What ATF/CVTF to use for Toyota?
(interchangeability of Dexron, Type T and other fluids) v.3.2

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Apr 2003 - Apr 2021

Introducing an updated version of our article dedicated to the interchangeability of different ATF types. It takes into account changes of transmissions and oils occurred in recent years and changes in logistics. Let's start with the answer to the question posed in the title, and then look through the main Toyota transmission fluids.

RecommendedAcceptable to use, based on experience
D-IIany ATF meets Dexron II / III specifications
Type Tany ATF meets Dexron II / III specifications
Type T-IIany ATF meets JWS 3309 specification or Dexron II / III
Type T-IIIT-IV or any ATF meets JWS 3309 specification
Type T-IVT-IV or any ATF meets JWS 3309 specification
WSWS or any ATF meets JWS 3324 specification
TCTC or any CVTF meets JWS 3320 specification
FEFE, TC or any CVTF meets JWS 3401 specification

P/N: 08886-00305 (4L), 08886-00306 (1L), 08886-81006 (1L)
Specification: JWS 2318K

Density, at 15°C0.866
Flash point, °C185
Boiling point, °C316
Pour point, °C-40
Viscosity, at 40°C, cSt35.1
Viscosity, at 100°C, cSt7.1

ATF specification for japanese domestic market models since 1980s (transmission series A13#, A24#, A54# , A4#, A34#, A44# etc.). At all overseas markets for the same models should be used any Dexron II / III (without mentioning the "D-II").

There is no technical meaning to use exactly this fluid. Any ATF meets Dexron II or III specs should be used.

P/N: 08886-01605 (4L), 08886-80506 (1L)

Density, at 15°C0.861
Flash point, °C156
Boiling point, °C-
Pour point, °C-
Viscosity, at 40°C, cSt32.3
Viscosity, at 100°C, cSt7.0

This fluid is not mentioned in car repair or maintenance manuals because it appeared much later after end of production of models with the classic transmissions. Available at all markets as the genuine replacement of the obsolete D-II.

There is no technical meaning to use exactly this fluid, but in some conditions D-III may be more easy available and more cost-effective than other ATF.

ATF Type T
P/N: 08886-00405 (4L)

Density, at 15°C0.870
Flash point, °C186
Boiling point, °C-
Pour point, °C-55
Viscosity, at 40°C, cSt32.4
Viscosity, at 100°C, cSt7.4

Used in 1988-2002 for all-wheel-drive automatic transmissions A241H and A540H to improve center differential lock coupling operation.

Available at domestic market till now. At overseas markets Type T-IV is semi-officially considered as substite for Type T (by TSB 1999), but at the T-IV canister explicitly stated - "not recommended for AT where Dexron II/III or Type T are required".

Long-term local experience has shown that these transmissions work well using ordinary Dexron type ATF without any degradation of all-wheel drive performance.

The market proposal of Type T is too small and there is no sense to seek and purchase exactly this fluid. Using Type T-IV as substite may cause damage of old enough transmissions, so it is best to use less aggressive fluids meet Dexron IID or IIIF specs.

Used in 1990-1997 for some electronically controlled ATs (series A34# at FR sedans, for example). Officially replaced with T-IV.
In practice - successfully replaced with any traditional ATF. Using Type T-IV as substite may cause damage of old enough transmissions, so it is best to use less aggressive fluids meet Dexron II or III specs.

Used in 1994-1998 for some ATs with Flex-Lock-Up (some A34#, A35#, A541E, A245E). Officially replaced with T-IV.

P/N: 08886-82025 (5L Euro), 08886-81015/01705 (4L), 08886-81016 (1L), 00279-000T4 (1q USA)
Specification: JWS 3309

Density, at 15°C0.852
Flash point, °C185
Boiling point, °C316
Pour point, °C-48
Viscosity, at 40°C, cSt34.0
Viscosity, at 100°C, cSt7.3

Main specification for 4/5-speed Aisin AT introduced since 1997 (U44#, U34#, U24#, U14#, early U15#, A65#, later A24# E, A34#).

At the beginning of the 2000s, instead of T-IV (rare and expensive at local market at that time), traditional Dexron III was successfully used here. Later, independent manufacturers established of production of 3309 spec ATF and multi-ATFs. Then, import of the genuine T-IV significantly increased, and as a result it has become the most accessible and cheap ATF meet 3309 spec - so owners of other cars with the similar Aisin AT purchased it instead own genuine ATF (Audi, Chevrolet, Daewoo, Fiat, Ford, Mazda, Opel, Porsche, PSA, Renault, Saab, Suzuki, VW, Volvo etc).

Using of Dexron spec ATF instead of T-IV does not entail negative consequences, but nowtime it is not reasonable. Equally true solutions - to use the genuine Type T-IV or any ATF meets JWS 3309 specification - depending on the circumstances.

