2005 Highlander ATF question

Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
374
Location
Colorado
Hi all, Just got a used 2005 Highlander. I was checking the ATF today - started engine, ran it through gears, and then immediately cleaned dipstick and reinserted with engine still running per manual. I was alarmed to see the level was quite below the COLD marks, but it then did start to approach HOT level as I continued to let the engine run. Probably about 3/4 of the way between COLD and HOT. Should both the COLD and HOT marks be pretty much spot on or does one tend to be more accurate than the other. I assume that because it came up close to the HOT level, that it wasn't actually that low and everything is OK but I'm going to check it again tomorrow under COLD settings. I was just a bit surprised as I thought things would be spot on considering the carfax showed a dealer service of the transmission fluid not too long ago. I did add about 1/4 qt of ATF.

Also, what is the community's opinion on changing out the transmission filter? Car fax shows just the one dealer fluid change about 5k ago (car has 125k).
 
There is no need to replace the filter. It is very easy to change the ATF because Toyota is smart enough to include a drain plug :)

Do the job cold. Measure how much comes out, and refill with the same amount. If you weren't experiencing any problems, the level is probably fine.

The only transmission dipsticks I ever found accurate are Hondas, but they are of a different design.
 
Thanks! Any harm in changing out the filter? I understand the Highlander has two magnets in the pan. I thought it might be worthwhile to check if they have a lot of metal fines on them. Appreciate your support slacktide-bitog. I know you've been on this forum for a LONG time and help out lots of folks.
 
Thanks! Any harm in changing out the filter? I understand the Highlander has two magnets in the pan. I thought it might be worthwhile to check if they have a lot of metal fines on them. Appreciate your support slacktide-bitog. I know you've been on this forum for a LONG time and help out lots of folks.

There is nothing wrong with changing the filter, but it won't do much, and the transmission pan has so many bolts your arms will get tired :D

Even cars that have spin-on transmission filters say you only need to replace if damaged.
 
Maybe I missed something but isn’t this a duplicate post?

 
It wouldn't hurt anything. I am not a Toyota guy, but I believe it is more of a mesh strainer. It certainty wouldn't hurt to clean the pan either.
I just did a 2004 Lexus ES 330 (U151E trans) and the filter looks like paper/cellulose very similar to a GM. Impressed by the 18 pan bolts that is never gonna leak LOL.
 
Maybe I missed something but isn’t this a duplicate post?

You are correct. I was mainly concerned about the below COLD level of the ATF fluid so posted here in the Transmission forum and thought I would see what folks here thought about changing the filter - in case people tend to frequent the sub-forums based on expertise or interest.
 
It wouldn't hurt anything. I am not a Toyota guy, but I believe it is more of a mesh strainer. It certainty wouldn't hurt to clean the pan either.
I was thinking a bonus was to be able to see how many metal fines might be on the magnets.
 
Be EZ on the pan bolts.
19 years and salty roads?
Drain and fill is a bit less risky.
Undercarriage and frame look great. We do use salt here in Colorado but snowstorms requiring it aren't too frequent, and then it is very dry the the rest of the year.
 
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