Check and Adjust ATF Level (Toyota Tundra)

As you know, something that is the case with most car maintenance projects, there may be more than one way to accomplish your task, depending on the make and model, and even version, of your vehicle. This is how it is for checking the automatic transmission fluid (ATF) level on your Toyota Tundra and adjusting it as necessary. There are two ways that you can check and adjust your ATF, and depending on your set up, then we have two ways to make it happen. It all depends on if your Toyota Tundra, depending on year, whether or not the automatic transmission has a dipstick or not. Let us take a look at both ways, and see which one is for you.

Dipstick

If your Toyota Tundra automatic transmission is equipped with the dipstick, then you’ll need to follow this set of instructions.

  1. To do it this way, begin by setting your vehicle on a level surface. Start the engine and let it idle, waiting for your engine to increase in temperature.
  2. Initiate the parking brake during this process so you can cycle through the gears. Shift into the different gear positions, from P to L, and then finally go back to P.
  3. Now that you have cycled through the gears, you can begin the ATF check on your Toyota Tundra. Pulling out the dipstick, use a clean rag to wipe the dipstick.
  4. After it has been cleaned, reinsert it into the tube, and pull it back out. Look to see if the fluid is in the HOT segment, while you have it running at normal temperatures.

HINT: If you are driving high speeds for a long period of time, driving in hot weather, driving in heavy traffic, or driving with a trailer attached, then that could mess with your dipstick measurement. Be sure to check the transmission after the car has had a little time to cool down, back to normal running temperatures.

  1. If you need to add more, now is the time to do it. Add 0.4 ℓ of new ATF, via the dipstick tube, and recheck the fluid level. It is important not to overfill an automatic transmission, as this can lead to leaks, foaming, and transmission malfunction.

No Dipstick

If your Toyota Tundra automatic transmission is not equipped with a dipstick, then you’ll need to follow this set of instructions. Do not forget to put the car in park. Because this way is completed from underneath the Tundra, and so it is especially important to double check the parking brake, before heading down below. Wheel chocks are a good safety consideration.

  1. To check the ATF this way, your Toyota Tundra should be level and the engine should be. The ATF temperature needs to be between 115 °F and 130 °F for accurate results.

You can verify temperature by putting a short pin in DLC3, the OBDII data link connector. With your foot on the brake, shift back and forth between “D” and “N” every 1.5 seconds. After 6 seconds, or four or five shifts, the “D” indicator will stay lit for two seconds and then go out, indicating that ATF temperature check mode has been initiated. Put the shifter back in “P,” leave the engine idling, and wait for the “D” indicator to come on again, when temperature reaches 115 °F. Proceed to step two. (NOTE: If the “D” indicator starts to blink, this means that the temperature has exceeded 130 °F. You will have to turn the truck off and let it cool off before checking again.)

  1. Start by heading underneath your Tundra with an oil pan for spillage. Remove the overflow plug, a small plug marked “CHECK.”
  2. If you notice that the ATF is coming out the overflow tube, then that is a good sign. It means that there is a lot of ATF in there still. Let that oil flow down to a trickle, then install the overflow plug with a new gasket and you are set. If you see that no fluid is coming out, you will need to add ATF to reach the proper level.
  3. To refill, reinsert the overflow plug and stop the engine. You will notice a refill plug, on the side of the transmission.
  4. Add 0.4 ℓ of ATF, replace the fill plug, then start the truck. Reinitiate the ATF temperature check mode, described in step one. Let the engine idle.
  5. Check the ATF level again, starting at step two, removing the overflow plug, seeing if it will drain out the overflow tube, etc. If it comes out, follow the previous steps again, only also adding a new gasket for the refill plug too.

Depending on the automatic transmission your Toyota Tundra is equipped with, there are two completely different ways of checking and adjusting ATF level, but they are both relatively easy, with simple steps. Make sure to always use the ATF type specified in the manual for your vehicle. Generally speaking, Toyota Tundra dipstick transmissions use Toyota ATF Type T-IV, and check-plug transmissions use Toyota ATF WS (World Standard).

Replace a Radiator Hose the Right Way

Electrochemical degradation (ECD) sounds pretty daunting, and it could happen to you, or at least to your car. The truth is, while it is something that could happen to your radiator hoses, it is also something you can fix. The way ECD works is that the radiator hose, the engine coolant, and the radiator fittings create a sort of battery, which can cause microscopic cracks in the inner tube of the radiator hose. This makes it possible for the engine coolant to weaken the radiator hose’s chemical and physical structure, weakening it. This is clearly a bad thing but, with this DIY guide helping you out, you can fix it like a pro and have your engine coolant flowing the way it should be, once again.

