This is a quick picture guide showing how to check the level of the automatic transmission fluid (ATF) in your 2003-2009 Toyota Sienna. This procedure will be similar for most automatic transmission Toyota vehicles. Click here for instructions on changing ATF in a Toyota Sienna.
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Supplies used for this:
- Automatic Transmission Fluid (Toyota T-IV) (recommended fluid)
Procedure to Check the Level of Automatic Transmission Fluid
These are the steps we will be going through in more detail with pictures below.
- Start the vehicle and let it warm up.
- Put it in park (leave it running) and set the parking brake.
- Pop the hood and locate the ATF dipstick.
- Pull out the dipstick and wipe it off with a clean rag.
- Fully re-insert the dipstick and pull it out again.
- The amount of dipstick that is wet with fluid indicates the level of ATF.
- Ensure the ATF level is between the 2 notches in the dipstick.
Detailed Step-by-Step Procedure
One thing that may not be intuitive is that the vehicle should be running, warmed up, and in park when you check the ATF level. Go ahead and drive the vehicle for 10-15 minutes, making sure that you cycle through the gears, including reverse.
Once the vehicle is sufficiently warmed up, go ahead and put it in park and set the parking brake. Then pop the hood and prop it up.
The ATF dipstick is located forward of the engine on the right side. It has an orange handle. There is a small locking mechanism, press that back and pull out the dipstick; it may be hot…
Clean off the end of the dipstick with a rag, then put it back in to get a good reading, then remove it again and examine it. There are 2 sets of notches. The lower set of notches (closer to the end of the stick and labeled “COOL”) show the level when the engine is relatively cool, the other set of notches indicate the correct level when the engine is hot.
Depending on how warmed up the engine is, the level should be between these 2 sets of notches.
If the level is low, you may want to consider adding some ATF. Don’t just add any old fluid, make sure it is Toyota T-IV automatic transmission fluid (or compatible).
At the same time, it is a good idea to inspect the cleanliness of the fluid. The original Toyota fluid is red, so if it is dark or grainy, you may want to consider draining the ATF and filling it with fresh fluid. For that, you will need about 4 qts of fluid for a standard drain and fill, and then it’s cheaper to buy a case.
For instructions on performing a complete drain and fill, check out this post.
I hope this was useful! For more Sienna maintenance tips, check out these articles!