A Video Guide To Toyota Maintenance Fluids

Changing a car's fluids is about more than just changing the oil. It's also important to change the other fluids in your Toyota, including the engine coolant and transmission fluid. In this video, The Car Care Nut covers this info, including the recommended service intervals and why it's important to use Toyota OE fluids.

How Often Should I Change My Toyota's Coolant?

Toyota has two different types of coolant, which can generally be summarized as follows:

1. The "red coolant" is for vehicles manufactured thru 2002 and has a recommended service interval of three years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first.

2. The "pink coolant" is Toyota's long-life coolant. Used on vehicles made after 2002, it should be replaced after five years or 100,000 miles.

The Car Care Nut recommends sticking with Toyota's coolant instead of an aftermarket coolant. From experience, he's seen issues when people use aftermarket coolant or mix it with Toyota coolant. But when sticking with the Toyota coolant and Toyota's recommended service intervals, he has seen no coolant-related problems (learn more about coolant-related problems here). The price difference is negligible, so it's not worth the risk of using aftermarket coolant.

Other Things To Know About Coolant

Coolant, also called antifreeze, comes either concentrated or premixed in a 50/50 ratio of water to coolant. This mixture performs better than concentrated coolant and has both a higher boiling temperature and a lower freezing temperature than concentrated coolant.

If you buy concentrated coolant, it's important to mix it before pouring it into your vehicle's cooling system resevoir. To mix the concentrated coolant in a 50/50 mix, start with an empty gallon container, and add 1/2 gallon of concentrated coolant. Then top the container off with a 1/2 gallon of distilled water.

How Often Should I Change My Transmission Fluid?

Guide to toyota lubricants

As with the engine coolant, The Car Care Nut recommends sticking with Toyota transmission fluid because it is specifically designed to maximize the performance and lifespan of the transmission in your Toyota car or truck. The price difference between Toyota transmission fluid and aftermarket transmission fluid is minimal. However, if you use the wrong type of fluid or a cheaper aftermarket brand, it could cost you thousands of dollars in transmission repairs.

Depending on the model of your Toyota and the type of transmission, you'll need one of the following 3 transmission fluids:

1. ATF Type-IV is the most common type of Toyota transmission fluid. It has a recommended service interval of three years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first.

2. Starting in 2014, Toyota began installing CVT transmissions in their vehicles, most notably the Toyota Corolla. The recommended service interval for Toyota CVT transmissions is six years or 60,000 miles.

3. ATF WS transmission fluid is a "world standard" lifetime transmission fluid, which implies it doesn't need to be changed for the life of your vehicle. The problem is it generally lasts less than 100,000 miles. The Car Care Nut has seen a number of transmissions that needed expensive repairs because the "lifetime" transmission fluid was never changed. Therefore, if you plan to keep your vehicle for more than 100,000 miles, it's a good idea to change your "lifetime" transmission fluid. The recommended service interval is every six years or 60,000 miles.

Other Things To Know About Transmission Fluid

One way to determine the type of transmission fluid you need is by the transmission dipstick. Remove your resivoir cap and check for one of these three types:

  • Transmissions with a red dipstick use ATF Type-IV transmission fluid.
  • Non-CV transmissions either have a black dipstick or no dipstick use ATF WS transmission fluid.
  • Cars without a dipstick with a CVT transmission use FE CVT transmission fluid.

Toyota Parts Center Is Your Source For OEM Fluids

If you have questions about your Toyota's coolants or transmission fluid, you can always contact us. There are also more videos available from The Car Care Nut that cover coolants, lubricants, fluids and several other maintenance procedures that you may find helpful:

  • This video will teach you all about the different types of gear oil for your Toyota and Lexus Differentials, Transfer case and Manual transmissions
  • If you want to learn more about regular maintenance items like windshield wipers and AC servicing, this video is for you.
  • If you'd like to learn how to replace the coolant in a Toyota dynamic force engine, check out this video.
  • Watch this video if yo need to learn how to easily, quickly and effectively bleed the cooling system in your 3.5L V6 2GR-FE or 2GR-FXE engine.
  • Have a sealed Toyota CVT transmission? Find out how to change the transmission fluid here.

If you need maintenance parts, we offer up-front wholesale pricing on fluids. lubricants and maintenance related parts. We also offer helpful resources like a free comprehensive engine guide, diagnostic info for common Toyota trouble codes, and a wide variety of other resources just for Toyota and Scion owners.