How often should I change the transmission fluid in my 2011 highlander?

mike1243mike1243 Member Posts: 1
edited February 2018 in Toyota
I have looked at the maintenance book, and it does not mention changing the fluid. However, I plan to go 300,000 in this car so it seems like it should be changed at some point.

Some people say to never change it. Some say to change it when it turns brown. Unfortunately, mine does not have a dipstick so that makes it tough to check the color.

If it does need to be changed, should it be drained or flushed. I have heard that draining it leaves about half the old fluid in. If it is flushed, I have heard that the force can disturb some gunk in there and make it worse.

I would appreciate any suggestions.


  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,534
    edited February 2018
    According to Mitchell On Demand Toyota shows the transmission fluid as needing to be checked every 30,000 miles but did not list a service interval.

    Getting to 300,000 miles isn't a goal that most consumers set for a vehicle and there has been no shortage of pressure to convince consumers that regular service is wasted money. The simple explanation for that is dealers and manufacturers don't want the cars to regularly go that far. If someone happens to think that is a stretch just consider what would happen to new car sales if that was the norm....

    So how often should you service your transmission? At the very least a full flush should be done right now since there is no way to know the condition of the fluid. Tiny wear particles from the clutches end up circulating with the fluid and cause wear in virtually every moving part of the transmission and there is no way to remove them other than to change the fluid and service the filter when appropriate. Then on a 30,000 mile interval (That's a half change) a simple drain and fill will do wonders.

    With 254K here is what the fluid looks like in my Ford Escape. It got a drain and fill at 30K, a full flush at 60K. Then a drain and fill at 90K. The AC condenser/transmission cooler was replaced at 110K and a flush was done at that time. Since then it's been nothing but drain and fills every 30K.

    I'm going to make 300K + That is all the darker the fluid get's between services which it is almost due for.

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