Don't change tranny fliud if >100K miles???

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  #1  
Old 02-12-11, 05:06 PM
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Don't change tranny fliud if >100K miles???

2005 Scion xB with 110,000 mi., getting quotes to do some major maintainance, ie.,
auto trans fluid flush/change, radiator flush/change brake fluid flush/change, & a few other things. Owners manual says don't change these things unless driven under "servere" conditions, etc, but from all I can gather, if I want my car to last beyond 300K mi, one should do these things, even if only driven "normally".

Local mechanic says do not change tranny fluid if car has more than 100K mi,
or one may have "problems" ...He says change tranny fluid every 30K only if one does this from beginning new car...something about metal particles being disturbed.

Re: brake fluid, some say it's a sealed system, should last the life of the car, that to service it risks getting dirt inside, etc.

Opinions?
 
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  #2  
Old 02-13-11, 03:49 AM
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Brake system is not a sealed system. As your pads wear, the level in your reservoir drops accordingly. That draws in air and moisture, the enemy of brake fluid/components. Brake fluid ought to be changed periodically. I do mine every other year.

What "some" say about brake fluid is totally wrong.
 
  #3  
Old 02-13-11, 05:23 AM
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I second Lawrence's brake fluid comment. Try this; carefully dip a little of existing fluid out to examine (a soda straw works good; put one end in and hold thumb over other end to retain) put on a clean surface or a small container. Compare to fresh fluid. Anyone who says to leave it alone for life of vehicle, I would avoid their advice (and work if they are mechanics).

As for coolant, an annual drain (properly disposing of the old) and refill works just fine; there's no need to pay for an expensive "flush". Couple of gallons of coolant = about $20-25.

As to the tranny fluid question, this has been a hotly debated topic for quite a few years. On the one hand are those who advise as you were told, that if you haven't done it already, leave it alone. This pre-supposes basically that the tranny is being held together by "crud" and once you change the fluid, the fresh fluid (because tranny fluid is a very good solvent) will loosen up the crud and cause probems. On the other hand is the point of view that if the crud and/or "undisturbed metal particles" are what's holding it together, it's probably not long for this world anyway. Also, the filter is likely to eventually give you problems, since it can't be changed without draining the fluid. Me? I would change it, but I'm not a professional mechanic.

Stand by because there will probably be others ringing in with opinions.
 
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Old 02-13-11, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by LawrenceC View Post
Brake system is not a sealed system. As your pads wear, the level in your reservoir drops accordingly. That draws in air and moisture, the enemy of brake fluid/components. Brake fluid ought to be changed periodically. I do mine every other year.

What "some" say about brake fluid is totally wrong.
A brake system is a sealed system. The lid of the reservoir has a sealed diaphragm in it to compensate for the drop in fluid from pad/shoe wear without drawing in air or moisture. The fluid level should be checked with the sight gauge on the side of the reservoir, not by removing the lid which will introduce moisture into the system. If the level is low, you have a leak somewhere.
 
  #5  
Old 02-13-11, 09:16 AM
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Well, the radiator is easy, I'll do that myself.
The "never change brake fluid" advice comes from my 70 year old neighbor who never keeps a car past 100K, (and still insists that a car battery stored on concrete will harm it.) And since I've never done a thing to the brakes since new, the pads & shoes are bound to be ready for replacement, so the fluid change would seem to be the logical thing to do at that time.

On the tranny fluid, I wonder to what extent the dealer service techs actually "flush" the fluid or do they simply drain it, install new filter then fill it? I'm thinking that the worry of recurrent problems with a simple drain might be eliminated if the tranny were actually flushed first, however they do it.

And while I'm sure a Toyota dealer will charge more than other shops, I assume that the brake & tranny work will be more thourough if I have them do it.
 
  #6  
Old 02-13-11, 09:20 AM
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looking at this, and yours is prolly exactly same:
http://www.scion.com/assets/pdf/tC_m...ceguide_05.pdf

they do say that. or, they do not tell you to do much to ATF, BF, and coolant.

towguy is right. if you are looking for opinions, you'll have plenty of that and none in favor of "do nothing", i guarantee that.

do you have CVT? those are lubricated and serviced differently from regular AT-s. VW was the 1st one to do this "never touch" approach, but internet is flooded with end users either having issues or draining junk instead of lubricant in less than 100K miles. I have TCH with allegedly never to be changed lubricant, and owners routinely do this after 50K miles, and quality of what comes out is no good.

you have to keep in mind that at some point in time Toyota got its head up its own ars, resulting in serious quality drop and over-marketing of their product. personally, i am done with buying Toyotas.

but this is not the point of discussion.

so, to stay away from opinions, i can share my personal experience of a die-hard DIY tree shade mechanic that spent years (1990) fixing and working on his cars, friends cars, relatives cars, and just cars.

there is no such thing as a hydraulic fluid that will last for 100 000 miles without changing its properties. it is physically impossible. i have never seen one or ever heard of one, realistically speaking.

