Transmission Oil Change - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-28-2016, 05:36 PM   #1
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Transmission Oil Change

For those of you who tow frequently, do you change the transmission oil in your tow vehicle? I have a 2012 Rav4, V6 with 45K. About 8K has been towing a 13' Scamp and T@B, both under 2500#, the rest of the mileage is split between highway and town. It has never had the transmission oil changed. Would I be asking for potential problems if I changed it now? The engine oil/filter is changed every 5K faithfully.
Thanx.
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Old 01-28-2016, 05:45 PM   #2
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I have all service done on time. I have low miles, but no matter, my RAV4 is serviced every six months; transmission fluid, differentials, oil, filter, whatever is on the list for service at that time.
When they change all the fluids it is painful in the pocketbook, but, "you can pay me now or you can pay me later".

I only have 81,000 kilometers ( 50,000 miles ) on my almost 8-year-old RAV.
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Old 01-28-2016, 06:52 PM   #3
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All the vehicles I have owned had a regular service schedule and a severe service schedule. Severe service includes extended idling, lots of short trips, stop-and-go driving, carrying heavy loads, and towing.

Since I tow a trailer that only weighs about half the rated towing capacity and towing only accounts for about 10% of the miles I drive each year, I could probably get away with following the regular service schedule. But I expect 200K trouble-free miles from my vehicles, so I follow the severe service schedule for engine and transmission oil changes. For my Pilot, that's every 5K for the engine and every 30K for the transmission.
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Old 01-28-2016, 07:09 PM   #4
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My Tacoma requires synthetic oil every 5000 miles. Rather frequent for a modern vehicle, but that's fine with me. I enjoy doing myself.

As for the transmission, I purposely bought this transmission as it is still "user serviceable". A simple plug and out comes 4 quarts. It take 3 such changes to effectively rotate through the oil, but that's fine. I do this annually.

I had a Honda CR-V that we towed behind it hard and often, poor thing. Yet? With twice a year dumps of 3 quarts and replacement, we put 180,000 hard miles on it, in 11 years, without a whimper. The constant renewal of the additives is what is at work here, for our benefit, I believe. Not cost prohibitive.

I use pure synthetic transmission fluid, although, technically it is merely Grp III off the shelf type synthetic, which isn't the ultra-expensive Group 4 stuff that is out there. Too technical? Pure Synthetic off the shelf from Wal-Mart, famous name brand. :-)
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Old 01-29-2016, 08:06 AM   #5
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My opinion change at
50,000
100,000
125,000
150,000
175,000
200,000
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Old 01-29-2016, 10:46 AM   #6
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I follow my vehicle manufactures maint. schedule. Most have 2 schedules- one for heavy use & another for light use.

Do you have a manual tranny or an automatic?
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Old 01-29-2016, 10:56 AM   #7
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Check the color of your transmission fluid. It should be a bright cherry red...if not change it yesterday !

I have my Toyota FJ Cruiser which tows a 4,500 pound trailer spring, summer and fall, serviced by my dealer and they decide when and what gets changed.
I only have oil changes done by others if I'm on the road away from home base camping when my service light comes on. Even then I try to supervise the workers at these quick oil change places as most are not very professional.

If you tow without a trans cooler you might consider changing your fluid more often. If you tow a lot get a good trans-cooler installed. Heat is the enemy of your trans fluid....dark reddish brown fluid indicates you cooked the fluid and transmission.
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Old 01-29-2016, 11:13 AM   #8
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My Toyota dealer (like many dealers) recommends 3000 mile oil changes - which is more then Toyota recommends. Yes they like people coming to their dealership - with money.

s to the color of your tranny fluid - that varies depending on several factors. Manual trann. usually have various weight of motor oil. Automatic are usually red. Ny 2011 Nissan xterra uses a clear ATF fluid.

It is time to get out your owners manual and to download the service schedule from the toyota website.

I would advise that you NOT do any of the power trann flushes offered by oil change places. The 'standard' service of an autotran involves draining the fluid in the pan and changing the filter (which is really more of a screen). One can disconnect an atf line from the cooler and actually pump all the ATF out of the tran while adding fluid in at the same rate. In my 93 winnie warrior (toy V6/ auto), which has a drain plug on the ATF pan, after first dropping the pan and changing the filter, I have since drained the 2 quarts in the pan and replaced it. Doing this on a regular basis somewhat changes the fluid. Note that most auto tran contain a lot more then 2 quarts - mine has 10 quarts - but it is suspended in a number of places so it cannot be "drained" without extensive disassembly.

Why do I NOT recommend power flushes? They force fluid in and simultaneously suck fluid out - usually thru the fill tube. Used tranns build up minute bits of coating in various places - a power flush can break these up and if one of these pieces blocks one of the many rather small passageways it can cause big problems.
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Old 01-29-2016, 11:22 AM   #9
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My Toyota dealer told me changing oil in less than 5,000 miles is a waste of money.

I trust my dealer for transmission service never quick oil change places.

I thought this discussion was about automatic transmissions and not Manual transmissions. Automatic transmissions are better for towing as they are stronger than manual transmissions and tend to shift better than most operators of stick shift vehicles.
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Old 01-29-2016, 11:29 AM   #10
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The manual suggests 30,000 miles for tranny oil changes, cost seems high at around $200. Not sure why the high price when the materials aren't too expensive. But, like the man said, 'pay now or pay later.' Guess I'll pony up. I like the vehicle and want it to last. They don't make v6's in the Rav since 2013.
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Old 01-29-2016, 11:30 AM   #11
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Took my Subaru to a quick oil change place and all the kid managed to do is round the head on the drain plug. They gave up trying to open it and sent me on my way. Had to go to the dealer.
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Old 01-29-2016, 11:31 AM   #12
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I do not trust my Nissan dealer - I have seen things that concern me. Glad yours is doing a better job.

The discussion of manual versus auto would be quite a discussion. Modern autos are pretty good. Of course what matters here is the type of Tranny Alice L has.
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Old 01-29-2016, 02:48 PM   #13
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My advice is to switch to synthetic transmission fluid weather it is an automatic trans or manual. Either way synthetic trans fluid will withstand the heat generated by towing better than conventional fluids. The same goes for the motor oil. I have a 2002 Tacoma and I have been running the synthetic lubricants since I bought it. With this Tacoma I started to shift the automatic transmission into neutral whenever I'm at a red light as I believe it reduces wear and tear on the transmission. I didn't always do this but it seems to make sense. Maybe everybody else does that already and I'm just a Johnny come lately, I don't know.
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Old 01-29-2016, 06:12 PM   #14
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On a 2015 Toyota Tacoma, BOTH the engine oil and the trans fulid were synthetic from the factory and the manual expressly insists on synthetic, not even a blend. Honestly, most tech and engineers will tell you that is likely over kill, but so what? (Since Toyota had that engine sludging issue 10 years ago, they're hyper sensitive about regular, high quality engine oil changes. It's pretty much a CYA thing). The price of off the shelf synthetics is virtually the same as semi-synthetics anyhow. No big deal. As I said, I do it myself. It's easy and I enjoy doing my service and knowing it's done right, like my daddy taught me a half century ago. Oil doesn't really wear out, but the collection of impurities and the loss of additive agents do.

My Trans changes, in the manual call for 30K miles, severe service. I do it annually because I do the acceptable drain plug drop. This is the least "complete drop" of the fluid, so every master tech I've ever shot the breeze with says do it twice as often, or 15K roughly, and that computes to annually for me.

I strongly agree with avoiding those forced flushes. Just don't do it!!! So many reasons why not.
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