Reader Question: I have a 1995 Toyota Camry that I acquired from someone else. I have no idea when the car had been maintained. But I was told by a mechanic that at this point, since the car has 180,000 miles and the oils have not been changed regularly (besides the oil changes) do not change them now because if it is replaced, the car will not function properly and it will cause major problems.
I just had an oil change and was told that the transmission fluid is severely burnt and the dealer can smell it and so can I and that the dealer suggest that it needs to be changed. I want to have it changed soon, but am not sure whether it will damage the car.
What is your opinion?
You should always change the engine oil and filter regardless of its history. Changing the transmission on an older vehicle that has not had routine transmission fluid changes can be risky and usually does more harm than good.
If the fluid smells burnt, internal damage has already been done so changing the transmission fluid really wont help much now, but could cause the transmission to start slipping once this clean new slick transmission fluid is added. I would change the engine oil, filter every 3,000 miles, and leave the transmission alone.