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Toyota Repair/2007 Highlander

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QUESTION: I have a 2007 Highlander with 50,000 miles. I only put on 3000-4000 miles per year on it now. Besides oil changes every 6 months, the only fluid changes done has been  transmission fluid at 43K miles. I have also replaced the engine and cabin filters at 43K. I want to maintain the car but not spend money unnecessarily. The service guide says front and rear diff fluid should be changed if the vehicle is used for towing, "inspect" the fluid otherwise. I never use it for towing or off road. Dealer has told me in the past to replace the diff fluid, it is "dirty". I have declined so far. I am due for another oil change shortly and would like your opinion on what services are advisable.  Also, what about a timing belt? The truck is 9 years old but has only 50K miles. Should I have that done or can it wait based on the low mileage? Thanks!

ANSWER: Hello, I would recommend having the differential fluid changed due to the age of the vehicle I think it's a good idea, I assume it is a V6 since the 4 cylinder has no timing belt but uses a chain drive cam conficguration. Have it a t least looked at, for any signs of wear or cracks, again due to the age not miles, toyota recommends changing the belt at 90,000 miles or 8 years, I believe that there is nothing to worry about as far as the timing belt goes but just have it looked at. have the drive belt inspected for wear.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: One following please: the dealer also recommended a transfer fluid change. Would you agree  with that?

Answer
Absolutely, it's relarively inexpensive and worth the peace of mind, I have an 2007 fj cruiser and change my transfer case and differential oils every 60,000 miles regardless of what the factory recommends, even I was surprised the last time I changed the differential fluid how dark and discolored it was. Keep in mind the manufacturers today strive more more and more "maintenance free" vehicles and lifetime transmission fluids,  to keep operating costs down and with extended warranty periods, guess I'm kind of old school that way.
Kind regards.  

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