Differential Oil Change Instructions (05-15 Toyota Tacoma 4×4)

If you are looking to change the differential oil in your Toyota Tacoma 4×4, then we have the right guide for you. We know many do-it-yourself projects can lead to disappointment or frustration (or, worse!) damage, if you forgot a step, tool, or part that is necessary for the project at hand. This guide will help make sure that your differential oil change takes place without a hitch. So if you are ready to get this DIY project going, we will move right into our first step.

  • Before setting up your vehicle for a differential oil change, lifting, supporting, and immobilizing it, you want to start this project right by checking to see if you have all your needed parts and supplies. In this particular project, you will need a 10mm hex socket for the differential’s fill and drain plugs, an oil drain pan, a hand pump for pumping oil, and a torque wrench if possible. The supplies you need consist of about one and a half quarts of 75W-90, and some PB blaster if needed for any plugs that are stuck.
  • Once you have gathered all the necessary tools and supplies, you are ready for the doing-part of this do-it-yourself project. To reach your Tacoma’s differential, you may want a rolling mat or soft pad to lay on while working, to make it easier to focus on the project and not the searing pain from laying on rough asphalt. When you have made it under the car, with easy access to all your tools, you may notice something blocking your view of the differential’s fill and drain plugs. This is most likely the skid plate. You will need to remove this before proceeding with the next step of the process.
  • After removing the skid plate, you will see two 10mm Hex or Allen plugs, one is the fill plug another is the drain. Start by moving the pan underneath the drain plug and removing the fill plug first, to make sure you can get it off while you still have oil in your system. Next, remove the drain plug and let it drain the old oil out. While it is draining, it would be the best time to clean the magnet on the drain plug. Once it is drained out, you will want to use the torque wrench and torque the drain plug to 48 lb•ft. Now grab the 75W-90 and your oil pump. Pump about 1.6 quarts of differential oil into the differential. The oil may begin to spill out slightly, so be sure to have rag handy to clean up any excess. Once the differential fluid dwindles to a few drips, clean off the fill plug and reinstall it, and torqueing it to 29 lb•ft.
  • The last step is to just reattach the skid plate, and clean up the tools used for your differential oil change. Make sure to clear all tools out from under your car, so that you don’t create any problems for your tires or undercarriage. Once you’ve cleaned up, you are done!

The differential oil change has just these few steps to take that will take from old differential oil to new differential oil in just a few minutes. Remember to follow all torqueing pressures so as to not strip the plugs. As with all DIY projects, always use the appropriate safety tools while working on your car. If you follow these steps, and use all safety precautions, your differential oil change will be one more project you can cross off your list.

Twelve Step Plan – Toyota Engine Oil Change

Eager to replace your Toyota engine oil, but not quite sure how? We have a twelve step plan designed to help you get the old oil out and the new oil in, both easily and safely. Make sure to grab all the tools needed for your oil change, before embarking on the oil change adventure. The tools necessary for this project include:

  • Engine Oil – Check your owner’s manual for type and quantity.
  • Engine Oil Filter – The autoparts store should have an application list specifying the exact filter you need, based on year, make, model, and engine.
  • Drain Plug Gasket – There are a number of different styles available, including plastic, fiber, copper, and steel crush gaskets. The steel crush gasket is the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) type, but they all work well.
  • Oil Filter Wrench – There are different types of oil filter wrenches, including band, strap, and socket types. Choose one that fits both your Toyota and your budget.
  • Metric Socket Set or Wrenches – Make sure your set is complete. In other words, don’t try to use a 15 mm socket on a 14 mm drain plug. You might strip the drain plug head, making it difficult to remove.
  • Oil Drain Pan, Oil Fill Funnel, Gloves (preferably impermeable, so they won’t absorb hot oil), and Rags (for cleanup).

Once you have gathered all your tools and supplies, you are ready to start the twelve-step plan.

