Winter Driving Tips: Get the U151E Transmission in Your RAV4 Ready for the Cold Weather

Posted by on Thursday, November 20th, 2014

The U151E is a five-speed automatic transmission designed and built by the Toyota Motor Company. It’s a transaxle assembly intended for use in front-wheel drive vehicles. The U515E transmission is very similar to the U151F transmission, with the major difference being that the U151F is designed for four-wheel drive applications. The U151E has a very steep first-gear ratio of 4.235:1 which makes it great for quick take offs, especially when used with small, underpowered engines. On the other end of the spectrum, the U151E has an overdrive ratio of 0.75:1 (24% overdriven) which helps achieve great gas mileage. Toyota first put this transmission into use in 2004 and used it all the way up through the end of the 2012 model year. Toyota used the U151E in many of its branded vehicles, including the Highlander, the Sienna, the Camry and the Avalon. It was also used in the Toyota RAV4.

Prepare the U151E in your RAV4 for winter weather


The RAV4 is a compact SUV built on a car-like unibody frame. The vehicle’s initials stand for Recreation Active Vehicle with four-wheel drive. TheRAV4 is basically a five-door wagon and is capable of carrying four full-size adults along with limited luggage. Although the RAV4 appears small, it is actually very roomy inside. At 6’4″, I have no problem fitting comfortably into this vehicle. The RAV4 was available with a total of eight different engine choices! You could also choose from one of six different transmissions. The RAV4 was produced globally in plants in Japan, Australia, Malaysia, the Middle East, North America and Mexico.

When equipped with the four-wheel drive option, the RAV4 is a very capable vehicle in the snow. Did you know that the cold weather that usually accompanies the snow can be damaging to your U151E transmission? Yup, it’s true.  Here are a couple of winter driving tips–following these will protect your U151E transmission from the negative effects of extreme cold weather.

Install Synthetic Transmission Fluid

Synthetic transmission fluid behaves much better in cold weather than its oil-based organic cousin. Unlike organic transmission fluid, the synthetic fluid will not thicken under cold temperatures. This is especially important when the transmission is still cold. When transmission fluid becomes too thick, it cannot be easily moved through the very small orifices in the valve body. This can cause the transmission to slip, followed by rapid failure of the clutch packs.

Warm-up the Transmission

Allow the transmission to warm up properly before hitting highway speeds. Unlike the motor in your car, the transmission will generally not generate heat when idling. This means you need to get the vehicle in motion to create heat. Drive your RAV4 very gently for the first two to three miles. Don’t floor the gas pedal. Avoid towing or carrying heavy payloads, as well. If you need to do so, drive a couple of miles first before loading or hitching up.

If you’re looking for a quality remanufactured transmission, then you won’t do better than ETE REMAN. That’s why we offer a three-year/unlimited mileage warranty on all our products. Browse our online catalog and contact us today.

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