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.
If your Toyota Tundra automatic transmission is equipped with the dipstick, then you’ll need to follow this set of instructions.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.)
- Start by heading underneath your Tundra with an oil pan for spillage. Remove the overflow plug, a small plug marked “CHECK.”
- 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.
- To refill, reinsert the overflow plug and stop the engine. You will notice a refill plug, on the side of the transmission.
- 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.
- 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).