Transmission Fluid Change?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by jgod12, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. JerryCS

    JerryCS Prius camper with trailer hitch

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    Jeff, by "refresh" do you mean top it up, or change it (drain and fill)?
     
  2. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    Drain and fill. The ATF doesn't generally leak so no need to top it off. My 2004 Prius is now at 211k miles - half way to it's fourth ATF Drain and refill.

    JeffD
     
  3. Wolf Cola

    Wolf Cola Junior Member

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    Why are Toyota dealers so reluctant to change the transaxle fluid? I asked my local dealer, and he said "Nah, it's good for life."
     
  4. ETP

    ETP 2021 Prime(Limit),Highlander HYB Plat,B52-D,G,F,H

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    They want you to buy a new transmission or they have idiots for mechanics they cannot trust!
     
  5. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Toyota sets out the required maintenance, and dealerships are supposed to follow it. Look in your maintenance book: transaxle fluid change isn't in there.

    I'm in the camp that periodic change are necessary, but put yourself in there shoes.
     
  6. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    That is true, but the same dealers have no problem suggesting all manner of other services not listed in the maintenance manual. For example, fuel injector cleaning, induction system cleaning, rear drum brake cleaning, 12V battery terminal cleaning, who knows what; but most services priced at high two-digit to three-digit amounts.

    Also, the published maintenance schedule only goes to 120K miles. If you are happy with vehicle service life ending at 150K miles then there is no need to replace the transaxle ATF. If you strive for a longer service life from your car then it would be good to periodically change the transaxle ATF.

    Further, note that the published maintenance schedule is silent regarding replacement of the serpentine drive belt and the PCV valve. I hope that our members do not infer from this lack of mention that both parts are therefore "lifetime" parts - unless your idea of lifetime does not exceed 150K miles as previously discussed.
     
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  7. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    But know that this is "minimum required" maintenance set by Toyota Corporate. The biggest problem I see at most Toyota Dealership Service Departments is that they only have a small number of Certified and Trained Prius Mechanics familiar and comfortable with the Prius relative to the rest that work on the older and current ICE vehicles...and less that are Service Advisers. I think the problem then is more ignorance (not stupid) and/or fear. For example; While at a Toyota Dealership back home where my folks live, the service adviser argued AFT service was not needed per the bulletin he had to "read and sign", then wanted to charge over $300 to do a flush because that's what they charged for the other cars. I informed him of the drain and fill and he had to look it up because he sincerely did not believe me. After that I passed on their service and waited to get back to my Dealer.
     
  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    ^ I'm in total agreement with the above two posts. I know there's a wack of extra services offered. But just saying: if a maintenance item is completely absent from the schedule, that's got to put a crimp in the dealership's "acceptance" of requests for the service. Funny thing: the fluid change is clearly outlined in the Repair Manual.

    I've done a couple of changes myself, at the 1 and 3 year mark, and plan to continue bi or tri yearly. The second change looked pretty clean, and we're low mileage. Had no problem getting ATF-WS and the bolt washers through the dealership parts department.
     
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  9. ETP

    ETP 2021 Prime(Limit),Highlander HYB Plat,B52-D,G,F,H

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    They tried to charge me for a flush so I walked away. Even in the old days I drained and refilled the gear box and rear end fluid as it was full of metal shavings. You think all that crap is good for your moving parts/bearings?

    BTW while we are on the topic how often should you flush the brakes and radiator and what does that cost.
     
  10. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    :eek: What...brake fluid and coolant are not lifetime? Myself...2 years max...but I am going to get called anal for that too. :cool: Last brake flush was $89.99 and Toyota SLLA flush $99.00 before tax, disposal, ect...I think $230 something out the door if memory still serves me..
     
  11. ETP

    ETP 2021 Prime(Limit),Highlander HYB Plat,B52-D,G,F,H

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    Actually that is not a bad price for a Prius if they do it and do it right. I will ask at my next oil change.
     
  12. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    It is cheaper to monitor fluid with test strips than to pay $100+/- every so often for a brake fluid flush. It would always make me wonder, anyway, if the fluid was really flushed, or if they just turkey-basted the reservoir.
     
  13. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Post #49 Q: "how often should you flush the brakes and radiator and what does that cost"
    I would say that the radiator does not need to be "flushed" if you observe the Toyota maintenance schedule change intervals: 100K miles for the factory fill and 50K miles subsequently. Drain and fill is sufficient, based upon my observation that the drained coolant looks nice and clear, something you might drink if in a punchbowl. (Obviously, antifreeze is highly toxic so do not think of consuming it.) I've posted on how to do this, DIY requires you to purchase two gallons of Toyota SLLC at around $50 total. If you pay the dealer for this, the cost is probably around $150 or $200.

    Prius brake fluid: perhaps at 10 years or 150K miles unless you have reason to believe the brake fluid was contaminated or tampered with. The brake fluid is very lightly used since regen braking bears most of the load. This is why the fluid remains a light amber color instead of discoloring and turning dark like you will see in regular vehicles. The dealer cost is around $75. Hard to DIY since you need access to Techstream to control the solenoids in the brake actuator.
     
  14. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    Every time the brake reservoir is opened it is exposed to air and moisture which accelerates the inevitable contamination and degradation. When the fluid level is below minimum it is due to out of limit wear or a leak. Never add brake fluid between service work without seeking to resolve for the issue post haste. If you suspect your service provider does not or will not do the job correctly, have them show you during the process...and they will if your are professional with them. Otherwise go somewhere else you have more confidence in, or do it yourself. We all like to play the alpha, but you have to have faith the qualified professionals you contract to do work, either because you can not or will not, perform the tasks correctly. I would trust a Toyota Dealership before some random shop pick or based on an unqualified referral. In the end what you do is your business...and no one can tell you otherwise. :)
     
  15. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    If you are a do it your selfer.
     
  16. ETP

    ETP 2021 Prime(Limit),Highlander HYB Plat,B52-D,G,F,H

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    Got links?

    I forgot that I gave my 2009 to my daughter so I just have the 11 & 12 in my garage.
     
  17. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    See my posts 22 and 42 here, as well as the surrounding discussion: Changing engine coolant | Page 2 | PriusChat

    Regarding the eBay coolant sale, the price of the coolant itself is wonderful but the shipping charge is $21 from Virginia to southern AZ so that is a no-starter. That is one reason that there is some value in having a parts department at your local Toyota dealer.
     
  18. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    Sorry this was just a random search. Like stated earlier, the last coolant change was $99.99 before TTL at my Dealership. They know me, what I do and who I work for.
     
  19. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    FWIW, Honda has brake fluid replacement in their maintenance schedule. At least it was with our previous '06 Civic Hybrid. The interval was every 3 years, regardless of mileage.
     
  20. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    My signature below is my practice. Manufacture recommended maintenance is the "minimum". DOT 3 brake fluid does not care what vehicle it resides in. ;)
     
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