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Q: How complicated should changing manual transmission oil be?

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Hi. As you would know the idea of a dipstick or level-checking utility is often not available for manual transmissions. I am hoping there is no problem and I don't want to bring in complications, but I am pretty sure my car did not get the transmission fluid changed since the original leasing owner and the 9 years we've had it. Mileage is not high. It just makes sense that contamination with gearbox components (metal shavings) could cause gradual wear. When I was under the car to do an oil change, I noticed that identifying the transmission was that much harder than in an automatic car. How would manual tranmission fluid be changed (hypoid gear oil 75W-90)? I am pretty sure it can't all be flushed out if you don't have the special equipment of a shop and a lift. But I am stuck wondering how maybe bolts from part of the bell housing have to be undone when under the car, and even then where is the fill-up port? I also have hard time getting into gear 1 when car is rolling fairly slowing in neutral. i never force the lever; i just keep redoing different shift patterns and when the car is eventually stationary it will go into place. Thank you

My car has 35000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

A: Hi there. On many of the older Toyotas, cha...

Hi there. On many of the older Toyotas, changing manual or automatic transmission fluid wasn’t very complicated. The autos had a dipstick and the manuals used a specification of when new gear oil starts flowing out of the fill port in a 3mm wide stream.

The drain plug is usually a pretty obvious one found on the bottom of the transmission and the fill plug was the trickier one that could be on either side of the assembly. Look for a plug on the side of the transmission that matches the drain plug. Usually a 22mm bolt with a washer. The drain plug will also have a magnet attached to it that will need to be cleaned; just drain the fluid, clean the magnet, install a new washer, and reinstall the plug.

To fill the transmission, have the vehicle level, remove the fill plug and fill until a 3mm wide stream of fluid starts to run out of the fill plug hole. Then install a new washer on the fill plug and reinstall. Clean the excess and there you have it, a finished manual transmission service. On a side note, the shifter concern you noted sounds like what is called a shifter seat bushing that is worn out. To replace this, the shifter needs to be removed from the transmission and should be done by an experienced technician. YourMechanic has several available technicians that can assist you with an inspection of the shifting issue to determine the root cause of the problem and perform a transmission fluid service if needed.

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