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Changing Transaxle Fluid In Rx 350


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I recently took our 2008 RX350 to a jiffy Lube for service. It has 98,000 miles on it. I had asked that the Transmission and transaxle fluid be changed. After a while the service guy told me that it was a dealer only job. He said something about having to drop the exhaust system to replace the Transaxle fluid. Does this make sense or was he just blowing smoke (pun intended). Could it be that Lexus/Toyota uses lubricants that are unique to their brand?

We bought our RX 350 with $70, 000 miles on it and are unaware of its previous service history. We want to maintain it, but don't want to spend money needlessly. Any suggestions?

BTW, we have found that if you take your Lexus to a Toyota dealer, repair/maintenance costs are about 30% less that the Lexus Dealership.

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First of all..."hats off" to a Jiffy Lube employee telling you to have the dealer do it. He could've probably faked it or worse, attempted something that neither he/she nor their techs are qualified to do...especially on a $40k+ vehicle.

I worked at a "Valvoline Instant Oil Change" (training to be a service center manager) for 2 months back in '01-'02, and while I only worked there for that short period of time, I saw enough "up-selling" and flat out UNNECESSARY selling and careless servicing of vehicles, I would rather let my vehicles go TWICE the recommended service interval than take them to a "quick-lube" place of ANY brand!

I service my vehicles myself, but if I were going to take my wife's Lexus ANYWHERE to let someone else service it, it would be our local Toyota dealer, for two reasons - the more reasonable fees that you pointed out, and it's 5 minutes from our house vs 90 miles to the nearest Lexus dealer.

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my 07 RX 350 has a "lifetime " fluid in the tranny. There is not a service interval that is recommended by Lexus. Take that for what it is worth. To have it changed you must go to dealer, it is a very exact process. Not sure about the transaxle but your mileage seems low to worry much about it

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  • 2 weeks later...

Transmission fluid deteriorates exponentially with heat. Fortunately the RX-350 has a transmission fluid cooler which keeps the temperature down. Unless you tow up hills on very hot days, you probably never have to change it.

Terry, I completely understand your desire to spend some money to insure that your vehicle is reliable, especially if you bought it used. However, some vehicles, like the RX-350 are so well built that if you follow the basic maintenance schedule (primarily engine oil change, filter changes, etc.), check fluid levels (including transaxle occasionally), and pass inspection, you really don't have anything to worry about.

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Personally I would get the fluid changed, My RX400h was purchased with 80k miles and I decided to change the fluid. It was almost brown in color showing a lot of debris. When I was done it was pristine red which is what WS fluid looks like new. There is no such thing as lifetime fluid when you consider that gears, band belt friction materials etc are inside that transmission. They wear and the longevity of the transmission is dependent on good quality fluid. Lifetime is a sales pitch and if you believe that than I have a bridge for sale. And yes Toyota dealerships are a great alternative.

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