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Question : MY 1993 Toyota Corolla 1.6SEG has clocked 240,000km. The automatic transmission fluid (ATF) has been changed regularly in accordance with the owner's manual, which specifies a Dexron III ATF. Toyota markets a Type-IV fluid but my mechanic recommends using either a generic Dexron Ill or Toyota Type-III ATF. Which should I use?

Answer : THE typical characteristics of an ATF include its ability to flow at low temperatures, resistance to excessive heat and oxidation, provide clutch plate friction at different speeds, anti foaming properties and the prevention of corrosion and deterioration of seals, gaskets and metallic gearbox components.

The biggest difference between the various grades of ATF is the amount of friction it offers. Gearshifts must occur at precisely the correct moment without delay or slippage, and in order to do so, the clutch plates must automatically engage and disengage properly.

The proper engagement and disengagement of these clutch packs very much depends on the level of friction between the clutch plates.

The ATF determines the amount of friction between the clutch plates and hence, the shifting characteristic of your gearbox. If the level of friction is too low, the plates will slip and engagement will be delayed. Conversely, if there is too much friction, the shift will be too harsh or sudden.

Your mechanic is correct in advising you to use Type-III fluid in your vehicle.


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