  • As with all DIY auto repair projects, you will want to gather the necessary tools, and have them ready for the upcoming work. In this particular project, you will need a screwdriver, a sharp knife, tin snips, a wire brush, and perhaps a heat gun, depending on the clamp used.
  • Once you have all your tools ready to go, it’s time to begin the replacement process. You can do this by confirming that ECD has affected your radiator hose. You can do this by first allowing or ensuring your engine is cool. Then, use your fingers and thumb to check the hose for any weak spots in it. If you squeeze near the hose clamps, you should be able to see if ECD is affecting it or not by checking for any minor gaps from it being weakened. The feeling towards the middle of the hose will be different than near the clamps if ECD has occurred. They will feel soft and weak and then you will be absolutely sure that ECD has affected your radiator hose. Swollen parts of the hose, when the engine is at operating temperature, are another good indicator.
  • To start, you are going to remove the radiator hose. To do this, make sure you have drained the engine coolant to below wherever you are working at. Removing the hose should be relatively easy, once you have removed the clamps. Understandably, some hoses can stick to the fitting and/or the hose clamp can become rusted. In this case you will need to use the tin snips to cut the clamp off and use the knife to cut the hose. Do not try to force the hose off as this could damage the fitting, especially plastic fittings found on many new engines. Once the radiator hose is out of the way, check the fittings. Ensure there are no bursts or sharp edges that could damage the new radiator hose’s inner tube. You can even clean the fitting off with a wire brush.
  • You should add the new clamp, or the old one if it’s still in good condition, to the hose end, then slide the hose onto the fitting. We always recommend using new clamps to avoid future issues. There’s no reason to cheap out on such an inexpensive part of the job.
  • Be sure to push the hose far past the fitting edge, and then slide the clamp between the edge of the fitting and the end of the radiator hose. Check to see that the tightening part of the clamp is easy to reach.
  • If the hose is not an exact OEM fit, then a little bending may occur. This is alright, but only if it does not pinch or kink the hose.
  • Once you are all set, go ahead and tighten the radiator hose clamp.
  • Now that the hose is attached, you may refill with engine coolant, either using your previous product or adding new, and then start your engine. Once it is heated up, you may need to add more.
  • Now check there are no leaks and you are good to go!

ECD may sound like a scary thing, but with this guide, and your DIY prowess, you will be well on your way to changing your radiator hose like a true pro!

What Kind of Brake Pads Should You Choose?

Whether you own a Bugatti Veyron or a 71’ beat-up pick-up truck, the one equalizer of all car classes is brake pads. There is no vehicle that can survive without them and there is no vehicle that wouldn’t be in serious danger if the brake pads wear out without the owner’s knowledge. However, though brake pads in general may equalize different drivers and their cars, if you look into the details of the different kinds of brake pads you will see the great contrast between different vehicles and their needs.

What are these differences within the brake pad selection that can affect your choice when you decide to get new brake pads? What kind of brake pads best suit you and your vehicle? Let us take a look at what kind of brake pads are out there and what type of driver, vehicle, and style, they are designed for.

Factory Brake Pads

First, we will look at the OEM [Original Equipment Manufacturer] brake pads, those that came with the car or that you bought at the dealership to replace worn-out pads.

The OEM brake pads that were made for your vehicle can be described as basically average. The wear, the performance, and the dust from these brake pads are simply regular. There is nothing particularly special with these pads but also there is not really any specific detriment that they cause either.

In that case, why would you not just use these brake pads on your vehicle? Even though the OEM brake pads are the default pads for a vehicle, drivers and vehicles can be considered anything but default. Different styles of driving and different types of vehicles causes a necessary variety between brake pads and therefore, default may not work for everyone.

Soft Brake Pads

We have established that brake pads need to have different features to lend themselves to the different personalities of cars and drivers out there and so now let us look at our Second type of brake pads. Soft brake pads are designed for high-performance vehicles that need to stop quickly and with little effort. They also are very quiet which can make it more of a comfortable ride as well.

While this sounds perfect for any vehicle, the problems that come with a soft brake pad may repudiate some drivers. For example, the cost of performance is the loss of durability. Soft brake pads wear out very quickly, which can lead to other problems with the rotors, if you don’t pay attention to them. Also, replacing them consistently can add up money-wise, which is a strong detractor as well. Understandably, most high-performance vehicle owners don’t mind spending a little more for high-performance brake pads so the money issue may not be a problem. However, the other negative factor of soft brake pads is the amount of dust they create. Dust can be both annoying and cosmetically detrimental if left uncleaned.

Hard Brake Pads

The Third brake pad type we will be looking at is hard brake pads. These can be noisy, even if working correctly, and more importantly, they increase stopping distance compared to other kinds. If you do choose hard brake pads, the details of hard brake pads must be taken into consideration when you stop your car. Give yourself more time and room to brake, or it could lead to fender-benders and accidents.

The benefits of hard brakes are essentially the opposite of the downfalls of the soft brake pads. Hard brake pads last longer than soft ones, which can make your wallet happy, and they generate far less dust.

Choose Wisely

As you can see, there are benefits and detriments to each kind of brake pad. Choosing which brake pad depends fully on what positives you prefer for your vehicle, and are ok dealing with the negatives that follow.