most do when pressed.

    there really is no such thing as a flush, you just want a drain and fill. shouldn't be more than $150. or so.
    10-20 years, you need to go through your maintenance schedule carefully and follow the time/km intervals, whichever comes first.
     
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  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Underfoot

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    For the transaxle fluid replacement the drill is basically:

    remove fill bolt

    remove drain bolt (fluid drains)

    Install drain bolt

    Pour in new fluid, till it starts coming back out (with car level)

    Install fill bolt
     
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  10. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    Go to an independent shop. Take 4 quarts of WS and two 18mm crush washers. Do not let them use any other transmission fluid.
     
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  11. BiomedO1

    BiomedO1 Active Member

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    First off; It's the dealer, so you know they're wrong! :):notworthy:(n) Just kidding....

    Lifetime fluid: translation - the fluid will last until the car is out of warranty, NOT your lifetime or the car's lifetime. If the transmission should fail outside of warranty - I'm sure the dealership will be more than happy to replace it and lighten your bank account at the same time.:p

    flush vs change: There's a big difference and I've actually seen shops use a turkey baster to suck the old brake fluid out of the reservoir and replace it with new brake fluid and call it a brake fluid flush - I call that Fraud. That can only be called a brake fluid change; and that's a stretch for me, but it's perfectly legal. If you take your car in for a brake fluid flush and can get the car back in less than an hour; there's a really good chance that only a turkey baster was used.

    change the ATF 3x: This is most likely a cut-n-paste from an old automatic transmission manual with a torque converter; to get 90% of the old ATF out of the system. The converter retains about half the ATF in the system; when you "drop the pan"; you're only getting half of it out. This is NOT the case with our CVT; removing the drain plug - removes 95% of the ATF. The other 5% or less is stuck in the cooling loop.

    Our ATF serves three main purposes; lube, cool, and remain electrically neutral. As the contaminant levels build up in the ATF, it effects all three of these vital functions. Dirt in a lubricant is never a good thing; causes excessive wear. Did you know "pure" water doesn't conduct electricity; but water with calcium or salt will? Similar action takes place in your ATF, that degrades the electronic motors in your CVT. Cooling, as the contaminate levels build up, the chemical bonds of the ATF has other options and may combine with other substances suspended in the fluid. There is also simple thermo-breakdown of the ATF - your fluid color change.

    Hope this answers some of the mysteries around ATF changes...
     
    #11 BiomedO1, Apr 17, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2022
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  12. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Underfoot

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    A bit more specifically, the fluid is:

    Toyota ATF WS

    And for the washers, assuming you’re getting the fluid at a Toyota dealership parts department: ask for the transaxle fill and drain bolt washers.
     
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  13. BiomedO1

    BiomedO1 Active Member

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    @Species5618w If the inside of your brake drum is rusty, where it shouldn't be rusty - that would be a concern to me. There shouldn't be any rust where the brake shoes and drum meet; otherwise your rear brakes aren't doing their job and 99% of your braking is on your front wheels only. This increases stopping distances and puts extra wear and tear on your front brakes and tires.
    Unfortunately rear brake shoes adjustments always gets overlooked. Your emergency brake handle should only go up about 3-4 clicks; if your rear brakes are adjusted properly. That's a simple test you can do at the dealership, just before you drive off. Unfortunately they (service technicians) can void this test by adjusting the emergency brake cables (tightening them); instead of adjusting the distance between brake shoes and brake drum.
    There are auto-adjusters back there, but you have to back out of a driveway daily to activate them - even then there is no guarantee that they will adjust properly. that is why brake inspections are required at every service interval. I've manually adjusted my old PriusC every 25K miles and you feel an immediate difference in stopping power. FWIW; I back out of my driveway daily on a 8% slope; so those brakes get used, yet they don't ever seem to auto adjust properly.
     
    #13 BiomedO1, Apr 17, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2022
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  14. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    The problem is mostly semantics, but it's also employee turnover at the service dept. and the amount of different kinds of cars and technologies used in the cars a dealer service dept. services.

    What's a Flush and Refill Service to one Service Adviser or Mechanic is the same service as a Drain and Refill Service to another Service Advisor or Mechanic.

    One good way to know the difference ( if there is one ? ) is to get a price quote for both
    If they will or can give you a quote for both.
    That way you have more info to work with and can get better info about what is right or wrong with a Service as Quoted By any one person or mechanic.

    It's very easy to get the service methods for different kinds of cars quoted incorrectly,mostly due to the many different kinds of cars a dealer or independent shop services.

    Summarizing here: Generally at the Service Advisor level a transmission Flush and Reflll is the same service as a Drain and Refill, unless the price is different.

    It gets more complicated when there is an inexperienced mechanic in the loop working on your car.
     
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  15. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Underfoot

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    Dealerships “can” be the last place you want to go, since:

    1. Toyota says nothing about transaxle fluid change, in the maintenance schedule.

    2. there are Toyota models with conventional automatics, with complex drain/fill procedures, that the dealership is familiar with, and this may have the service writers padding the bill, a mix of inexperience and larceny.
     
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  16. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Junior Member

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    Autodex in Vaughan
    Bullock City Auto Services in Markham
    Haven't been to any of these shops but they were recommended by some GTA Prius owners.

















    rius owners, hope this helps!
     
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  17. BiomedO1

    BiomedO1 Active Member

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    I humbly disagree; While english is my second language - when someone tells me and puts it in writing that they are going to flush my brake-, transmission-, power steering-, coolant-, fluid(s) - I expect them to do so. NOT just empty the reservoir and refill it; that is outright fraud and misleading, not semantics. If there is a communication issue; that is between service writer, mechanic, and management. The service writer is being paid by the dealership and represents the dealership - they should know the difference and so should the mechanic. They would be exposing the dealership to lawsuits and BBB complaints - something the dealership doesn't want and could've easily avoided.

    While you did do a very good job in explaining how such a mix-up could've occurred; this kind of childish, excuse making behavior shouldn't be tolerated. This is why good honest mechanics are going out of business, while the guy down the street is offering the "flush" service for half the price - but it's really a reservoir drain & fill; if they bother to do that at all.

    When someone takes their car in for the 100K coolant replacement; would it be OK for them to just suck the liter of coolant out of the coolant reservoir, replace it, and call it a coolant flush/replacement?

    Sorry for the "soap box" lecture in advance.
     
    #17 BiomedO1, Apr 19, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2022
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  18. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Underfoot

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    You can’t fight common usage. It’s frustrating, but if a lot of people mangle an expression, that’s how it is.
     
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  19. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    I have absolutely no issue with the way your presented your take on what possible issues might be encountered while having a car serviced @BiomedO1
    There are certainly lots of other issues out there in the wilds of auto service that I haven't been exposed to.
    I also agree with @Mendel Leisk and his description of what I believe is a serious issue that only seems to be getting worse. as time goes by.
    And thank you @ivanhoe for offering a few shops that you've heard about that others have mentioned with decent review in your and hopefully @Species5618w area.
     
    #19 vvillovv, Apr 19, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2022
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