It is recommended to change transmission fluid every 30,000-50,000 miles in your manual transmission Toyota Corolla (see maintenance schedule). Follow this picture guide to perform this maintenance item; most people I talk to agree it is even easier than an oil change!

These steps should apply to any 2003-2008 manual transmission (C59 – 5-speed) Toyota Corolla. The vehicle shown here is a 2004.

Tools and supplies required:

Procedure to Drain and Fill Transmission Fluid

The transmission has two ports associated with the transmission fluid, a drain port and a fill port. The drain port is located near the bottom of the transmission, and the fill port is located at some distance above the drain port. You know you have the correct amount of fluid in the transmission when the liquid is just up to the fill port (just about to leak out), and not below. The correct amount of fluid is listed in your owner’s manual.

The first step is to remove the fill plug. Why, you ask? Well, both the drain and fill plugs can get very tight. There is a slight chance you will have trouble removing the plug, or damage it while removing it. You don’t want to end up in this situation with an empty transmission! Also, the fluid will drain better with the fill plug removed.

The fill plug is most easily access from the top, so pop the hood and prop it up.

The fill port is visible in this photo, between the battery and the engine, way down in there.


The fill plug is located at the center of this photo,


Here is a slightly closer view.


Position something for the fluid to drain into, in case it was overfilled previously. In this case I used a 1 gallon ice cream pail.


Use a 15/16″ socket, to loosen the fill port (note: while technically a 24mm plug, I find that the 15/16″ socket fits more snugly). A 6″ socket extension was helpful for this step, but may not be strictly necessary.


The fill port plug was quite tight for me, so I used a pipe “cheater bar” to increase the mechanical advantage so knuckles didn’t get bashed.


The fill plug removed. Notice the crush washer.


Wipe the fill plug off with a rag, then replace the crush washer with a new one.


Now move under the vehicle and locate the drain plug. It is located at the bottom of the transmission. Position a drain pan under it.


Use the same 15/16″ socket to remove the drain plug.



The transmission fluid will begin draining out.

After the old transmission fluid has drained out, clean up the drain plug and put a new crush washer on it. Tighten the drain plug to 29 ft-lbs with a torque wrench.


We’re now ready to add transmission fluid. A good way to know approximately how much fluid to add, is to poor the fluid you drained out, into something that you can measure on, such as a milk jug, ice cream pail, etc… Then make a mark on the side, and clean it out. Once it is sufficiently clean, fill the container up to your mark with fresh fluid. This is the amount you should add (assuming that you started with the correct amount in the first place!). I usually find that I need to add that much, and a little more…

In general, a drain and fill such as this will require exactly 2 quarts.

The manual transmission Toyota Corolla requires 75W-90 GL-4 transmission fluid. I use and recommend the Red Line MT-90.

In order to fill the transmission fluid, we need to get a funnel that can enter in the fill port. I use a long transmission fluid funnel, and put a little extra piece of hose on the end to make the bend.



Position the funnel (or tubing, if using that) so that it is into the fill port.

Add fluid until it starts draining out. It should be about 2 qts.

Then, re-install the fill port plug, don’t forget the new crush washer.

Plug with new crush washer installed.


Tighten it to 29 ft-lbs with your torque wrench.

And that’s about it! I hope this was helpful to you!

For more helpful guides on 2003-2008 Toyota Corollas, check out these posts!