mattl369

Auto Transmission Fluid Change - Anyone Done It?

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I know this topic has been done before, but has anyone actually managed to change their Auto Transmission Fluid? This is my experience of trying to change my IS250's fluid.

This is something that's been going round my head for the last couple of months. My car is on about 72k miles and, although I know it's supposed to be sealed for life, I'm a bit skeptical and thought I'd do some preventative maintenance. On the whole, my gearbox is fine, but there are some occasions, though very occasionally, where I feel the changes are a bit 'un-lexus', but maybe it's just me.

I decided to go ahead with a flush - mainly because I don't think my car is at the point where changing the oil at once would cause a problem and the amount of drain & fills it would take to change the oil would be 5 or 6. Also, there are loads of threads from the UK and US that say don't flush, but I couldn't find one where someone had said 'I've flushed my transmission with the correct fluid and it's broken'.

I booked it into a transmission specialist. I ended up speaking to a person, who was the senior technician, 3 times to alleviate my paranoia. Essentially we agreed I would supply my own fluid (they use a generic one) and they wouldn't use the cleaner & conditioner (just do a straight swap of the fluid using their machine). I also felt stupid about asking them how they would check the oil level (knowing what a faff it is) and they knew how it needed to be done. 

Has anyone actually managed to get hold of the Toyota WS fluid? It seems to be available like running water in the US, but after trawling the internet there's nowhere online that sells it here.  Lexus dealer wanted £15 a litre and seemed extremely reluctant to sell it to me so I gave up there. I tried the local Toyota dealership and asked for World Standard fluid, but when it came it was Dextron 3. They seemed to think WS fluid had been superseded/bettered by Dextron 3. At least that's what they said they would put in their cars if they need it (I was under the assumption that the Hybrids and latest Toyota autos ran on WS fluid). I felt a bit stupid questioning the guy (I'm sure he gets fed up of dealing with idiots like me who claim to know better after half an hour's internet research) but I'm pretty sure D3 and WS are not compatible. Isn't WS much thinner?

Anyway, I didn't take the D3. I'm not superstitious, but having spent the last 3 weeks worrying about the situation, I took this as a sign it is not meant to be and gave up. I'll leave my transmission as it is! With my current mileage, it'll be at least 4 years before I hit 100k miles so hopefully there won't be any problems. 

 

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1 hour ago, mattl369 said:

I know this topic has been done before, but has anyone actually managed to change their Auto Transmission Fluid? This is my experience of trying to change my IS250's fluid.

This is something that's been going round my head for the last couple of months. My car is on about 72k miles and, although I know it's supposed to be sealed for life, I'm a bit skeptical and thought I'd do some preventative maintenance. On the whole, my gearbox is fine, but there are some occasions, though very occasionally, where I feel the changes are a bit 'un-lexus', but maybe it's just me.

I decided to go ahead with a flush - mainly because I don't think my car is at the point where changing the oil at once would cause a problem and the amount of drain & fills it would take to change the oil would be 5 or 6. Also, there are loads of threads from the UK and US that say don't flush, but I couldn't find one where someone had said 'I've flushed my transmission with the correct fluid and it's broken'.

I booked it into a transmission specialist. I ended up speaking to a person, who was the senior technician, 3 times to alleviate my paranoia. Essentially we agreed I would supply my own fluid (they use a generic one) and they wouldn't use the cleaner & conditioner (just do a straight swap of the fluid using their machine). I also felt stupid about asking them how they would check the oil level (knowing what a faff it is) and they knew how it needed to be done. 

Has anyone actually managed to get hold of the Toyota WS fluid? It seems to be available like running water in the US, but after trawling the internet there's nowhere online that sells it here.  Lexus dealer wanted £15 a litre and seemed extremely reluctant to sell it to me so I gave up there. I tried the local Toyota dealership and asked for World Standard fluid, but when it came it was Dextron 3. They seemed to think WS fluid had been superseded/bettered by Dextron 3. At least that's what they said they would put in their cars if they need it (I was under the assumption that the Hybrids and latest Toyota autos ran on WS fluid). I felt a bit stupid questioning the guy (I'm sure he gets fed up of dealing with idiots like me who claim to know better after half an hour's internet research) but I'm pretty sure D3 and WS are not compatible. Isn't WS much thinner?

Anyway, I didn't take the D3. I'm not superstitious, but having spent the last 3 weeks worrying about the situation, I took this as a sign it is not meant to be and gave up. I'll leave my transmission as it is! With my current mileage, it'll be at least 4 years before I hit 100k miles so hopefully there won't be any problems. 

