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Old 11-18-2018, 09:45 PM   #37
Hamster
 
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Thanks for your all your help, 06YarisRS! Yes, I will definitely update this thread with the total cost, how things went, the situation with the bolts, and maybe even a scan of the bill (with my name redacted, of course). That should give others an idea of how much this kind of work costs in the Midwest. However, everyone's going to have to be patient! I'm going to get the CVT fluid changed in my sister's car first. I'll get that done in the first half of December, when I'm off of work because I have to burn up a lot of annual leave by year's end. If all goes well at this transmission shop (my parents used this shop in the past for their Chryslers, with great experiences), I'll schedule an appointment for my car. That probably won't be until January. So, if all goes well, I'll update this thread in a couple months with all the details. Stay tuned!
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:49 PM   #38
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Okay, as promised, I will update this thread. After all this, I've decided that the best thing to do is....nothing. Yes, nothing. I don't mean to start a war on this forum, but here's what I learned over the past month.

First, I went to Toyota's website and filled out the contact form, asking if there is any recommended service interval for the ATF. Here was the response:

Dear Ms. Hamster,

Thank you for contacting Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

We appreciate your interest in properly maintaining your 2009 Toyota Yaris.

Toyota does not specify a specific mileage or timeframe for the draining and refilling of the transmission fluid. Toyota does recommend that the transmission fluid be inspected every 30,000 miles or 36 months, whichever comes first. When a certified technician performs an inspection, the technician will determine if replacement transmission fluid is necessary.

Please visit here to view the entire Scheduled Maintenance Guide. (NOTE: It didn't copy over, but the word "here" linked to the warranty and maintenance schedule in .pdf form for a 2009 Yaris, available on Toyota's website.)

Thank you for taking the time to email us, and giving us the opportunity to assist you.

If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us .

Sincerely,

Roy G.
Toyota Customer Experience Center

Okay, so the message above wasn't particularly helpful. So, on to the next thing. I get my car detailed twice a year at an independent body shop that specializes in BMW and other German cars (because I'm a snob LOL). This shop does a lot of work for dealerships, and the owner knows everything about cars. And I mean everything. He will not do any mechanical repairs that are not related to an accident. So, I like bugging him with car questions, because he's got nothing to sell me. Anyway, after a recent detail to get the Yaris ready for winter, I asked him about the 30,000 miles ATF fluid inspection thing, told him about Toyota's e-mail message I posted above, and asked, once and for all, if ATF fluid degrades with time. I also told him that I pulled the dipstick out and the fluid still looked like new. He told me that no, ATF does not degrade with time. Then he got really, really technical, and what he said went over my head. Something involving the word "hydraulics." Anyway, he said that while engine oil degrades over time due to the extreme temperatures in the engine, ATF is not subject to the same extreme environment. And if there are any problems, it's usually because the fluid is low. His message to me was, the fluid is fine, I should not service the transmission, and I should not change or mess with the ATF unless absolutely necessary.

My thoughts about all this: My guess is that when Toyota says to inspect the fluid every 30,000 miles, what they mean is add fluid if it appears low, or change if it appears discolored or dirty. Otherwise, don't worry about it. I know there are probably a few people here who are going to disagree with me. But, I see plenty of older, 90's-era Toyotas on the road, and I'm sure the owners don't obsess over the ATF. Also, my parents have owned a 1997 Chrysler minivan since new, never thought about the transmission, and the thing has always shifted just fine. If some people here want to change the fluid, well, then there's no harm. But I don't see proof that it will extend the life of the car.

Before I talked to my auto body guy, I did call a transmission shop. I was quoted $150 for a transmission flush. That's quite a bit of money for a service that is not necessary. I'll use my $150 instead to make an extra principal payment on my mortgage. Anyway, I hope the info above was useful.
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Old 12-15-2018, 05:45 PM   #39
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Whatever makes you happy! I know people that have high mileage cars and have never had any transmission related issues. You probably won't either. Case in point - when my wife and I first met, she had a 2000 Echo with over 250000 km on it. It shifted beautifully and operated smoothly through the gears and it never had any kind of transmission service. I still don't believe in a lifetime fluid. Your mechanic is correct in that ATF is not subject to the same conditions as motor oil such as products of combustion, extreme heat etc. However, I dont agree with his contention that ATF does not degrade over time/use. Your fluid is probably fine due to your crazy low mileage.
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Old 12-15-2018, 05:57 PM   #40
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Just watch this.

https://youtu.be/o690DovjDAc

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Old 12-15-2018, 09:07 PM   #41
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06YarisRS - I agree, it's unlikely I'll ever experience any transmission issues. I'll just follow Toyota's maintenance schedule. In another 3 years, I'll check the color again. If it changes color, I'll get the ATF and filter changed. But I'm not going to mess with something that ain't broke. I presume that if the ATF really degraded because of time alone, Toyota would say to change it in their maintenance schedule. Based on their maintenance schedule, it appears that the fluid is to be changed on an as-needed basis. Thus, they're not implying it's lifetime fluid, it just needs to be monitored.

IllusionX - I waste a lot of time watching car videos in YouTube. LOL! I am familiar with ChrisFix's channel. However, I would not consider him a reliable source. He's a backyard mechanic, not a professional. One of his videos made me cringe - He did a chemical flush of a BMW's cooling system, and filled the radiator with cheap, off-the-shelf coolant. A really big no-no on both counts. There's a lot a bad advice on the internet, so just be careful.
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