i do not recommend any power flushes. really, transmission is not "held together" by particles. merit to this is of this nature: tiny cracks in seals and gaskets are plugged with particulates and crud. that is true. you power flush it - you taking chances on consecutive leaks. there is a way to flush trannie, IF IT'S A CONVENTIONAL AUTOMATIC, without power flush. for CVT, it's simple drain and refill, i think, it's what they call "splash lubrication", sort of like rear differential.

do as towguy advised on BF. most likely, just get a buddy and bleed the brakes, 20 minutes of social fun.

do simple drain and refill for coolant. don't complicate all this. keep in mind, shops will always advise the most profitable route. that's why DIY is the way of a frugal knight.

if it's conventional AT, what you should have done was to have REGULAR ATF changes. now, you are sort of stuck with all kinds of stuff plugging all kinds of cracks and micro holes. but if you do not change your ATF, you will fry your trannie eventually, as ATF also lubricates it and cools it down. once again, LIFETIME ATF DOES NOT EXIST. esp for one who wants to drive that car into 300 000 miles realm.
 
  #7  
Old 02-13-11, 05:53 PM
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Yeah, that's my owners manual alright...I guess they figure you'll only keep your car to 120,000 mi., then buy a new one. (I don't know what a CVT is, but the car is front wheel drive, if that makes a difference.) Kind of discouraging to be proud of following the mfg. maintainance schedule to a "T" , only to find out that the official book is, if not wrong, at least "inadequate".

Another thing I recently discovered that tics me off is, I was told by Toyota years ago that my model does not have a cabin air filter, but I find out now that it has the holder for one, they just leave the filter itself out, presumably to save $$.
 
  #8  
Old 02-15-11, 01:01 PM
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flushes

Trying to revive something once it has been neglected is like trying to get a girl un-pregnant. The brake systems they try to seal as the new fluid likes to soak up moisture but they are not a complete seal and do pick up moisture. The level drops as the pads wear and the pistons extend farther out. This does not indicate a leak. As Tow said look at your fluid then compare it to new fluid this will convince you it needs to be changed. I drain my cooling system every other year and add new AF this replaces the additives that wear out. As to the trans I would do a simple fluid and filter change. I am not a fan of power flushes. If I was going to do anything beyond a simple fluid change I would unhook a cooler line and as the fluid pumped out pour new fluid in till it runs clear. A real pain in the a** type job. And you still need to drop the pan to change the filt.
 
  #9  
Old 02-15-11, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by rstripe View Post
And while I'm sure a Toyota dealer will charge more than other shops, I assume that the brake & tranny work will be more thourough if I have them do it.
Not more thorough, but certainly more expensive. I don't generally recommend dealer service departments for other than warranty work and the few items that are proprietary like programming a replacement computer or ignition key.

I prefer the much more personal service of a good independent garage.
 
  #10  
Old 02-15-11, 05:25 PM
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I can give you clear direction on all of these.

1. Brake Fluid - Yes it should be changed atleast every 3 years. When ever mechanics changes calipers on old cars the have to flush the system anyways. So nothing new there about changing brake fluid on old cars. The easiet way to tell if you need a flush. Is when the car is off. Pump the pedal it should get ROCK HARD meaning you can't press it down AT ALL. If it has any moosh after 15 full pumps then you need to change it. Second the system is not completely sealed as people think. Moisture and air gets in over time and the boiling point of the fluid drops. Usually every 2-3 years the boiling point has dropped about 50-100deg. Second reason you want to change it is because moisture in the fluid can cause very very tiny service corrosion in the abs module which can stick a valve or cause your brake lines to rot from the inside out. I have an electronic boiling point tester so I watch my brake fluid very closely and know these things from experience. Secondly you have a toyota they use a very specific brake fluid that has a lubricant for the seals in your system. You cannot gurantee aftermarket fluids have this additive. You should use ONLY brake fluid from the Toyota dealer. Besides dealer mark-up you sometimes pay extra for fluids from the dealers because they use expensive additives to protect certain materials types they use for parts. This is becoming a bigger problem on new cars especially high end luxury.
Toyota, Honda recall vehicles with brake safety issues - Oct. 21, 2010

2. Radiator flush - You should do it. One important thing. Do not take it to a shop drain and fill it yourself. Always use distilled water. I never buy premix. Get the straight up coolant then distilled or de-ionized (best). If you like to keep your car and radiator a long time never ever ever use tap water. Tap water contains elements that can eat your cooling system from the inside out. There are additives in coolant to help prevent this but why waste them on clean water instead of preventing the aging process as coolant ages. When we pick a place to build a plant to make cars we actually take water samples to see if the tap is clean enough to fill brand new cars on the line. Usually most places don't have tap water that clean.

