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!
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These steps should apply to any 2003-2008 manual transmission (C59 – 5-speed manual) Toyota Corolla. The vehicle shown here is a 2004. The type of transmission fluid required in these transmissions is GL-4 manual transmission fluid.
The Toyota C59 is a 5-speed manual transmission used in Toyota 4-cylinder, 1.8 liter front-wheel drive cars starting in ~2004. In addition to Toyota Corollas, the C59 has also been installed in the Toyota Celica, Matrix, and MR2, and also includes some General Motors cars as well.
Tools and supplies required:
- 15/16″ socket (or 24mm socket)
- socket wrench
- 6″ socket extension (not strictly necessary, but helpful)
- 2 qts of GL-4 manual transmission fluid (I use and recommend Red Line MT-90)
- replacement 24mm crush washers
- torque wrench
- transmission fluid funnel
Procedure to Drain and Fill Manual Transmission Fluid
- Park the vehicle on a level surface and set the parking brake.
- Position a drain pan under the transmission drain plug.
- Remove the fill plug using a 24mm socket wrench.
- Remove the drain plug using a 24mm socket wrench allowing the fluid to drain out.
- Replace the crush washer on the drain plug and tighten it to 29 lb-ft.
- Add 2 qts of 75W-90 GL-4 transmission fluid.
- Replace the crush washer on the fill plug and tighten it to 29 lb-ft.
Detailed Procedure – Step by Step
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.
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 lb-ft 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!