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2006-2013 Rav4: Transmission Fluid and Filter Change

Time: 30min - 1 hr

Difficulty: moderate

Cost: $60-150


An automatic transmission is a complex hydraulic pump with gears, clutches, bearings, valves, and actuators. The fluid in an automatic transmission is used to apply pressure, transfer torque, clean, cool, lubricate, and activate components. To perform its function, it needs to be in peak condition.


Replacing the filter and fluid often can prevent one of the costliest repairs you can experience on a vehicle, the transmission. Heat, shearing forces, contaminates, and time cause automatic transmission fluid to lose its protective properties. As the fluid additives and properties break down, temperatures increase, clutches wear, flow restricts, and components fail.


Transmission fluid and filter should be replaced on-condition, but it's a durable fluid within a sealed system (excepting vent-to-atmosphere), and therefore is impressively durable. Still, the industry standard is anywhere from 30-60,000 miles, depending on driving conditions. Heavy start/stop traffic, hills, towing, extreme temperatures, etc. warrant the earlier side of the range, while long-distance flat driving would warrant the latter.

What does on-condition mean? New fluid is pink/red and opaque. Spent fluid is brown to black and has a horrible burnt smell. You obviously want to replace it before it gets to that point.


Drop the pan, replace the filter, install the pan, and add the appropriate fluid amount. Ideally, you would then proceed into a complete transmission fluid exchange. If not, start the vehicle and set the fluid level accordingly.

RAV4 Filter -

RAV4 Flush -

The video below shows how the filter was replaced on a 2007-2013 generation Toyota RAV4.

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Transmission Filter & Pan Gasket

Rav4 transmission filter & pan gasket (verify fit on Amazon)

Body Clips/Fasteners

Assorted auto body clips

Toyota WS ATF

Toyota WS Automatic Transmission Fluid, 6 pk

Long Skinny Funnel

Multi-use long, skinny funnel

Automotive Trim Removal Tool

5-piece upholstery & trim removal tool set

Disposable Gloves

8mil disposable work gloves

3/8" Clear Tubing

3/8" I.D. clear vinyl tubing, 10'

Valvoline MAXLife ATF

Valvoline MAXLife Multi-vehicle Full Synthetic ATF

3/8" Speed Handle

3/8" drive speed handle. Retain sense of feel while inserting nuts & bolts with speed.

Inch-pound Torque Wrench

20-150 in lbs torque wrench. 1/4" drive.

Makita Drill & Driver Combo

Brushless 1/4" Impact and 1/2" Drill Combo (5.0Ah)

Disposable Shop Towels

Scott Blue Shop Towels in a Box

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