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When to do a transmission flush?

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Old 12-03-14, 11:39 AM   #1
kanesee
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Default When to do a transmission flush?

I'm the original owner of a 2006 Lexus IS350.

I need to give some context, but basically I'm getting different responses from different mechanics and dealerships.
Here's a timeline of events:

1) 1/13/2013 (85k mi): my usual shop (a lexus-specific shop) said my transmission needed to be flushed. I looked up when transmission flushes needed to happen and I was under the impression it was every 100k mi so I decided to get a 2nd opinion.
2) 1/19/2013 (85.1k mi): Went to Toyota dealership to get 2nd opinion. They told me it did need to be flushed and offered a lower price to do it. I took their deal only because I was already there.
3) Every 5k mi since: my usual shop has been asking me to get the transmission flushed. I dismissed it since I had one and assumed they were just going off their record and not rechecking the transmission fluid.
4) 6/6/2014 (100k mi): lexus-specific shop tells me to get transmission flushed again and tell me they actually checked the fluid
5) 6/9/2014 (100k mi): I get 2nd opinion from Lexus dealership. I asked them how it's possible that I just got my transmission flushed but it still needed another one. I was told that the 1st flush is around 90k mi, but since it's not possible to do a "full flush", it needs to be flushed every 2yrs or 30k mi after that 1st 90k mi flush.
6) 12/2/2014 (105k mi): lexus-specific shop shows me my transmission fluid (in attached pic). I asked them how often the transmission needed to be flushed after the 1st time, and they maintained that it needed to be flushed anywhere between every 50k-80k mi, which is in direct conflict with what Lexus dealership is telling me.

So I can't figure out if
1) The Toyota dealership ever did the transmission flush. And can I get my money back or have them redo it, or is 2yrs and 20k mi later too late?
2) Assuming Toyota dealership did the flush, who's right about when the next flush should be--Lexus dealership who says it's every 2yrs or 30k mi, or my lexus-specific shop who says it's every 50k-80k mi

Thanks in advance.
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Last edited by kanesee; 12-03-14 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 12-03-14, 11:41 AM   #2
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Which year and model Lexus is in question?
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Old 12-03-14, 12:27 PM   #3
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Oops, forgot to mention, I have a 2006 IS350 [edited original post]
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Old 12-10-14, 05:36 AM   #4
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Transmission fluid is one of those things that you can't really go by color. Sure, bright red would be amazing, but it is impossible to completely replace it all, no matter how many times you flush the system.

Trans fluid also has intervals of as early as 30k, as high as 150k, or potentially never, even.

Unless it is burnt (black essentially), I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Change it every 30 to 50k and be done with it from here on out.
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Old 12-15-14, 11:40 AM   #5
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Thanks for the reply, mitsuguy. Your notes about the color puts me more at ease.

I spoke with another mechanic to get a 2nd opinion. What I was told is that a brand new IS350 has maybe 12 liters of clean transmission fluid to start with. It takes about 80k-100k mi before those need to be flushed. But the car doesn't have a dipstick so they can't do a complete drain of the old 12 liters. They can let about 4-5 liters drip out and replace that, so it's more like a transmission mini-flush. Since they're not replacing all the transmission fluid, it now needs to be flushed more frequently after the 1st one, maybe every 30k mi or so.
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Old 12-18-14, 09:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanesee View Post
Thanks for the reply, mitsuguy. Your notes about the color puts me more at ease.

I spoke with another mechanic to get a 2nd opinion. What I was told is that a brand new IS350 has maybe 12 liters of clean transmission fluid to start with. It takes about 80k-100k mi before those need to be flushed. But the car doesn't have a dipstick so they can't do a complete drain of the old 12 liters. They can let about 4-5 liters drip out and replace that, so it's more like a transmission mini-flush. Since they're not replacing all the transmission fluid, it now needs to be flushed more frequently after the 1st one, maybe every 30k mi or so.

That is what we could call a drain and fill.

A flush can still be done - you intercept the trans cooler lines and hook them to a machine.
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