Toyota Tacoma: How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid

Replacing the transmission fluid is one way to ensure your gearbox stays safe. Read on to learn how to do it on the Toyota Tacoma.

By Bassem Girgis - February 4, 2016

This article applies to the Toyota Tacoma (1996-2015).

As you start racking up miles on your Toyota Tacoma, maintenance becomes increasingly important. Although the transmission fluid doesn't need to be replaced for a long time, as you go over the 100,000 mile mark, every bit of maintenance will make a difference in your truck. If you don't remember ever replacing your transmission fluid, maybe now is the time. There are three plugs to identify on your Tacoma's transmission before you start. Identify the refill plug, the drain pug, and the overflow plug. The overflow plug works as your dipstick, so fill the transmission with fluid until oil starts overflowing from that plug. Read on to learn how to replace the transmission fluid on your Toyota Tacoma.

Toyota Tacoma How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid

Materials Needed

  • Socket set (15/16, 9/16, and 3/18)
  • Funnel
  • Drain pan
  • Transmission fluid

Step 1 – Unplug refill and overflow plugs

Locate both the fill plug and the overflow plug, then remove them. You can find the refill plug by following the driveshaft, you will find it on the side of the transmission. On the bottom of the transmission pan, you will find two bolts; the one on the flat part of the pan is the drain plug, while the one that is in a groove, higher than the other plug, is the overflow plug. Remove the overflow plug.

  • Toyota Tacoma fill plug on the right of transmission
    Figure 1. Remove fill plug on the right.
  • Removing transmission fluid overflow plug
    Figure 2. Remove overflow plug.

Step 2 – Drain transmission

Place the drain pan under the transmission's drain plug, then loosen it slowly. Remove it and drain the transmission. When the transmission is done draining, install the drain plug back in place and don't over-tighten.

  • Transmission drain plug
    Figure 3. Transmission drain plug.
  • Draining transmission
    Figure 4. Drain transmission.

Step 3 – Fill transmission

Place the funnel you have in the fill hole. Fill the transmission with fluid until it starts dripping from the overflow hole. The Tacoma takes about a quart and a half of transmission fluid. Tighten both the overflow and the refill plug; don't over-tighten.

Figure 5. Use funnel to fill transmission.

Featured Video: How to Change Transmission Fluid

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