  1. First, when beginning the oil change, you want to warm your vehicles engine by starting it up and allowing it to get to normal running temperature. If you’ve just come off home from work, you’ll want to give your engine a few minutes to cool off, because the engine oil will be too hot to work with comfortably!
  2. Second, make sure your car is parked in a level area. Also, be sure to give yourself plenty of space to both get under and get out from under the car. Always be extremely careful when jacking up and supporting your Toyota.
  3. Third, after parking your vehicle in appropriate position for working, grab your keys from the ignition to ensure a safe work environment, while working and lying under your car.
  4. Fourth, remove the oil fill cap that is located on the top of the engine, and then move your way under the car. Find the drain plug underneath the engine, and move your oil pan into a position where it can catch the old oil. Go ahead and remove the drain plug, slowly and carefully, as the pressure may cause it to overshoot the pan and also burn your skin. Let the oil drain for about four to six minutes.
  5. Fifth, remove the old drain plug gasket and install a new one. Make sure it is the right size and type for your Toyota.
  6. Sixth, reinstall the drain plug, threading by hand until the drain plug gasket makes contact with the oil pan. Use a metric wrench or socket to tighten the drain plug and seat the gasket, typically no more than a quarter-turn. Do not over-tighten as it can cross-thread or strip the drain plug.
  7. Seventh, now that your old oil has been dispersed and you have sealed the engine with the drain plug, it is time to change the oil filter. There may still be some excess oil behind the filter, so position the oil pan beneath it. Then, use the oil filter wrench to slowly remove the oil filter. The filter may be hot, so use caution and handle with gloves or a rag. Set the old filter on the oil pan and allow it to continue draining into the pan.
  8. Eighth, clean the surface on the engine, cleaning up the old oil leftover from the oil filter removal. Also, make sure the old oil filter gasket is not stuck to the engine. Now, take out the new filter from the box and lather the gasket with some oil, using your finger. Then, thread the new engine oil filter on by hand until the gasket makes contact. Using your hand or the oil filter wrench, tighten an additional quarter- to two-thirds of a turn. Depending on gasket type, each filter should have instructions on how much to tighten to properly seal.
  9. Ninth, you have replaced the oil filter, you have drained the oil, and you have prepared your engine for the next step. It is now time to add the new oil. Using the funnel, carefully add the new oil. You can use the meter on the side of the can as a guide. Only fill up as much as your owner’s manual specifies. Finally, reinstall your oil cap.
  10. Tenth, check to make sure you have removed all tools, rags, the oil pan, and then check for any leaks from the appropriate spots. Start the engine and let it run for about three minutes. You may see the engine oil light appear for a moment, until the oil pressure builds. After the pressure increases, it should turn off. After letting it run, three to five minutes, turn the engine off. Go ahead and check for leaks, then move on to the next step.
  11. Eleventh, use the dipstick to check the oil level. It should read full or almost full. As long as the level is in the safe zone, you are good to go. If the oil level is low, add half a quart and return to step 10.
  12. Twelfth, you want to record the date and mileage of the oil change, that way your next oil change can be done at the right time.

After following these twelve steps to change your Toyota’s oil, and safely disposing of the old oil, you are ready drive your Toyota until the next time you need an oil change. And when that time comes, you will be ready.

How to Remove a Frozen Brake Rotor

Sometimes, replacing just the brake pads won’t fix all of your brake problems. At some point, your vehicles brake rotor will need to be replaced or resurfaced, which means you will need to remove it from the car. Unfortunately, something that may sound relatively easy can quickly turn into a frustrating mess, and a seized or frozen brake rotor can easily explode one of those situations. When you have a frozen brake rotor, there are a couple steps to follow to conquer the challenge.

  • Step One: If you are reading this article, you most likely have already had your car jacked up, the wheel off, and noticed the frozen or rusted brake rotor. If you have not already done this, go ahead and do it now. When you jack your car up, use caution and common sense to safely lift and support it. You will also want to gather your tools necessary for the job, in this case, a mallet or hammer, ratchet, sockets, and wrenches, and also two bolts with two nuts and washers, that can screw into the now-open holes where your caliper was.
  • Step Two: Once you have all your tools and your car is ready to go, grab your mallet to try to break the frozen brake rotor loose. Obviously, you will want to have taken your brake caliper off before doing this. Using your hammer or mallet, start tapping liberally along the top hat of the rotor, not the surface area of it, especially if you are planning to keep using the rotor by resurfacing it. Take care not to hit the wheel studs, because the threads are easily damaged. This step may be the last step, for some, as hitting it may shake it up enough to break loose. If you are successful, congratulations! If not, or you just want to know the other way of braking it loose, then keep on reading to see the next step in removing your frozen brake rotor.
  • Step Three: Look behind the rotor. You should see two holes where the caliper was attached. Those two holes are where you are going to put the bolts at. Start with one and point the screw-end of the bolt towards the rotor, going through the top hole. Then put two washers on and screw a nut on as well. Add a second nut as your leverage piece. The first nut will be your tightening nut, so make sure there is a small gap between the two nuts. Do the same process on the bottom hole.
  • Step Four: Put your wrench on your tightening nut and the ratchet on the bolt. Begin tightening the bolt so it begins to pressure on the frozen brake rotor, alternating between the two bolts, listening for the pop of the rotor. Once it pops, give both bolts a few more turns and then your rotor should come right off.

