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Old 02-19-2017, 11:06 PM   #1
Chip Whitley
Drives: 2007 Auto Hatchback
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Locust Grove, VA
Posts: 6
Should I service my transmission on my '07 Yaris?

My Yaris is a 2007 Hatchback model with auto trans and 166,000 miles. I recently took it to a local quick service shop called Grease Monkey for an oil change. Unlike Jiffy Lube they always have a mechanic on site so I asked him if he could go over the car and tell me if it needs anything else. He came back and told me it needs a new drive (serpentine) belt, a tune up and a "transmission service". He then walked me out to my car and showed me that the transmission fluid was brown and had a slight burnt smell to it.

I opted to only have the oil change done that day as I'll take care of the tune up and drive belt here shortly, but what should I do about the transmission fluid? I know you have to use a special Toyota only trans fluid so how can they offer this service and not use the specific fluid? Also, I was always raised to never touch or service a transmission with high mileage as long as it's shifting fine, but this is the nicest car I've had in a while and I really want to take care of it. I just got the car last month and have no idea if the trans fluid has ever been touched. What should I do? They want $200 for the "transmission service" btw.
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Old 02-19-2017, 11:57 PM   #2
Drives: 2007 yaris 3 door
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 964
anyone can purchase the fluid. it's not ONLY installed from Toyota dealership. you're kinda in a pickle not knowing the history at such high millage. if it was me, I would change it and hope I don't have to buy a transaxle in a month or two. I had an Oldsmobile delta 88 that I made that fatal mistake with and removed all the friction material with a flush. it was the only automatic I've ever had. I will never drive an auto as long as I can. yuck!
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Old 02-20-2017, 06:28 AM   #3
Drives: 2008 Yaris 2-Door (White)
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 8
This is a dilemma; either do or don't could be right or wrong.
If it were me, I would do 1 drain/fill (nearly 3 quarts of Toyota WS) and see if anything bad shows up (hopefully not). If that goes well, do it again after some driving. Again, if nothing bad shows, do it one more time by dropping the pan and changing the filter (Advance Auto has a nice rubber gasket kit for ~$20). With the pan off you can inspect for metal collected on the 2 magnets attached to the pan. If, however, after that first drain/fill the trans exhibits any "slip", leave it alone and start saving for a new tranny.
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Old 02-20-2017, 09:50 AM   #4
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Drives: 2007 Jade Yaris Sedan
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 52
Quick lube places are in the business of upsells. I have to laugh at some of the upsell gimmicks they have told me over the years. I wouldn't trust them to do anything other than change engine oil, accessory belts or light bulbs. If you decide to change the transmission fluid (or coolant), do it as the Toyota Dealership or do it yourself. There is no guarantee that a quick lube place will use the right fluid or do the procedure correctly.
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Old 02-20-2017, 10:47 AM   #5
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Drives: 06 Polar White 5dr, 13 Soul 4u
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Georgetown, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,221
Originally Posted by Chip Whitley View Post
Also, I was always raised to never touch or service a transmission with high mileage as long as it's shifting fine
My Toyota maintenance schedule has A/T fluid changes shown at 96,000km and 192,000km so,

I had it done at 94,000 and 286,000
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Old 02-20-2017, 04:23 PM   #6
Drives: 07 5dr
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: YYC
Posts: 174
I would say go ahead and change it yourself. The old adage of not changing well worn ATF more applies to old school 70's and 80's automatics where the ATF has broken down to the point where all the sludge and varnish is actually keeping the transmission working rather than harming it. 166k original miles and brown ATF with a burnt smell isn't great but it's better to do it now rather than at 200k. In the US Toyota only recommends inspecting the ATF at certain intervals (every 30K) and since there is no official change interval many of these 4 speed auto's see high mileage with no changes and no issues.

You can do the drain and fill method 3 times or drop the pan and change it once along with the filter. As for ATF I'd recommend Valvoline Maxlife ATF if you want to save some money as it's fully compatible with Toyota WS and IV and has a good reputation with many Japanese automatics. I've used into myself in a Toyota 4 speed (A246E) and and a Mazda 5 speed (FS5A-EL) with no issues.
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Old 03-04-2017, 08:42 PM   #7
Drives: 2007 Toyota Yaris 3 door hatch
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Surrey BC
Posts: 6
I know a guy who used to be a Toyota dealership warranty clerk, and he has seen a lot of transmission nightmares over the years due to wrong fluid usage. Use only WS fluid. It is available from different suppliers and manufacturers.
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Old 03-06-2017, 10:25 AM   #8
Drives: 2007 Yaris 5 door RS
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Kitchener, ON
Posts: 178
Drop the pan and change the filter. You don't want to use a worn out filter. And then drain and fill it another one or two times for good measure since the old fluid is burnt up.

You may find the transmission dies sooner instead of later if it's been abused. That's due to not changing the fluid for so long, not because you decided to do it now. You can use some of the additives to make it thicker to limp it along the same way your current fluid (may) be doing now.

As for dealership only fluids, they don't exist on American cars due to the Magnusson-Moss warranty act. Any dealership only fluids are lifetime free changes. Unsurprisingly, when a car company that sells in the US decides to use a special fluid, they sell the rights to use it to anyone willing to pay. Just look for the fluid that matches your car, the brand is not important.
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