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Toyota Corolla Transmission Fluid Change Guide
How to drain and refill the "ATF" (automatic transmission fluid) in a 9th generation 2003 to 2008 Toyota Corolla sedan.

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2005 Toyota Corolla 1.8L I4
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1ZZ-FE @ 115,000 Miles
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Pull Up Transmission Dipstick

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the ninth generation (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008) Toyota Corolla with the 1.8L I4 engine in performing a simple drain and refill of the automatic transmission fluid or "ATF".

Owners of other Toyota or related Pontiac vehicles with similar automatic transmissions such as the Matrix, Vibe, Voltz, RAV4, Celica, Camry, Yaris, Tacoma and Avalon may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

Toyota claims that the ATF fluid should last the "lifetime" of the vehicle under normal driving conditions. So by doing a quick drain and refill of about 50% of the ATF fluid at least every few years or every 15,000 to 30,000 miles, your car's preventative maintenance will be far ahead of the average Corolla.

The items needed to complete this procedure include a 14mm socket with a 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench, a used oil catch container, a gallon jug marked in quarts, an automotive funnel a new crush washer & 4 U.S. quarts of Toyota ATF Type T-IV.

Optional items include a floor jack and two jack stands or automotive ramps to raise the vehicle for easier access to the drain plug.

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Raise Front of Vehicle
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Support With Jack Stands
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Gallon Bottle & 4 Quarts ATF
This procedure should be done when the engine is warm to help suspend any contaminants within the old transmission fluid and to allow the old fluid to drain out more quickly.

If the engine is very hot, allow it to cool a bit to prevent from burning yourself on the underside of the engine bay or when you drain the ATF fluid.

The first two steps are to open the hood and then pull up the red plastic handled transmission dipstick an inch or two.

The dipstick is located at the front right (driver side) of the engine bay next to the 12V automotive battery and below the air intake hose.

Lifting out the transmission dipstick will help prevent a vacuum from forming and allow the old fluid to drain out more quickly.

You may be able to reach the transmission fluid drain bolt with out raising the vehicle.

I found it easier to lift the front of the car with a floor jack at the jack point under the center of the engine bay.

Then securely support the vehicle with the two jack stands.

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Jug Marked Half Quart Lines
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Transmission Oil Pan
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14mm Drain Bolt
Gather together the used oil catch container, a 14mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench.

I'd recommend wearing Nitrile rubber gloves to keep your hands clean during the next steps. Used automotive oil may be carcinogenic (cancer causing).

Slide under the front driver side of the engine bay and locate the black metal transmission oil pan. The transmission oil drain bolt is located near the rear edge of the pan with the bolt head facing down towards the ground.

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Slide Basin Under Drain Bolt
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Loosen Counterclockwise
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Spin Out Drain Bolt
Position the used oil catch basin to just below the drain bolt.

Loosen the transmission fluid drain bolt in the counterclockwise direction with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

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Inspect & Replace Washer
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Draining Out Old ATF Fluid
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Dark Fluid After 115,000 Miles
Spin out the drain bolt, clean it and inspect the metal crush washer.

The best practice would be to replace the crush washer, but you may be able to re-use the washer if it appears to be in good condition.

If the washer appears to be falling apart, use a new one. The part number is Genuine Toyota Gaskets 90430-12031. (These are also the same washers for the 14mm oil drain plug.)

Allow the old transmission fluid to drain out for at least a few minutes or until the flow slows to an occasional drip.

This is the first time I have "changed" the transmission fluid on our 2005 Corolla with 115,000 miles on the odometer, so I wasn't surprised that it was a very dark brown or black color with a slightly pungent burnt odor.

Fresh ATF fluid is a translucent bright red color and just smells like most other new petroleum based automotive fluids.

The new Toyota T-IV ATF fluid was about $6 per quart plus tax at my local Toyota dealership parts counter.



 

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Spin In 14mm Drain Bolt
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Tighten Clockwise 13 ft-lbs
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Funnel In Measuring Jug
Clean off the area around the drain hole with some paper towels or a clean rag.

Make sure that the old crush washer is not still attached to the transmission pan.

If necessary, attach a new crush washer to the drain bolt.

Spin in the drain bolt by hand a few turns in the clockwise direction to prevent it from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the drain bolt in the clockwise direction with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight or about 13 ft-lbs (156 in-lbs) of torque.

Double check that the ATF drain bolt is tight before moving on to the next steps.

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Pour In Old ATF Fluid
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About 3.65 U.S. Quarts
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Insert Funnel In Dipstick Hole
Insert an automotive funnel in to the gallon jug that you marked with a line every half quart.

(To create a measuring jug, just pour in two cups of water from a kitchen measuring cup and mark the level with a permanent marker. Every 2 cups is a half quart and every 4 cups is a quart.)

I was able to drain out about 3.65 U.S. quarts of old ATF fluid. That is consistent with what I've read on Toyota forums of other Corolla owners draining out about 3.5 quarts for a drain and refill procedure.

(If you would like to clean the metal shavings from the transmission pan magnet and replace the filter, here are a few filter kits with their part numbers: Wix 58040, Beck Arnley 044-0330, Purolator P1296, GKI TF1242 and Toyota 35330-12040.

If you raised the vehicle, lower it from the jack stands using the floor jack.

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Lower Vehicle From Stands
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Pour In New T-IV ATF
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Poured In 3 U.S. Quarts
Insert a small automotive funnel in to the transmission dipstick hole.

The owner's manual for the 2005 Toyota Corolla S states that the automatic transaxle's fluid capacity for a drain and refill is 3.2 U.S. quarts (3.0 Liters or 2.6 Imperial Quarts).

Slowly pour in only about 3 to 3.2 U.S. quarts of the new Toyota ATF T-IV in to the transmission fluid dipstick hole.

It is far better to have slightly less fluid that necessary in the transmission than to overfill it.

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Run Engine - Check Dipstick
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~3.6 U.S. Quarts Added
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Check & Replace Dipstick
Temporarily replace the transmission dipstick while you perform the following steps to check the transmission fluid level.

1. Turn on the engine.
2. Engage the emergency / parking brake and firmly press down on the brake pedal.
3. Move the shifter knob to cycle the transmission through all the gears while pausing in each gear (e.g. "P" Park, "R" Reverse, "D" Drive) for a few seconds.
4. Place the transmission in "P" Park and leave the engine running.
5. Pull out the transmission fluid dipstick, wipe it clean, re-insert it and pull it out again to check the level.

The ATF fluid level should be somewhere between the two notches that indicate the "HOT" range on the dipstick.

If the fluid level is far below the "HOT" range, turn off the engine and slowly pour in more ATF fluid and repeat the process until the level on the dipstick reaches the correct range.

To keep things simple, I just poured in about 3.6 U.S. quarts of new ATF to replace the amount that I had drained and measured with the gallon jug. Luckily, the level on the dipstick was almost in the middle of the "HOT" range.

I'd recommend checking the ATF fluid level again after your next trip.

For more, check out my other Corolla DIY tutorials at the links below -

2003-2008 Toyota Corolla Repair & Maintenance Guides

2009-2013 Toyota Corolla Repair & Maintenance Guides
 

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