How complicated should changing manual transmission oil be?

Hi. As you would know the idea of a dipstick or level-checking utility is often not available for manual transmissions. I am hoping there is no problem and I don't want to bring in complications, but I am pretty sure my car did not get the transmission fluid changed since the original leasing owner and the 9 years we've had it. Mileage is not high. It just makes sense that contamination with gearbox components (metal shavings) could cause gradual wear.
When I was under the car to do an oil change, I noticed that identifying the transmission was that much harder than in an automatic ca
Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hi there. On many of the older Toyotas, changing manual or automatic transmission fluid wasn’t very complicated. The autos had a dipstick and the manuals used a specification of when new gear oil starts flowing out of the fill port in a 3mm wide stream.

The drain plug is usually a pretty obvious one found on the bottom of the transmission and the fill plug was the trickier one that could be on either side of the assembly. Look for a plug on the side of the transmission that matches the drain plug. Usually a 22mm bolt with a washer. The drain plug will also have a magnet attached to it that will need to be cleaned; just drain the fluid, clean the magnet, install a new washer, and reinstall the plug.

To fill the transmission, have the vehicle level, remove the fill plug and fill until a 3mm wide stream of fluid starts to run out of the fill plug hole. Then install a new washer on the fill plug and reinstall. Clean the excess and there you have it, a finished manual transmission service. On a side note, the shifter concern you noted sounds like what is called a shifter seat bushing that is worn out. To replace this, the shifter needs to be removed from the transmission and should be done by an experienced technician. YourMechanic has several available technicians that can assist you with an inspection of the shifting issue to determine the root cause of the problem and perform a transmission fluid service if needed.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

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If you drive manual, most manufacturers will recommend changing your transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles.
At a service center, a transmission fluid change usually takes around an hour. However, because each vehicle is different, a mechanic can give you the most accurate estimate.
Most manufacturers recommend that manual transmission fluid be changed every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Under heavy-duty use, such as towing or stop-and-go traffic, some manufacturers suggest changing transmission fluid every 15,000 miles.
Though changing transmission fluid can`t fix mechanical problems, it does make for smoother shifts and can extend the life of your transmission. And even when manufacturers recommend fluid change intervals of 150,000 miles under normal conditions, it may be a good idea to change it more frequently.
If you don`t replace your transmission fluid, it will break down much like engine oil and lose its lubricating and cleaning properties. This leads to high temperatures, sludge buildup, and excess friction, which can damage the internal clutches that shift the gears.
Most of the time, the level of a manual transmission is checked by placing your finger into the filler plug hole and seeing if you get some fluid onto the end of your finger. If you don`t, then the fluid is low. If there is fluid at that level, then no additional fluid is needed.
In general, transmissions take about 9 to 13 quarts to fill completely. The amount of transmission you add will vary, depending on whether you are draining or replacing it all or you are just topping it up. Again, you should avoid adding too much.
It`s advised to have the fluid changed in your transmission around every 30,000 miles. This will help keep your transmission constantly running smoothly and preserve its lifespan.
Best for Manual Transmissions—Valvoline SynPower Transmission & Differential Gear Oil. Manual vehicles often require a more viscous fluid than a typical ATF. Valvoline SynPower Transmission & Differential Gear Oil has a viscosity of 75, providing quality gear protection for a non-synchronized manual transmission.
With a flush, all the old fluid is removed by a flush machine and replaced with new fluid, allowing for optimal transmission performance. A fluid change is a drain-and-refill, with some old fluid remains in the transmission after the change, which can contaminate the new fluid — and diminish performance.
Release the clutch slowly and gently press on the accelerator. After you`ve moved the gear shift into the gear that you want, slowly release your left foot from the clutch as you gently apply pressure to the accelerator pedal. With practice, you will feel the engine change gears smoothly.
Never slip your clutch, slipping your clutch is one of the fastest ways to completely destroy your manual transmission. Cut slipping is a term for what manual drivers do when they slowly lift their foot off the pedal to engage the clutch but don`t fully engage it and they leave it hovering in a weird gray area.
Commonly, the shelf life of transmission fluids does not exceed more than 5 years from the date of manufacture. However, this period is specified for tightly closed and sealed (and stored under recommended conditions) products.

