2005 Toyota Camry: When Should I Change The Transmission Fluid?

Q--I own a 2005 Camry with a four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission. The car has 15,000 miles on it. At what time do I need to change the transmission fluid? The owner's manual says to check it at 30,000 miles. The dealer at the 15,000 mile maintenance check says it is not red any more and it should be flushed.

When checking the transmission dipstick I did notice that the fluid is just a bit darker red, but it is clearly red. The fluid on the dipstick was not black or brown. How red or not red must the transmission fluid be before it must be changed?

A--First off, the color of the fluid isn’t much of an indicator anymore. Both oil and transmission fluid darken rather quickly nowadays. I would certainly check the fluid level regularly. I would also sniff it for any signs of scorching, a sure sign that it should be changed. But my rule of thumb is to change it every 50,000 miles. Of course, doing it more often hurts nothing but your budget.

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