These steps of removing your frozen brake rotor can turn what seems to be a difficult project into a relatively simple process. The frozen brake rotor will also come off with minimal damage, only a scarring where the bolts were pushing. You have most likely taken off your rotor to get it resurfaced or replaced so the minor scarring is nothing to worry about. So if your vehicle has a frozen brake rotor, you are now equipped with two bolts and a guide to help you overcome this issue like a pro.

Pro Tip: When installing the new rotor, or the old resurfaced rotor, make sure both the hub and rotor are clean of rust and that the rotor easily slides into place. Use a dab of anti-seize lubricant, around the center of the rotor only, to make future removal easier.

How to Replace a Tie Rod End

If your inner or outer tie rod ends have started to wear, these excellent do-it-yourself steps and tips will help you replace them on your own. These steps can be generic and so you may need to adjust depending on your vehicle.

  • Step one: Gather your tools. There are a few tools you will need to replace your tie rod ends. These include a torque wrench, a ratchet, 22” and 24” sockets, pliers, a flat-head screwdriver, wire cutters, 27” and 32” open-ended wrenches, a crescent wrench, Loctite for threads, a hammer and chisel or punch.
  • Step Two: Removing outer tie rod end. Once you have gotten your vehicle jacked up and removed your wheel, you will see your outer tie rod end, and the inner tie rod end will be covered by the tie rod bellow. First of all, if you leave your keys in the ignition of your vehicle then this will allow you to move the wheel assembly freely. Start off by loosening the jam nut that is connecting the outer tie rod end to the inner tie rod end. You will need to use the 27” open ended wrench for the nut and the crescent wrench for the inner tie rod to hold it in place. The jam nut will most likely not come off so you will probably have to wait to take it off with the rest of the outer tie rod. So after loosening the jam nut, go ahead and move on to the castle nut. You will first have to remove the cotter pin using your pliers or a pick tool, keeping it flat and level. Once you’ve removed it, take the castle nut off. By this point you should be able to knock the tie rod end out of the steering knuckle with your hammer. Now that it is out of the knuckle, loosen it from the inner tie rod end and count the turns to help keep your alignment.
  • Step Three: Removing inner tie rod end. In order to remove the inner tie rod end, you must first remove the bellow by taking off the bellow clamps. Pull on the tabs of the inner clamp first to pop it loose, then twist the boot. Proceed to the second clamp and remove it by using the pliers to pull it off. When pulling the boot off, you will most likely damage the seal, so be ready to replace that as well. You should now see your inner tie rod, and the tabs around it. Simply knock the tabs back, and loosen the tie rod. You should be able to unscrew it by hand after this.
  • Step Four: Installing new inner tie rod end. Before installing the new inner tie rod end, be sure to add the Loctite to keep it from loosening after installation. The washer that comes with the new tie rod end has tabs that holds the rod in place while installing it. Go ahead and line the tabs up with the grooves on the rack of your vehicle and then tighten your inner tie rod end onto it. Now use the hammer to stake the washer into the tie rod, you can turn the wheel to push the rack and rod out, allowing you more room for the hammer. Stake the washer on both sides, and then install the new bellow or, if the old bellow is still in good condition, install the old one. Push the bellow into the groove and then install your inner boot clamps to hold the bellow in place. If the clamp is loose, squeeze it together to tighten it to its proper tightness.
  • Step Four: Installing new outer tie rod end. When installing the new outer tie rod, screw the jam nut onto it to where the jam nut is or was located on the old outer tie rod. Recall the amount of turns it took to unscrew the old outer tie rod end from the inner, and proceed to do that many to screw the new one on. Once you get it to where you want it, take the new castle nut off, insert outer tie rod into the knuckle, and then reinstall the castle nut. Now you will use the torque wrench to tighten it, do this by pulling the wheel assembly all the way out to make it easier to tighten. Make sure to line up your castle nut with the hole in the thread for your cotter pin. Never loosen to line up the holes. Insert your cotter pin and bend the pin with the wire cutters. Finally, tighten the jam nut onto the inner outer tie rod end.


Once you have followed these steps, replacing your tie rod ends should be the money saving success you were hoping for. Remember to properly torque and lock all fasteners, and then have a professional do an alignment as soon as possible after your tie rod end replacement.