How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid in a Toyota Tacoma
You should service or inspect the automatic transmission fluid in a Toyota Tacoma at least every 15,000 miles or 12 months. You can check the fluid as often as you like to ensure it's the proper clear, red color. The recommended transmission fluid for a Tacoma is Dexron II or Dexron III. Check the owner's manual to confirm the correct fluid choice.
- Moderately Challenging
- Ramps or jacks
- Drain pan
- Socket wrench
- New gasket or sealing washer
- New transmission fluid
- Toyota special service tool
- Solvent for cleaning
- Torque wrench
- FIPG sealant
Drain and Refill Automatic Transmission Fluid Only
Know that to change the transmission fluid, it should be hot. Drive the truck for about 20 minutes before changing the fluid. Park the truck on level ground or raise it with ramps or jacks to gain easier access to the transmission. Ensure that you level and safely support the truck.
Clean the area around the drain plug thoroughly to remove all dirt and grease. Remove the dipstick from the filler tube and replace it with a funnel. You will likely need a funnel with a long flexible neck. During regular maintenance, you don't have to remove the pan or replace the filter. If you are changing the fluid on a newer Tacoma with a refill plug, remove it before you drain the fluid.
Place a drain pan beneath the fluid pan, remove the drain plug with a socket wrench and allow the old transmission fluid to drain. Be careful that the hot fluid doesn't burn you. Wait until the flow of transmission fluid stops. Replace the drain plug sealing washer or gasket, whichever your truck uses.
Add new transmission fluid through the filling tube in an older Tacoma under the hood. On the other hand, use the refill plug on the side of the transmission in a newer Tacoma. Either way, make sure the engine is off. Some fluid will remain in the transmission, so add about half of the recommend dry refill amount if filling through the filler tube.
Check the fluid level, add a little more fluid and check again until the fluid reaches the correct level on the dipstick. If you are adding through the refill plug, you need to use a fluid pump. Remove the refill plug, overflow plug and add fluid until fluid comes out of the overflow tube.
Inspect the fluid level on the dipstick while the car is idling. If the dipstick indicates that the transmission needs more fluid, add a little more until the level reaches the full mark on the dipstick.
Drain and Refill the Automatic Transmission Fluid and Replace the Filter
Perform Steps 1 through 3 as instructed in Section 1. Remove the fluid pan retaining bolts with a socket wrench. Use a Toyota Special Service Tool to break the seal so that you can remove the pan from the transmission. If you use any other tool to remove this seal, you risk serious damage to the flange of the oil pan and the sealing surface of the transmission.
Clean the transmission pan and the magnets. Pay special attention to where the magnets are, so you can replace them in the exact original location. You can clean everything with a solvent, but you must allow the pan and parts to air dry before you replace them.
Remove all traces of the old sealer from the pan and transmission. Clean or replace the strainer at this time. Make a note of the original locations of the strainer retaining bolts because they are different lengths. After you get the replacement strainer in place, tighten the bolts to 84 inch pounds.
Apply a thin bead of FIPG sealant around the pan flange, staying on the inner side of the boltholes. Make sure you don't use too much sealant so that excess doesn't squeeze out into the transmission.
Ensure that the magnets are in their original locations and replace the transmission pan. Retighten the bolts to 65 inch pounds. Refill the transmission with fluid as directed in Steps 4 and 5 in Section 1.