3. Transmission flush - Do it any mileage. I typically have my cars flushed at a lube shop. I never change the filter mostly because I am to lazy to do it myself and don't want to pay some one to. I have done over 400 transfilter changes in my day and only seen 2 vehicles that actually needed it even at 100k miles. The saying that crud keeps your trans together is out there. Usually by people who don't know how to build or design transmissions. Transmissions are very simple devices. The hardest part of transmissions is working the tolerance stack out for all parts so when parts are mixed and match in building them the trans works. The crud part people refer to is for the piston seals in the clutches. Basically if your trans works because this crud is there your trans should slip like crazy when cold or in the winter. Other than that the crud has no benefit in keeping a trans running. The trans works because a piston fills with oil delivered by a spinning shaft it fills a chamber with rubber seals behind a bunch of discs. This presses the piston out and compresses the clutch discs. The time it takes is called "fill time". Fill time is critical with automatic transmissions. This will determine how long your clutches will last. A slow fill time means the discs will slip more before locking on each other. Why do you care? Glad you ask. Old transmission fluid mainly severly burned transmission fluid will not fill the clutch packs as quickly. This causes more slip when "gears" are changed. How much shorter thats debately you may still get 200k+ miles. But anyways this is about preventative maintenance not how close can I get risking the life of my car. Every transmission we build which is more than 100k transmissions a year goes in the final test where the fill times are measured and then the trans module is programmed with these time and the tran's max torque in each gear until slip occurs. I have done about 500 trans flushes on aged domestic cars from 30k miles up to 170k miles. All domestics immediately showed quicker shifts. Its kinda like shocks they go bad slowly over time so you never really notice till you get new ones. As for your Toyota I have only done about 100 Toyotas and couldn't really tell quicker shifts immediately.

I have had 6 cars foreign and domestic I usually never get rid of a car until they hit 225k miles. For some reason the bodies always rust before the car stops running. Also if you have an inline fuel filter don't forget to change that. Some cars just have screens in the tanks. Don't worry about those. I don't see any CVT transmissions your car on scion.com shows a 4 or 5speed option 1 auto 1 manual
 
  #11  
Old 02-15-11, 05:43 PM
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I see people talk about metal particles. A trans flush will not cause these to come loose. I actually find it funny people may say its becuase of a trans flush. Mainly becuase this is the #1 reason for transmission failures on new vehicles. The valve body is a vary complex aluminum casting on most cars. Some newer cars are using plastic but those are far and few. Because of how complex the channels are, very fine or large machining chips can find their way into nooks and crannies then get lodged. The chips come from maching the holes for the valves. Basically even today I have root caused a torque converter over heating severly damaged the trans in a brand new car.The trans was replaced under warranty. A valve body maching chip jammed up the torque converter valve. In the plant there are high pressure washers that blast these parts with cleaning solution but some chips just never get out. These are basically like ticking time bombs if you have one it may never go off, it go with in 10miles or 50k or 100k. A trans flush does not alter the way the fluid flows through the trans so chips/ particles destroying your trans from a trans flush is not true. Second thing shops like to sell is some additive claiming it removes varnish. Ummmm Not sure where the varnish comes from or what issues its supposed to cause. Possibly severly over heated trans fluid may burn fluid and cause it. Most shop people can't explain it either but they tell you its magically there so buy this for $17. I have never seen varnish in a transmission unless its a hybrid and the varnish is part of the insulation of an electric motor. Even in transmissions we life cycle test to the most extreme condition to verify new designs I have never seen varnish yet.
 
  #12  
Old 02-16-11, 10:32 AM
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fluids

Just a personal expierence, I had a 96 Buick LeSabre that at 60K miles started shifting rough. I changed the fluid and filter and in about three days it was shifting OK. When it reached 120K miles the same thing happened and the cure was the same. This convinced me that with this particular vehicle it needed changed at around 60K miles or before,so I try to change mine around 50K now. Lubricants are still cheaper than parts.
 
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Old 02-16-11, 07:20 PM
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Thank you, gentlemen. The only oddity I noticed on the AT has been over the last year or so, that after sitting overnite in the garage, at 1st startup, occassionally if I shift into Drive right away, the tranny does not engage and try to creep at idle as it would normally do. But if I shift to Neutral and wait 5 to 10 seconds, then shift to Drive again, it immediately creeps foward as is normal. It's as if it needs a few seconds to fill the torque converter? Again, this only happens occassionally, no matter if it's summer or winter. The fluid level seems to indicate full.

Will lube shops have the correct type AT fluid for Toyota, or is it just the brake fluid that needs to be Toyota's?
 
  #14  
Old 02-17-11, 03:45 AM
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I am not aware that car brands discriminate on brake fluid. I know they do on transmission fluid but brake fluid? I think it's another way for them to get their hand in your back pocket.
 
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Old 02-17-11, 08:22 AM
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Although I'm sure Toyota recommends their own fluid, I've always just used regular Dexron and have never had a Toy tranny problem.
 
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Old 02-19-11, 04:03 PM
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I see the more recent post by jcraft where his mechanic also refused to change tranny fluid at near 100K with no previous changes.....makes you wonder if a number of these cars have come back to the shop with tranny problems...
 
  #17  
Old 02-19-11, 10:57 PM
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In the old days we called this "morning sickness" usually caused by an INTERNAL leak.
 
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