How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid in a Toyota Tundra
Check the automatic transmission fluid level in a Toyota Tundra at least every 15,000 miles. More often is preferred to ensure the fluid is still the correct clear, red color. Only check transmission fluid when the engine and transmission are hot and the engine is running. You should change the fluid every 12,000 to 30,000 miles depending on the conditions under which the truck is driven.
- Moderately Challenging
- Ramps or jacks
- Drain pan
- Socket wrench
- New gasket or sealing washer
- New transmission fluid
- Toyota special service tool
- New strainer assembly
- Solvent for cleaning
- Torque wrench
- FIPG sealant
Drain and Refill Automatic Transmission Fluid Only
To change the transmission fluid, it should be hot. Drive the truck for about 20 minutes. Park the truck on level ground and raise it to gain easier access to the transmission. Ensure that you level and safely support the truck with ramps or jacks.
Clean the area around the drain plug to remove all dirt and grease. Remove the dipstick from the filler tube and replace it with a funnel. During regular maintenance, you don't have to remove the pan or replace the filter.
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 with a new sealing washer or gasket, whichever the truck uses. 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 level, add a little more fluid and check again until the fluid reaches the correct level on the dipstick.
Replace the dipstick, start the engine and let it idle for a few minutes. Don't rev the engine. Let the truck idle for a few minutes, shift it through the gears and then back to Park. Check the fluid level on the dipstick while the truck 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.
Replace the Strainer Assembly, Drain and Refill the Automatic Transmission Fluid
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.
Clean the transmission pan and the magnets. Pay attention to where the magnets are, so you can replace them in their correct locations. You can clean everything with a solvent, but you must allow the pan and magnets to air dry before you replace them.
Remove all traces of the old sealer from the pan and transmission. Clean or replace the strainer assembly at this time. Pay attention if these bolts are different lengths, so you can replace them in their correct locations. After you get the replacement strainer assembly in place, tighten the bolts to 84 inch pounds, being careful not to over tighten them.
Apply a thin line 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.
Replace the magnets 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.
Tips & Warnings
Check the drain plug for leakage.
If you have a newer model truck without a transmission dipstick, then the truck has a sealed unit. In this case, most experts recommend taking the truck to a dealer for service.
Don't overfill your transmission with too much fluid. When checking the level of transmission fluid, pay careful attention to the cold and hot markings on the dipstick.