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the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

How complicated should changing manual transmission oil be?
ANSWER : Hi there. On many of the older Toyotas, changing manual or automatic transmission fluid wasn’t very complicated. The autos had a dipstick and the manuals used a specification of when new gear oil starts flowing out of the fill port in a 3mm wide stream.

The drain plug is usually a pretty obvious one found on the bottom of the transmission and the fill plug was the trickier one that could be on either side of the assembly. Look for a plug on the side of the transmission that matches the drain plug. Usually a 22mm bolt with a washer. The drain plug will also have a magnet attached to it that will need to be cleaned; just drain the fluid, clean the magnet, install a new washer, and reinstall the plug.

To fill the transmission, have the vehicle level, remove the fill plug and fill until a 3mm wide stream of fluid starts to run out of the fill plug hole. Then install a new washer on the fill plug and reinstall. Clean the excess and there you have it, a finished manual transmission service. On a side note, the shifter concern you noted sounds like what is called a shifter seat bushing that is worn out. To replace this, the shifter needs to be removed from the transmission and should be done by an experienced technician. YourMechanic has several available technicians that can assist you with an inspection of the shifting issue to determine the root cause of the problem and perform a transmission fluid service if needed.

Low oil pressure light comes on when idle. Check engine light is on as well. Both came on after getting an oil change 3 days ago.
ANSWER : It is possible that they put in the wrong viscosity oil. In rare instances, a defective filter will also cause low pressure. If there is too much oil, it will aerate and cause low pressure. Be sure the oil level is really not above "max". The P2187 code will appear if the oil fill cap is not tight but it will also appear due to a myriad of causes because that code only "generally" identifies a lean running condition. Consequently, numerous parts would have to be tested including the O2 sensor, gas cap seal, manifold air leaks, any vacuum leak anywhere including PCV and EVAP systems, exhaust leaks, and fuel system faults such as failing fuel pump, clogged filter and more. Since the car has relatively low mileage, you would not expect a failed oil pump, although the pressure sensor (or switch) could be bad. However, the occurrence of the oil pressure warning light is quite coincidental to the oil change, thus I would suggest bringing the car back and asking them to redo with a new filter and double check the viscosity of the new oil that they use. If the problem persists after that, you will have to test actual operating oil pressure (at idle for instance) as well as the oil pressure switch. Finally, if the oil pressure warning light comes on continuously, unless the warning circuit itself is malfunctioning, that means the oil pressure is too low to operate the engine without damaging it. Anytime the light comes on for more than literally an instant, you should shut down the car and thus an issue like this obviously has to be repaired.

If you’d like, a YourMechanic certified mechanic can come to your home or place of business to inspect the vehicle and perform an oil pressure light is on inspection to diagnose the vehicle and suggest potential repairs.

lost all oil pressure, replaced the oil pump, low oil sensor, oil pressure sensor, oil pan gasket,
ANSWER : The fuel pump will not stay on if you loose oil pressure. This is why it is shutting off. The loss of oil pressure may be from bad crankshaft bearings or camshaft bearings. The engine oil pan should be removed and the oil pump needs to be checked to ensure that you put in the pick up tube seal to the pump and connected the pump to the block. Then remove at least one main bearing cap and inspect the bearings for excessive wear and crankshaft damage. If you need some help with this, consider YourMechanic, as a certified technician can help diagnose the issue with your oil pressure firsthand and help you fix it accordingly.

Oil still leaking after I changed oil filter
ANSWER : Unless there is an imperfection (e.g., serious pitting or irregularities) on the engine mounting base for the filter gasket, the leak is probably not at the filter. There are other adjacent potential leak spots such as the oil pan gasket, oil pressure sending unit and so forth. If the leak is significant at all, merely thoroughly cleaning the suspect area and running the engine while looking for the leak should be sufficient. If you still can’t find the leak origin, a UV visible dye can be added to the engine oil which will then make the leak point visible using a detection light. If you want these steps performed by a certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, please request an oil leak diagnostic and the responding certified mechanic will get this taken care of for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

