How to Change Transmission Fluid in a 1999 Toyota Camry

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Changing the transmission fluid on your 1999 Toyota Camry may seem like a difficult and extensive job, but it is actually a straightforward process that should take less than a half-hour to complete. This procedure should be done regularly to ensure that you keep your transmission running properly and efficiently. If regular fluid checks and changes are not done, you could end up with a damaged transmission that would be costly to repair.

Things You'll Need

  • Front jacks or ramps
  • Fluid drip pan
  • 3/8-inch socket wrench
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Transmission fluid filter
  • Transmission fluid, 4 to 5 qts.
  • Transmission pan gasket
  • Shop towel or paper towels
  • Funnel
  • Kitty litter and broom, if needed for spills
  • Buy a transmission filter, gasket and fluid from an auto parts store. You can look in the parts book provided on location or the auto parts employees can help provide the correct fluid, gasket and filter you that need.

  • Position your Camry onto jacks or ramps to have access to the underside of your engine. Engage the emergency brake to make sure the car does not move during this process.

  • Crawl under the engine and look for the rectangle transmission pan. There will be a drain plug next to this pan. Position the fluid drip pan under the drain plug to catch the fluid.

  • Grab your 3/8-inch socket wrench and loosen the drain plug. Allow the fluid to drain thoroughly, about 10 minutes. While you wait, fill the new filter with fluid and provide a seal on the filter gasket by dipping your finger in fluid and running it around the edges.

  • Remove all the bolts that hold the transmission pan in place, except for one bolt on each side of the pan. Loosen the four remaining bolts about halfway to allow the transmission fluid to pour out of the pan. Reposition the drip pan if you needed to catch the fluid.

  • Remove two opposing bolts on the pan when the fluid stops pouring out. Brace the transmission pan with one of your hands as you remove the last two bolts. The pan will still have fluid in it, so lower the pan carefully and allow it to drain into the drip pan.

  • Wipe the inside of the transmission pan and the magnet located on the pan with clean shop towels or paper towels. Remove the pan gasket with a plastic scraper as a metal one may scratch the surface. Position the new gasket on the pan and hold it in place with one of the bolts to prevent shifting.

  • Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the old transmission filter in place, and then flip the filter over on the drip pan to allow it to drain before disposing of it. Fill the new filter with fresh transmission fluid and provide a seal by dipping your finger in the fluid and rubbing it on the outer gasket of the filter. Attach the new filter.

  • Carefully position the cleaned pan and new gasket into place. Screw in all the bolts until they are halfway tightened, then use a back-and-forth sequence to tighten them all of the way.

  • Open the hood and secure it open. Find the red-handled transmission dipstick and remove it. Using a funnel, add three qts. of transmission fluid.

  • Turn your engine on and lower your truck off of the ramps or jacks. Let the engine idle for 5 to 10 minutes to let the fluid get warm and expand to get a correct fluid reading.

  • Check your fluid level by wiping your dipstick with a shop towel or paper towel and dip it in. You want the fluid to read at the top line. Add fluid a little at a time and keep checking until your get the appropriate reading. Replace the dipstick into the holder and lower hood.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean up and spills with kitty litter then sweep it up. Check under truck to see if there are any leaks. If there are, try tightening the transmission pan bolts a bit tighter. Dispose of oil and filter properly. Most auto parts stores will recycle them for free.

References

  • "Chilton Repair Manual: Toyota Camry 1997-2001"; The Nichols/Chilton Editors; 2003
  • Photo Credit american v8 engine image by kenmo from Fotolia.com
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