P/N: 08886-02305 (4L), 08886-00289 (1q USA), 08886-81210 (1L Euro)
Specification: JWS 3324

Density, at 15°C0.850
Flash point, °C175
Boiling point, °C316
Pour point, °C-
Viscosity, at 40°C, cSt23.0
Viscosity, at 100°C, cSt5.5

The main specification since 2004, used for 5/6/8/10-speed transmissions (series U15#, U66#, U76#, A75#, A76#, A96#, AA8#, AB6#, UB8#, AGA#). This is substantially less viscous fluid compared to previous T-IV.

The market proposal of WS is sufficient. Equally true solutions - to use the genuine WS or any ATF meets JWS 3324 specification - depending on the circumstances.

CVT Fluid TC
P/N: 08886-02105 (4L)
Specification: JWS 3320

Density, at 15°C0.850
Flash point, °C175
Boiling point, °C316
Pour point, °C-50
Viscosity, at 40°C, cSt30.0
Viscosity, at 100°C, cSt7.3

Together with the first Toyota/Aisin CVT, the first special fluid for CVT was introduced in 2000.

It is optimal to use genuine TC fluid. Also possible to use any fluid meets JWS 3320 specification. Possible to use multi-CVTF if urgent.

CVT Fluid FE
P/N: 08886-02505 (4L), 08886-81390 (5L Euro)
Specification: JWS 3401

Density, at 15°C0.840
Flash point, °C175
Boiling point, °C316
Pour point, °C-45
Viscosity, at 40°C, cSt22.4
Viscosity, at 100°C, cSt5.2

Since 2012 there was a gradual transition of all CVTs to new "energy-saving" FE fluid (significantly lower viscosity and less useful additives).

It is optimal to use genuine FE fluid. Possible to use multi-CVTF if urgent.

"Why do you write about this now? Today everyone can buy the genuine oil"
Firstly, it is not so easy to buy an original transmission fluid in some parts of the world. Especially if the car manufacturer declares that the ATF/CVTF is filled for lifetime.
Secondly, authorized dealers and traders often substitute the advice "genuine fluids are preferred" with categorical "genuine fluids only". It is impossible to agree with this gross manipulation.

"Why are GM and Dexron taken as a reference?"
Today, the GM-Ford joint venture for transmissions is on the sidelines of life and deep in the shadow of the world's transmission giants - Aisin, ZF, HPT, Jatco... Nevertheless, it was GM that pioneered the mass-market of automatic transmissions, the world's largest OEM supplier of ATs, and their fluid specification has become synonymous with "ATF" for long years.

"What about universal/multi fluids?"
A good example of how the manufacturer of "Toyota" transmissions itself relates to the idea of a narrow specialized fluids - produced under the "Aisin" brand AFW + as an alternative to all ATFs from D-II to WS (as well as many genuine ATFs of other brands) and CFEx as an alternative to all CVTFs including TC and FE.

Today it is becoming a trend: one fluid - for all gearboxes, another - for all CVTs, absolute backward compatibility with early types (some oil manufacturers support the division of fluids into medium and low viscosity).
Of course, we in every possible way welcome such an official confirmation of our words, said more than ten years ago about the interchangeability of ATF. But let's try not to forget one more important principle - "leave well enough alone" - for properly operating transmissions of 10-20-30 years of age, it is best to continue to use the same fluid that was used there before.

"What about replacement intervals?"
Yeah, it would be appropriate to recall not only "what", but also "when". However, since the beginning of the modern AT-era the answer has not changed: every 30-40.000 km it is worth making at least a partial replacement (renewal) of the fluid, every 80-120.000 km - a replacement with cleaning of the sump, magnets and filter replacement. Better yet, not just "renew" the fluid, but change it by displacement (using special equipment connected through the cooler hoses, that supplies fresh and drains old fluid while the engine is running - allow to flush hydrulic lines and torque converter).
Since 2000s, many new transmissions lost a dipsticks, and the recommended intervals for ATF replacement disappeared from the manuals (and concept "fluid is filled for the entire service life of the car" appeared). Officially, it is proposed to check the condition of the fluid every 40.000 km, and replace it after 80.000 km under particularly severe conditions only. Literal adherence to such recommendations will destroy the transmission, especially a modern one, at the second hundred thousand kilometers already. Therefore, for a long and trouble-free operation, it is better to perform the traditional "40 t.km" ATF replacement even for the newest cars.
It is also worth remembering that for modern gearboxes and variators without dipsticks, it is especially important to follow the procedure for replacing and adjusting the level of the fluid.

"What did the manufacturer recommend for my box (A541E, A340H, A245E)?"
The exact recommendations of the manufacturer can be called, knowing not only the name of the transmission, but also the model and year of a particular car. Firstly, several ATs of slightly different designs had the same Toyota designations. Secondly, the recommendations periodically changed even during for the single generation of a model.

