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Change transmission oil Rav4

Difficulty - Medium

Time - About an hour

Tools - A 24mm or 15/16AF spanner or socket, a 10mm hex socket or allen key for the transfer box and rear diff', a suitable draining container, a supply of rags and either an oil pump or at least one half litre oil bottle with a filler nozzle as shown in the photos.

Frequency - Every 20,000 miles or 2 years (every second service).

To get about under my car I put the front on the ramps and the rear onto some wooden blocks. Do not use brick or concrete blocks as they can crumble without warning.

It is not necessary to have the vehicle level (fill the unit to the level plug) if you measure the oil in and I find the best way is with those half litre bottles which have a scale on the side. The transfer box and the rear axle take 0.9 litres of oil. Don't beat yourself up about measuring this accurately as 0.1 of a litre is about a table spoon full. Try to get 2 half litre bottles in each one. You will find that it is easier to squeeze the oil out of a part full bottle than a nearly empty one so I order 2.5 litres and keep transfering fresh oil into a container noting how much is going in. It will make sense once you start!

In these pictures you will see the use of an oil pump but half litre bottles are just as good. It is often cheaper to buy oil in 5 litre drums so be sure to check the prices first. I have saved some old half litre bottles and decant the oil into them for measuring and filling.

Starting with the gearbox;

So 3.4 litres of API GL5 75W/90

You can remove the filler plug first to let the air in;


Then drain the oil into a suitable container;


Clean all the plugs carefully. Keep them to the same place they came from as some are magnetic to attract the debris.;


Here is that pump I was on about!


Only the !Removed! go to so much trouble!!!;


To do the transfer box approach the drain plug from the front and to get at the filler - under the drivers door;


0.9 litres of Hypoid API GL5 SAE 90 (very important to use this extreme pressure [EP] oil) goes back in;


This is a better view of the filler;


Now around to the back and drain the diff'. You need a 10mm allen key;


Add some more of the same oil as the transfer box - 0.9 litres;


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Helpful tutorial thanks, I did get a pump but opted to use a length of tube from engine bay to refill gearbox and transfer box as the gear oil is quite thick

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Found it very useful too.

Changed the gearbox oil, only ~2.5l drained out though - so could only get 2.5l of new oil back in before it started overflowing from the refill plug. Car was level, 2.0l VVTI 4WD.   

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