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ATF-Toyota-WS-fluid-gearbox-quality-analog-ZF-Lifetime-oil-10-Litres/172956327727?hash=item2845001f2f:g:CSgAAOSwg0FZgF78

Does that not tell you something, if the dealer will not sell you the oil.

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on the Ls forum the gearbox oil can be changed in dribs and drabs, say 2/3 ltrs every 36k miles or so .......  rarely to change the whole of the contents in one go ..... however, these aren't sealed for life ......  where life could well be at least 30 years, the age of the oldest Ls400s coming through next year or so.

Sealed for life I suppose depends on the life expectancy Lexus have for your car I guess :zorro:

What do you guys think I wonder ?

Malc

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I suggest to leave it as it is, I would not recommend full flush, just top-ups instead. These were done on my car for no good reason (Lexus Hedge-End fooling previous owner) from 40k miles onward. Now nothing was done in terms of oil since ~112k miles and car is now ~172k.

In terms of sealed for life, I consider that to be 100k miles or 10 years, whichever is later (not first like normal), but as @Malc mentioned event then it is changed liter by liter, rather than all oil at one go. I would not even consider changing before 100k.

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On ‎19‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 9:02 PM, is200 Newbie said:

Had a partial gearbox oil change today.

Cant be done in a one step process so its being done over 3 months or when I can fit the time in to get it done.

Asked for a sample of oil from the box to compare to the new oil.

Car is almost on 101,000 miles and I have no idea if this change has been made at any point in the past (no history either). Sample used oil was in a small jar initially but I put them both into plastic bags to compare better and to see if I could feel any contamination which I couldn't.

The smell on the old oil was bad - smelt like old engine oil (a bit burnt). The oil in the picture (coloured red) is the new - the black oil is out of the box. This may very well be a lifetime oil in the box but I would really like to question what the expected lifetime of the car is from the manufacturer as this used oil is very bad and needs changing and at a sooner interval than 100k although this must depend on use

The gearbox operation has noticeably changed - smoother gear changes in auto mode but stll a bit noticeable between changes but I expect that to get better over time when the further oil changes have been completed. Will update when the 3rd change has been done. Picture below

IMAG0348.thumb.jpg.33453e368081992b9bb60215a3f78fd8.jpg

From a post I made in May - I had what I thought were issues with the torque convertor (turns out it was alloy wheel issues - inner corrosion, figure that one out !!) The issue presented was the exact description of a failing convertor and after a lot of digging on the web there was a good chance as the fault was not too severe (vibration) would be cured by an oil change.

Bit the bullet and had it done by a local garage who I trusted and he said it was a relative easy job - I asked him to keep some oil back for comparison - he did not change it but he said  he topped it up - drained a bottles worth of old (I think a litre) and filled back up with a litre of new. I had it done again a few months back and was planning to get it done again but the garage is closed down now. He drained through the box and filled through the cooling pipes I think?

But to your answer - Yes it can be done but I would not attempt it myself but looking at the comparison, it needed it - car was on 101k and now on 105k

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Interesting, shame this isn't part of the Lexus service regime. My Gen 3 IS250 has only covered 28k, I'm tempted to get this drained and replaced every 50k miles - any thoughts?

is an Indie ok to do this or is it highly specialised?

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55 minutes ago, Ben1001 said:

Interesting, shame this isn't part of the Lexus service regime. My Gen 3 IS250 has only covered 28k, I'm tempted to get this drained and replaced every 50k miles - any thoughts?

is an Indie ok to do this or is it highly specialised?

As I mentioned it was done on my car from 40k miles-up.. .and that is total rip-off and unnecessary thing.

You definitely don't need to do it before 100k miles and I would say it would be good practice to do it every 50-60k miles after that. So say 100k, then 160k and then 200k (I doubt car would be worth anything after 200k to bother anyway). That is not manual gearbox where you need to change oil frequently. I disagree with Lexus that it is "life-time" fill never to be replaced (though it depends what they mean by "life-time"), but equally it is completely unnecessary and could do more bad than good for 28k miles vehicle.

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56 minutes ago, Linas.P said:

As I mentioned it was done on my car from 40k miles-up.. .and that is total rip-off and unnecessary thing.

You definitely don't need to do it before 100k miles and I would say it would be good practice to do it every 50-60k miles after that. So say 100k, then 160k and then 200k (I doubt car would be worth anything after 200k to bother anyway). That is not manual gearbox where you need to change oil frequently. I disagree with Lexus that it is "life-time" fill never to be replaced (though it depends what they mean by "life-time"), but equally it is completely unnecessary and could do more bad than good for 28k miles vehicle.

