By October 10, 2012 3 Comments Read More →

Should I Change My Transmission Fluid

Reader Question

Hello, congratulations for your web site it is an excellent resource for all of us. Please, I d like to ask you 2 things.

1) Should I change the ATF of my Toyota?. I bought it with all 100k miles, but I don’t know if at anytime the ATF was changed, I’ve checked and some people says that if the ATF is dark and smell like a barbecue the transmission is almost dead, but the ATF in my car is like transparent and it smells just like oil, I m always worried about my cars maintenance schedule and that s why I d like to know please, if I am still on time to change the ATF, or is too late and is better idea to let it as is. If your answer is to change the ATF, should I change too the filter at the same time?, or it should be changed later.

2) The question now is about the brake fluid in the same car, it came with 4 discs and ABS, I don t know if anytime the BF was changed. The question is, should I change the BF, or is better to let it as is. I feel like the brake distance is a little long more than it should be, but the times when I ve had to stop faster for something unexpected, it brakes as expected. Well, please let me know your advice and the better procedure to do it.

Best regards and thank you very much


Hi Orlando,

Thanks for the email and the kind words.

Since you have a Toyota Camry, my favorite vehicle….I would say you are probably going to be ok changing the transmission fluid, so if you want to do it….go ahead. Toyota transmissions are very good and usually can take more abuse than an American vehicle could.

There should be a metal filter screen/filter (I believe) that is inside the transmission, you can have the pan removed to clean it…or just change the fluid. I would probably go to a fast lube place that has a transmission flush system and let them flush out the transmission and not remove the transmission pan or do anything with the filter/screen.

The brake fluid is the same way, you are ok with changing it and actually doing a good thing for the brake system in doing so. Will it help your stopping distance issue…probably NOT, but if the brake fluid is not totally clear and clean inside the master cylinder….it could use changing.

Increased stopping distance is probably more related to brake pad composition and the condition of the brake rotor surface.

You might find these past articles helpful.

Brake Problems

Warped Brake Rotors

Brake Master Cylinder


Austin C. Davis

Posted in: Transmissions

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • Austin Davis

    Engine oil? I personally change mine every 4,000 miles and use Castrol or Valvoline conventional oil and a good filter. You might be able to go 5,000 – 6,000 miles using a good synthetic oil.

    It does not have to be synthetic, but you might want to use it to extend change mileage intervals and overall engine life. Not advisable to use it then stop and switch back to conventional oil.

    I would check the oil level and color often though. Should be nice and golden brown on the stick.

  • eunice

    and does it have to be synthetic

  • eunice

    how often should I change the oil on a mazda 2 hatch back 2011?