Transmission Drain and Fill

Discussion in 'Prius c Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by bonanzoo, May 30, 2019.

  1. bonanzoo

    bonanzoo Junior Member

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    Hello all,

    I have been to 7 Toyota dealerships so far and every time I bring up the topic about changing the transmission fluid, I receive a scripted reply "The transaxle fluid is meant to last the lifetime of the vehicle, it is a sealed unit." Today I had an oil change at different Toyota dealership. He specifically stated that I have a trans drain and refill. I was completely shocked when he said this. It's only $115.07. I am at 121,500 miles and he said to do it every 90,000 miles. Should I go ahead and get this drain and refill done? Or should I believe the other 7 dealerships and hope the transaxle doesn't give out and have me end up footing a $3000 repair bill. I expect this car to last me 300k-400k. Will changing the transaxle fluid at 121k damage my vehicle in any way?

    Unrelated to this but he also said I need front shock and struts and rear shocks. I have no concerns regarding this what so ever. I think I could easily hit 200k before even considering having this done.

    I have attached a photo of the invoice.
     

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  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    yes, change it. you should have done it early on and every 30k with plans to keep the car that long.

    that's a great price for a dealer too.
     
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  3. bonanzoo

    bonanzoo Junior Member

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    Thanks for the reply! I just booked a service appointment tomorrow to have it drained.

    Thanks!
     
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  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    That's a little steep. But hey, if they're the first receptive dealership, maybe worth it.

    Up here, four liters of Toyota ATF WS fluid, and replacement drain/fill bolt washers, retails (at the parts counter) for about $40 CDN. So just to cover any vagaries in different country pricing, lets say it's also $40 US.

    The labour is comparable to an oil change. The car needs to be raised a bit, and level, which is a walk-in-the-park for the dealership with their lifts, what they always do. Refill is a little tricky, the simplest method I've found is a funnel with tubing extension, from above. You fill till it starts coming back out. That's it.

    A fair price for that would be $80~90, but maybe not worth quibbling.
     
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  5. bonanzoo

    bonanzoo Junior Member

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    I’m at the same Toyota dealership right now getting the drain and fill. He said it was going to cost $189 before tax. I pulled out the invoice he gave me yesterday that had $115 on it. Of course he honored it but it just shows how unethical these service advisors can really be. He priced me at $115 yesterday on paper and next day tries to charge me $189 ‍♂️ If it was not illegal to do fluid maintenance on the streets, I would have done the drain and fill myself. Thank god this service is every 90k.
     
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  6. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    And if the dealer is playing this game with you, the next time find an independent shop that will do it. It's something any mechanic can do, very similar to changing the fluid in a manual transmission.
     
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  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    That's mostly their take on it, though not an out of line number. Toyota does mention transaxle fluid change, in "severe service" section of maintenance schedule, IIRC.

    The one caveat I'd add: you can't do the first change too soon. Well, maybe, if you've just rolled off the dealer's lot, brand-new. But one year mark, around 10K miles: a good time to do a first change. I found that to have the darkest drained fluid. Due to new gears meshing, assembly oils, whatever.

    Yeah if you can find a place to DIY, it's a lot cheaper. And not that hard.
     
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  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    I'm not sure what the Prius c transaxle is like, similar to second gen Prius? I couldn't find instruction in the 2nd gen Repair Manual for transaxle fluid change, I believe the drain and fill bolts are different? One of them is a largish diameter hex bolt, the other a "socket head cap screw", with a hex recess, maybe 10 mm? For the latter you need something like this:

    upload_2019-5-31_8-58-28.png

    The torque value on 3rd gen drain and fill bolts (for what it's worth) is 29 foot/pounds. Not a lot, but worth having a torque wrench to install, imho. Also, they do get glued-on: you really want to have a long handled breaker bar or ratcheting wrench to break them loose, then it's relatively easy. And remove the fill bolt first, just incase you're having troubles.
     