Appreciate your comments but look at the state of that oil at 102k above - it needs changing before 100k. Also I recommended waiting until 50k not doing it at the current 28k miles.

A complete replacement every 50k still sounds like the best way forward to me.

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I have not seen a single service manual to suggest that, nor a single person to do it. As mentioned Lexus Hedge End robbed previous owner and did top, ups between 40k and 102k. Various, top-ups from 0.3L all the way to 1.6 or 1.8L around 80k miles. There is not even a service manual for complete replacement, only for top-ups e.g. they pump 0.5L out and pump in 0.5L of fresh oil in, to make sure same amount is in gearbox and that is 100k+ miles routine.

I guess it can be done before that if you have some specific issue, but if you don't then I can compare it with paranoia. For example, you have same gearbox as I have in my mk2, regardless of that previous owner had gearbox oil refreshed the last time it was done is 2013/10 at 102k, since then car done 70k more miles and I have not touched the oil and it still runs silky smooth. As well I know how new gearbox runs because I had 2012 IS250 F-sport from new and there is no noticeable difference. Not only that I do "labour" my gearbox e.g. I often brake with gears, I do you specific gears on certain corners for acceleration and I generally drive harsh.

That said I am 100% sure that my gearbox oil would be black as in picture above, but this oil is designed for this specific purpose and colour doesn't mean everything. Finally, nobody stops you taking care of your car and indeed it is great that you trying to take best care, but certain things are waste of money.

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Just because the oil in the photo looks dark it doesn’t mean it’s not doing it’s job.

I wouldn’t imagine your pristine new oil would stay that nice cherry red for more than a minute inside the box, even with a full flush.

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Even if I live to be a hundred years old I'll never be able to afford a brand-new car, but then again, I'm not sure I'd want to anyway even if I could afford it, given the huge depreciation hit they suffer in the early years.

Buying a secondhand car and never really knowing how the previous owner has looked after it, one of the first things I do is to have all fluids changed and that, of course, includes transmission fluid. It may only be of psychological value but I like to know that everything is starting fresh under my ownership.

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Sorry, but that is kind of outdated view. I know all of us wants the best to their car, but things has changed over time - auto transmission fluid should not be confused with manual transmission oil and old practices does not apply here. Back in old days I guess all fresh fluids would have included power steering fluid as well... so what would you do with electronic Lexus power steering? Same for gearbox, if you getting manual one which requires oil change... then yes. But if the car you buying has fill which is good for 100k, then why change it prematurely? To waste money an pollute the planet? 

I completely understand this sentiment when the thing "suppose" to be changed, but you will never know on second hand car. I will did the same e.g. when I bought my car the history stated that minor service was done 3000 miles ago, that means I had like 7000miles left in oil, but I changed it because "you never know"... and indeed it was pretty much clean oil coming out. But I would not go and change things which not even due. Second thing I was really paranoid about was coolant... even though it was changed with water pump... at some point I forgotten that sentiment and did another 60k miles on it.. recently checked and it is still nice bright colour...  

Re: used versus new car I completely agree - I do have money to buy brand new car, but I cannot see myself doing it... unless some day I would be come filthy rich and I would be adding 10th super car into collection.... but I guess even then I would check nearly new cars. As well there is no need to buy "old car", but it is possible to get car with "extended delivery mile" aka under 10000... for half of price in sometimes less than 2 years after first reg. For example there was one RC-F for 32k and it has done 9000 miles... that is quite a bit of for 2 years car which was £61000+extras. There are plenty RC300h's with absurd mileage like 1500 or 3000 miles with registration of March 2017... with good £10k of .. and that is 25% in just 6 month on virtually new car.

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13 hours ago, Verbout said:

Just because the oil in the photo looks dark it doesn’t mean it’s not doing it’s job.

I wouldn’t imagine your pristine new oil would stay that nice cherry red for more than a minute inside the box, even with a full flush.

It will stay red for quite some time, it isn't like engine oil which turns black because of the combustion process. But darker fluid isn't really a problem unless it is burnt or bordering on black.

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If it ain't broke don't fix it!!     According to Toyota / Lexus,  The fluid in ur expensive car is the best of the best and is good for the life of your car! These days engine's and transmissions have parts that are pressure sensitive and fluid levels that are crucial to the millimeter! Lexus will only change fluid if it's essential may be a problem with the transmission! 

