FLUID LEVEL CHECK
See Figures 1, 2 and 3
The oil in the differential should be checked at least every 15,000 miles and replaced every 25,000-30,000 miles. On FWD vehicles, the differential is part of the transaxle assembly. On some early model vehicles the internal components of the transaxle and the differential may be isolated so separate fluids may be used. Check for 2 sets of drain and filler plugs to see if a separate differential fluid is used. On most later model FWD vehicles the differential and transaxle components share fluid and only one set of drain and filler plugs are necessary. On housings with shared fluids, be SURE to only add the proper fluid as directed under the transmission information earlier in this section.
- Either park the vehicle on a level surface and firmly set the parking brake or raise and support it safely using jackstands at 4 points, but making sure the vehicle is LEVEL. Remove the filler plug from the back of the differential (rear differential) or the side (front differential).
- If oil begins to trickle out of the hole, there is enough. Otherwise, carefully insert your finger into the hole (watch for sharp threads) and check to see if the oil is up to the bottom edge of the filler hole.
- If not, add oil through the hole until the level is at the edge of the hole. Most gear oils come in a plastic squeeze bottle with a nozzle, making additions simple. Some gear oils may even come equipped with a small hand operated pump. You can also use a common everyday kitchen baster. Check your owner's manual for the proper fluid in your differential. Most RWD vehicles, 4WD and some early FWD vehicles use standard API GL-5 hypoid type gear oil, SAE 2W-90. Some later model FWD vehicles use Dexron®II automatic transmission/transaxle fluid.
Take note of the fluid which is drained from the housing. When in doubt of what type to use consult your owner's manual or local Toyota dealer. Keep in mind that gear oil is a thick, dark, greenish fluid which smells very earthy, while Dexron®II is thinner, reddish fluid (which has its own unique smell)
- Replace the filler plug and run the engine for a while. Turn off the engine and check for leaks.
DRAIN AND REFILL
The gear oil in the differential should be changed at least every 25,000-30,000 miles.
- Either park the vehicle on a level surface and firmly set the parking brake or raise and support it safely using jackstands at 4 points, but making sure the vehicle is LEVEL.
- Remove the filler (upper) plug. Place a container which is large enough to catch all of the differential oil, under the drain plug.
- Remove the drain (lower) plug and, if equipped, the gasket. Allow all of the oil to drain into the container.
- Install the drain plug. Tighten it so that it will not leak, but do not overtighten.
- Refill with the proper grade and viscosity of axle lubricant. Please refer to the fluid level checking procedure located earlier in this section.
- Install the filler plug and check for leakage.