"What is flex lock-up?"
Since mid-1990s, Aisin automatic transmissions obtained a "partial lock-up" mode (FLU - Flex Lock Up) for torque converter. Previously, torque converters worked in two modes - either with the transmission of torque from the engine only through the fluid, or in a full locking mode, when the crankshaft, converter case and the input shaft are tightly connected by a friction clutch and the torque is transmitted mechanically like through a traditional clutch. In AT with partial lock-up there is an intermediate mode in which the clutch can slip during the transmission of force. At first, partial locking used for light loads and in a rather narrow speed range, but in order to increase fuel efficiency and improve dynamics, full and partial lock-up modes for modern AT began to be used more and more often.
Of course, FLU is not a Japanese know-how, therefore, since the development of the Dexron III specification, the requirements for AT with partial locking have been taken into account.

"If you fill Dexron instead of T-IV, there will be jerks?"
When filling any fresh liquid, even the genuine one, some changes in the behavior of the AT are possible, and not always positive ones. Fresh ATF always differs from the old in its chemical/physical properties (moreover, even more than the difference between two different types of fresh fluid), and in its own way affects the AT operation, which has already "adapted" to the old ATF.
In our practice, no differences were noted in the behavior of normal ATs when other ATFs were used instead of T-IV (even without 3309 spec).

"Where can I find the viscosity of the genuine fluid?"
On the main Toyota site, safety data sheets for all genuine materials, from paints and oils to antifreezes and fragrances, have been stored for a long time.

"What is the most correct part number for genuine Type T-IV?"
The genuine Toyota ATF can take a variety of external shapes: a metal "Japanese" can (black, white, gray), a black plastic "US" bottle, a gray plastic "European" can... do not try to find the single proper version.

"Type T can be officially replaced with Type T-IV"
On the one hand, in June'1998 Toyota released service bulletin TC003-98 for the American market, according to which the new ATF Type T-IV completely replaced the previous T-II and T-III, but did not replace Type T.

But already in May'1999, an updated TSB TC003-99 bulletin was released, according to which the T-IV was now a universal alternative for the Type T.

On the other hand, in the technical documentation for the domestic market, substitutes for the Type T were never provided, and on the original metal cans of Type T-IV is still printed in Japanese and English "it is not recommended to use... instead of Type T".

Which option is more correct? The first and last export model with a transmission that used Type T fluid was the RAV4 SXA10 (for which these bulletins appeared), but in Japan in 1988-2002 almost two dozen different models were produced with A241H and A540H. Therefore, in matters of operation of the all-wheel drive, the practices of the domestic market deserve more confidence. And today we can add - if Japanese Toyota HQ officially recognized the replacement of Type T, it would not have traded this fluid till 2020s, but immediately dismissed it as T-II, T-III and other oils with really outdated specifications.

"Can I use WS instead of T-IV?"
If we were talking about AT that have just come off the assembly line of the second half of the 2000s, then such an option would look quite acceptable. However, it lools like inappropriate with regard to the already sufficiently older AT.

"Well, after all, would this non-genuine oil suit me personally? On the can it is written about the conformity of Toyota"
We are not supported by some brand, so we refrain from listing the acceptable analogs or approving a specific choice and prefer only note with some degree of abstraction:
- first of all, it is worth considering the products of the traditional Toyota partner and manufacturer of most of genuine oils;

- secondly - multi-fluids of classic brands (which do not need advertising);

- thirdly - this mainly concerns the Western European market - the products of the leading national manufacturer of a particular country;
- fourthly - multi-fluids under the second rank brands and under the own brands of packaging companies.
In any case, you should not buy fluids promoted for the local market by russian swindlers under numerous pseudo-Japanese or pseudo-European brands.

"Did anyone actually use non-genuine fluids?"
Evlat! I would like to remind you that Japanese cars appeared here back in the days when there were no mobile phones and the Internet, when to the east of the country it was possible to drive a car only along the frozen rivers and often there were skirmishes with local robbers... Of course, then there was not even the very concept of "genuine fluid", which began to be imported only at the turn of the 2000s.
But from the very beginning of the 1990s, tens of thousands of Toyotas (including those with AT A241H, A540H, A245E, A340E) were operated here using any available oil - without breakdowns and problems, and many of them still feel good today.

"Everything is clear... but maybe the genuine is better anyway?"
Of course, in addition to the benefits for the car, the use of genuine fluids has a pacifying effect to the owner and increases his personal proudness. But do not forget that in addition to the genuine ATF the manuals prescribed to use:
- Toyota approved engine oil;
- genuine Toyota Super Long Life Coolant only;
- genuine Toyota Power Steering Fluid;
- genuine Toyota Brake Fluid 2500H;
- genuine compressor oil ND-Oil...
As well as genuine Toyota parts.
Which bought from authorized Toyota dealers only.
Otherwise, the car will fall apart right away, won't it?