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  9. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    More than one backyard mechanic has drained their fluid out and then found they can't get the fill bolt loose. It usually ends up with a flatbed ride to a shop that can get the bolt loose.
     
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  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    Here's something I've got on 2nd gen, just fluid level check:
     

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  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    I don't know about that: if you've drained the fluid first, and then are struggling to break loose the fill bolt, you'll probably succeed, because you'll be MOTIVATED.
     
  12. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    The spec'd fluid quantity for 2nd gen (and I'm guessing c is the same) is 4.0 US quarts. On the face of it, if you purchase 4 quarts, you're cutting it a little close. But I'd think you'd be ok. The spec'd level is anywhere from flush to 5mm below the lip of the fill hole, with the car level.

    If you put in 4 quarts, and it's not quite starting to flow back out, BUT if you check with your pinkie and you can feel it splish-splashing, I'd think you're good.

    If you're obsessive, purchase the extra quart (get a ride, cab, transit), and pour till it DOES start flowing back out. Also: I've read one publication by Toyota that cautions to only use fluid from freshly opened bottles. So the safe money is to just recycle left-overs.
     
  13. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The other One Percenter.....

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    Executive Summary:
    Let the dealer change the transaxle fluid.
    $120 is actually a decent price....FOR A DEALER.
    Skip the shocks and struts.

    Longer post.....

    I'd go ahead and let the dealer do the transaxle fluid change, but I'd have the shocks and struts checked out by either an independent mechanic or some place REPUTABLE that sells tires (like a local Firestone, Pep boyz, etc.)
    If you expect this car to last 300K and ONLY if this is so you might be a good candidate for something like Firestone's Lifetime Alignment.....but if your tires are lasting as long as the tread-ware rating says that they should last and you don't have any handling or suspension issues I'd say leave the shocks and struts alone - especially in LA.

    You'll have to take some time and read about thirty posts in this forum about transaxle fluid replacement before making up your mind about whether or not this service is worth it, but if the dealer does it right (and it's pretty simple!) and they use OEM fluid (they should, since they obviously HAVE it) then 120 bucks isn't a bad dealer price for this service.
    If I had your Priussy right now, I'd change the fluid now and about every....ummmmm.....50-60,000 miles or so going forward.
    If you do not have a garage or a place to work on your car - I'd only use an independent mechanic for the transaxle fluid change if I KNEW they used Toyota's OEM fluid because of the motor windings in this unit that probably will, but MAYBE not be compatible with aftermarket stuff.
    Besides.....many Angelinos do not swing wrenches on their own cars when they can lease out their garages for $2000 a month. ;)

    So....if you want your C-type to REALLY last 300,000 miles, start checking your oil lever every 2-3 times you fill the tank.
    If your car starts burning oil, it will probably last for many many miles - but your catalytic converter - wont, and in certain places in the world they do not allow you to replace a catalytic converter with a $150 aftermarket unit.

    ---just sayin.

    You have Toyota's MOST RELIABLE vehicle according to some sources.
    If you take care of it.....and if some cell phone queen or street racer doesn't turn it into a donor car, you'll see 300,000 miles EASY.
     
  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    Huh, think you're right:

    Reddit discussion

    Know anybody with a level driveway, carport, garage?
     
  15. Sky_Velleity

    Sky_Velleity New Member

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    I had mine's transaxle fluid done at 40k km, so around 25k miles.
    I asked specifically for a sample, and the fluid, while still slightly red, was still quite dark. I'll have it done again after it's done the same distance, I'm hoping it may be a fair bit cleaner then as by now I'd think the gears would have had time to settle and stop wearing so much, but time will tell.
    Earlier is always better, however in most cases it's something that if you don't explicitly ask for, the dealer will just ignore, as the average hybrid will last longer, even without ever having a transaxle fluid change, than the original owner will have it for.
     
  16. cww180

    cww180 New Member

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    I just changed mine for what I believe to be the second documented one and this is what it looked like. This was at 192,000 miles.
     

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