Type of oil and when to change
ANSWER : Oil change intervals on your vehicle are determined by the vehicle’s engine oil change monitoring system. A message on your instrument panel will alert you when it is necessary to change the oil. The change interval is based on a computer algorithm and is "duty cycle based". Consequently, the oil change interval is not fixed and will vary depending on personal driving style and drivings conditions. For example, lots of short trips will necessitate a more frequent oil change than if your driving mileage is accumulated under continuous highway driving. An engine computer keeps track of all the required data, processes the data, and then the car’s messaging system lets you know when to change the oil. With some minor caveats, as stated below, synthetic oil can be used at any time and you can switch back and forth between conventional oil and synthetics at any time. Although existing leaks may potentially leak at a somewhat greater rate when using synthetic oils versus purely mineral based (aka, "conventional" oil), the added leakage, if any, is meaningless in most seal locations and in most circumstances. The potential for a leak is due to the smaller size of the molecules in synthetic versus conventional oils. However, synthetic oil cannot possibly cause or otherwise mechanically enlarge a leak. In any event, any "distinction" in leak rate is meaningless simply because if you put synthetic oil in a car and you can see a leak from a seal, that seal was most decidedly leaking anyway with regular oil and so would have to be repaired regardless of the oil "type" you are using.

In your specific case, with a relatively newer car and low miles on the engine, this possibility of a leak probably does not exist at least for a while, although you are getting close to the time frame when just due to rubber aging (over time, not mileage related), leaks will start developing anyway. The bottom line is you can and should use synthetic oil in your circumstances due to its huge advantages in physical properties and potential to lengthen the service life of your engine and even seemingly unrelated parts such as oxygen sensors and the catalytic converter (synthetics don’t have the sulfur and other elemental contaminants that mineral oil has). Full synthetics will be less subject to degradation and evaporation during the oil service interval, too. I would recommend you use "100% synthetic oil". If it were my car I would use the most expensive, highest rated synthetic oil I could find. Changing your oil removes dirt and contaminants and newer cars with all sort of oil actuated mechanisms, such as variable valve timing, need very clean oil. YourMechanic offers oil and filter changes during mobile visits right to your location and you should certainly avail yourself of that service as the cost is lower and the service is much more personalized than at a shop or dealer. If you have additional concerns, don’t hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic.

My car is leaking oil i got an oil change for it last month but it is still leaking oil what will cause my car to leak oil ?
ANSWER : Most older cars have oil leaks. Sealing technology has just not kept up with mechanical improvements to engines so much so that leaks often kill engines rather than mechanical problems. So, it is not unexpected at all to have an, indeed many, oil leaks on a 23 year old car. Oil leaks vary hugely in terms of severity and priority of repair. Oil leaking onto a hot engine manifold is the worst case (the oil can start a fire; at best, you are left breathing oil fumes in the cabin, as the oil burns off of the manifold) while de minimus seepage of oil at the oil drain plug or oil pan gasket, while annoying and messy, if limited enough is not an emergency. Some leaks are easy to repair, while others literally require the engine to be removed just to get physical access to all the leak points. In your circumstance, if you smell burning oil, oil is probably leaking onto a hot engine part such as the exhaust manifold. A certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, can perform an oil leak diagnostic and then let you know of your repair options and costs.

As far as the check engine light, that is not related to the oil leak(s). If you request a check engine light diagnostic, a certified mechanic from YourMechanic would use a code scanner to retrieve the specific diagnostic trouble code(s) from your car’s PCM that have caused the check engine light to illuminate. Using those codes, the appropriate individual vehicle components or sub-systems (often a sensor, circuit, and the like) are then carefully tested, based on specifications set forth in your car’s Factory Service Manual, to pinpoint the cause of the fault or the reason why the check engine light has illuminated. Once the faulty part or component is identified, it is explained to your satisfaction and the mechanic will let you know of the cost to repair. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

Just noticed a huge oil leak trailing my car. It seems to be coming from below the engine. I recently had my oil changed a month
ANSWER : You might have a problem with the oil filter leaking when you rev the engine and increase the oil pressure. This can be from a collapsed oil filter media or excessive oil pressure from the engine. I recommend having the oil and filter replaced using a good quality filter and have the oil leak verified to be from the filter. Make sure to not run the engine low on oil. If you are finding you do not want to drive with the leak, a mobile technician from YourMechanic can come to your home or office, and replace both your filter, and oil.

Would the car tell the percentage of the life of the oil, my car includes oil changes but the dealer won’t do it until the indicator shows the change oil soon message.
ANSWER : Hi there. There should be a select button with two directional arrows on the button. Push and hold the right directional arrow on the button and the dash should go from the odometer to the menu. Then scroll up by pushing up on the select button and you will be able to view the oil life percentage.