Change Automatic Transmission Fluid and Filter

Toyota RAV4 Limited V6 2007: Change Automatic Transmission Fluid and Filter


This project took me about 3 hours but that includes the wasted time going to the auto parts store to get the proper filter as well as taking notes and pictures. It’s not a difficult job, but there are some annoying moments.

Tools and Parts

  • Drain Pan
  • Funnel
  • Drop Cloth
  • 10mm Offset Box Wrench
  • 10mm 3/8″ Socket
  • 10mm Hex Socket
  • Socket Wrench
  • 6″ Extension for 3/8″ Socket Wrench
  • 3/8″ Breaker Bar
  • 3/8″ Torque Wrench
  • 4 Quarts Toyota Genuine ATF WS (ATFJWS3324 or NWS9638)
  • New Filter with Gasket and O-Ring (Note: there are two similar but different filters for the RAV4. My 2007 RAV4 V6 3.5L AWD has the U151F transmission. The Beck Arnley 044-0331 filter is appropriate for this vehicle. The Beck Arnley 044-0316 is NOT the right filter for this vehicle. Unfortunately, I did not find that out until after I dropped the pan.)


Review the General Automotive Tips first.


  • Set out gasket in advance to flatten out. Put something heavy on it to help the process
  • Loosen lug nuts 1/2 turn on driver side front wheel (do not remove)
  • Jack up vehicle
  • Remove driver side front wheel
  • Remove plastic underneath the front of the vehicle and from driver side wheel well
  • Locate ATF drain plug. Place drop cloth and pan underneath drain plug. Pictures below show drain plug and pan

ATF Drain Plug View IMG_7618 ATF Drain Plug View IMG_7617 ATF Drain Plug View IMG_7613

  • Remove the drain plug using the 10mm Hex socket and breaker bar
  • While the fluid is draining out, start working on removing the 18 bolts from the cover. 3 of them are located under the driver’s side cross member support. Some sites recommend removing this driver side support, but the cover can be dropped without removing it. Here are some shots of the PITA support

Front Crossmember IMG_7769 Front Crossmember IMG_7768 Front Crossmember IMG_7625 Front Crossmember IMG_7624 Front Crossmember IMG_7620 Front Crossmember IMG_7619Blocked Bolts IMG_7623 Blocked Bolts IMG_7622

  • Start with the 3 bolts blocked by the cross member support because they are annoying and it takes about as long to remove these 3 as it does to remove the other 15. Two of them are accessible from the driver side wheel well, the third (rear most, driver side) is best attacked from under the vehicle. The 10mm offset box wrench is the best tool I’ve found for the job. See shots below for some ideas

Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7725 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7778 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7777 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7776 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7775 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7774 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7773 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7737 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7736 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7735 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7734 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7733 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7732 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7731 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7730 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7729 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7728 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7727 Wrench on difficult bolts IMG_7726

  • Once the 3 tough ones are done, the remaining bolts can be removed with a 10mm socket, extension, and socket wrench. Loosen all the bolts a few turns. Then start removing the bolts closest to the drain plug and work around in both directions of the cover. This will cause the cover to slowly droop toward the drain and fluid will hopefully drain out into the collection pan. Be careful not to drop the bolts into the collection pan full of ATF. I do this every time…
  • Once all the bolts are removed, pull the cover out and remove the old gasket
  • Clean the cover and magnets and put them back in their original location. Here are some before and after shots for my cover, magnets, and drain plug

Dirty Pan and Magnets IMG_7741Dirty Pan and Magnets IMG_7738

Dirty Pan and Magnets IMG_7740 Dirty Pan and Magnets IMG_7739Clean Pan and Magnets IMG_7742 Clean Pan and Magnets IMG_7748 Clean Pan and Magnets IMG_7747 Clean Pan and Magnets IMG_7743Clean Pan and Magnets IMG_7746Clean Drain Plug IMG_7765 Clean Drain Plug IMG_7762

  • Remove the old filter by removing 3 bolts with the 10mm socket and wrench

Old Filter IMG_7749 Old Filter IMG_7751 Old Filter IMG_7750

  • And then remove the old O-Ring (sometimes the O-Ring comes out with the old filter)

Old O-Ring IMG_7753


  • Coat the new O-ring with fresh ATF and install it. Make sure that the O-ring is not twisted or pinched
  • Install the new filter, apply fresh ATF to the bolts, and tighten the bolts. 3 x 10mm bolts @ 11 N*m (112 kgf*cm, 8 ft.*lbf)

New Filter IMG_7756 New Filter IMG_7758 New Filter IMG_7757

  • Completely remove any oil or grease from the contact surface of the case and the oil pan
  • Place the new gasket over the pan and put the bolts in place. The gasket should keep them from falling out. Try to push the bolts as far through the gasket as possible to make it easier to line of the threads later

Clean Pan with Gasket IMG_7755 Clean Pan with Gasket IMG_7754Clean Pan with Gasket IMG_7760Clean Pan with Gasket IMG_7759

  • Install the pan and work some magic to get all of the bolts installed and tight. Start with the corners of the pan and then tackle the three tough ones. It will be tough getting them started. It may help to use a finger or tool to push at the bottom of the bolt while trying to tighten with the wrench. Alternate from front to back, left to right, and lightly tighten each bolt. Once everything is lightly tightened, go back and revisit each bolt. Don’t over tighten the bolts, these are basically just beyond finger tight. 18 x 10mm bolts @ 7.8 N*m (80 kgf*cm, 69 in.*lbf)
  • Install the drain plug. The gasket on plug should be replaced but this is one of the things I skip for some reason. It’s $1 and I should just do it… 1 x 10mm Hex Drain Plug @ 47 N*m (479 kgf*cm, 35 ft.*lbf)

Drain Plug View IMG_7767

  • Use a funnel and add 3.5 quarts of the new transmission fluid through the dipstick tube. The official capacity is 3.7 quarts (3.5 L)

ATF Dip Stick IMG_7626 ATF Dip Stick IMG_7629 ATF Dip Stick IMG_7627

  • Reinstall plastic covers on the side wheel well and underneath the vehicle
  • Reinstall wheel
  • Lower vehicle from jack stands
  • Tighten lug nuts on wheel

Checking Fluid Level

  • Drive the vehicle so that the engine and transaxle are at normal operating temperature
  • Park the vehicle on a level surface and set the parking brake
  • With the engine idling and the brake pedal depressed, move the shift lever to each position from the P to L position, and return it to the P position
  • Take out the dipstick and wipe it clean
  • Fully push the dipstick back into the pipe
  • Take the dipstick out and check that the fluid level is in the HOT range
  • If the level is not in the HOT range, add ATF fluid. Pay attention closely and do not overfill
  • Repeat this procedure several times to ensure the proper level of fluid is reached

References and Thanks

There is a lot of great information that others have already posted. Thanks to all those at RAV4 World for their work documenting the process

Notes from RAV4 World

These paths are for my own reference (formal maintenance docs).