 

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2 hours ago, Brian Harper said:

If it ain't broke don't fix it!!     According to Toyota / Lexus,  The fluid in ur expensive car is the best of the best and is good for the life of your car! These days engine's and transmissions have parts that are pressure sensitive and fluid levels that are crucial to the millimeter! Lexus will only change fluid if it's essential may be a problem with the transmission! 

 

Its an old post - had mine done but only partial as per the previous post from 2017. I didn't get the benefit from it really as 3 months later the car was written off. I can remember noticing a difference in the gearbox, the changes were smoother especially when cold.

Oil will break down - the oil taken out of mine was black, certainly saturated with broken down oil - the question over the claims from Lexus is how long do they determine your car to last - look after it and if can be a lifetime- dont and it wont be long before it needs attention. Can be proved by ownership problems from these where the calipers are not looked after and sieze.

The gearboxes in these get hot, they are cooled by the engine coolant system so it is important to look after them else the oil is going to start to breakdown. There were a few issues reported (not seen any lately) and i had it myself with the box solenoid throwing out a sporadic fault code which interpreted to a condensation issue. That and oil dont mix .... Mine had been looked after but i have no idea how it was cared for for the first 60k miles before i bought it - got to agree with sourcerer (John) above, if you want peace of mind and continued reliability then it is a good idea to get the fluids etc done when you buy a car, only to know they have been done.

 

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Acording Lexus Norway they have never changed oil on a Lexus Is 250 unless there was a problem with the gearbox.

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if it is so difficult to top up after draining how do they fill a brand new transmission after fitting a new autobox assuming it would come from the factory empty of oil / 

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My auto transmission fluid was accidentally changed (well, some of it was) at the last service by an over eager technician. I wasn't charged as it wasn't requested, but I suppose it qualifies me to throw in my two cents.

My car is a MY2012 and has now covered over £140K miles without any problems. The gear shift was perfectly smooth before the service and to be honest is still just as smooth after the service. The garage owner said the old fluid was black (not surprising) and after apologising said I might notice smoother shifts - but I don't think he necessarily expected it.

If I try really hard to spot/imagine a difference I might be inclined to say that the shifts are a little smoother when the engine is cold, but that might just be the placebo effect.

To summarise, I wouldn't bother spending money on this sort of work unless I suspected a problem.

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Today i ordered time for flushing of my 2006 Is250. 250000km on the counter. why?  From first contact with Lexus in Norway i was told to not do anything with  it , so i talked to a former owner of my car that also is a mechanic for a Toyota store, he advised me to flush and told me that Toyota Landcruiser also had lifetime limit on gearbox oil, that have been changed to flush at some km, so i did call another Lexus store in Norway about this issue, he advised me to flush the gearbox because of the high miliage on the car, so i searched the net about Aisin that manufacture the gearbox, their advice was to flush or refill( not sure ) every 40000km.

After this info i decided to do a flush on my gearbox on November 8.  After that i will let you all know about the user benefit from this, if any. After mu finding i realy dont understand the do nothing vith it from Lexus.

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I’ve never really understood these “sealed for life transmissions” but assume it is based on the expected life of the car not mileage. The transmission fluid must deteriorate constantly heating up and cooling down plus what about all the debris collected in the fluid. Ok there are magnets in the sump for magnetic particles and a filter but there are the same on the engine but these are not sealed for life.

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It's worthwhile replacing the fluid in the gearbox. Lexus advise every 60k for heavy use applications. If you remove the sump pan and strainer it will drain most of the oil.

 

 

 

 

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27 minutes ago, iwonder said:

It's worthwhile replacing the fluid in the gearbox. Lexus advice every 60k for heavy use applications. If you remove the sump pan and strainer it will drain most of the oil.

 

According youtube and comments only a small part will be changed by that procedure. But i dont know how much oil it is in the gearbox. You have to drain the gearbox 5-6 times and still you have not completely removed everything of the old oil, If you can do this yourself its possible a cheaper way to do this, but going to a garage and pay for the job 5-6 times is probably  more expensive than thake a flush on the gearbox.

 

 

 

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Took the car to the Lexus garage today for Flushing, but they could'nt do it because of a missing fitting for the flushtube to the gearbox, but before they noticed the missing fitting they already had drained the pan, so they had to refill the drained quantity oil, maybe its placebo but i believe the gearbox is reacting faster on throttle movement  (gear down) but because of the first snow this winter i had to be a little gentle, but I am 99% sure that something is changed for the better, going to take a full flush in about 14 days so maybe its getting even better, my only little criticism on the car have been that with a kickdown the car used to much time to react compared to an earlier owned car(Volvo) but I believe this issue is changed for the better.

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