2006-2013 Rav4: Rear Differential Service
Time: 15-30 minutes
High temperatures and heavy loads break down the protective properties of gear oil over time. Gear wear and moisture from venting to atmosphere further contaminate the fluid which can lead to leaks and premature part failure.
Replacing the rear differential fluid every 30-60,000 miles is good maintenance. Frequent start/stop driving, towing, high temperatures, or exposure to heavy dust or water might merit the earlier end of the range, while straight-and-level commuting would allow for a stretched-out interval.
On this vehicle, replacing the rear differential fluid is simply a drain and refill. Add fluid to the specified capacity, but if in doubt, aim for slightly below the fill hole. On this vehicle, about 1/4 to 1/2". This allows for fluid expansion when hot without overpressuring the seals or causing the oil to foam and cavitate.
The video below shows the process on a 2006-2013 era Toyota RAV4.
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