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Just bought a 2008 RAV4 4x4 Limited with 100k miles. Two days after I bought it, I noticed it dropping fluid. I took it back to the last shop that serviced the car before I bought it, thinking it was an oil filter leak. They tell me it is a "trans-axle oil seal" which needs to be replaced for $300. No experience with this shop, so I took the car to my regular mechanic to diagnose. My regular mechanic tells me that multiple oil seals are leaking, which requires a Transmission Shop to pull the transmission to repair. This would cost in the neighborhood of $1500 - $1800. Yikes ! Just for oil seals ? There's absolutely nothing wrong with the transmission ! So I post here to get some more experienced takes on this leak. It's NOT leaking too badly at this point. So do I have to bite the bullet ? Should I try some lucas transmission leak (is it all transmission fluid or is this some other type of gear oil) ? Should I just buy a used rebuilt transmission ? Thanks for any pointers ! dmypubmail
 

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I have an 08 also.....
Not sure what he means by "multiple seals"? If your transaxle seal is bad, remove the CV joint and change it.
My brother in law (toyota tech) told me during an annual inspection that I have a small leak on the tranny where the halves meet. He said it's a fairly big job.
I inspected the problem myself and determined it's a little fluid from my passenger side cv joint where it enters the tranny. I also used some silicone on the halves where it was wet. Very little leaking now.
I would try doing the same first and then get another opinion.
 

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There are products available as you hinted which are supposed to stop transmission seal leaks (do an internet search, also on Amazon) but have never used any such product and do not know whether using one would affect transmission performance. Some sealers are supposed to soften hardened seals so that they are effective again.
 

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If the transmission is working okay I wouldn't add any miracles-in-a-can.
Either park it off pavement or wipe it off every once in a while. $300 buys a lot of shop rags. $1800 is a lifetime supply.
 
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Lucas trans fix/stop leak is good stuff, you might give that a shot. Otherwise the advice offered here is good.

Unless it's really puking out I would not pull the trans to replace seals. Just my .o2 though. Leaks bother me too so I understand. Good luck.
 

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I would not bite the bullet and you are not off to a good start. Cost is unrecoverable and all savings buying a used car would be lost. Since you just got the car who knows what else needs to be repaired still. I learned from my past and if you can get out before the ship sink bail out before it goes down.
 

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Providing you are positive it's a transmission seal you might want to give this a try:

 

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If it were me, I would keep wiping it away to determine how bad it really is.

I would not add any miracle cures to a working tranny, as they effectively make the rubber seals swell I believe - in an auto tanny, that could cause havoc with the internal vlaves
 

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If the leak is positively from the transmission and it actually is dripping onto the ground when parked, the leak will continue and possibly even get worse when driving, so unless the problem is repaired one will need to keep a close eye on the transmission fluid level to prevent severe damage if the fluid level becomes too low.
 
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Tranny only has to be pulled if it is the torque converter/front pump seal. If it is an engine seal behind the engine, rear main crankshaft, than yes the tranny has to be pulled and it is a lot of labor. If the drip is from the axle seals, it should only be about $400. Tranny fluid leaks would generally show a reddish/brown, or even pink fluid. Motor oil would look more like what you see on the dipstick. Because oil travels all over due to air rushing below the engine when driving, all residue should be cleaned off before trying to spot the exact location of the leak.
 

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If it really is the axle (CV half shaft) seal I think $300 is a fair price to pay versus doing it yourself. I've done it myself and it is a lot of work to get in there and pull it out, and then you have to be careful not to damage the half shaft.

I've paid about $300 in labor for a shop to simply install a new half shaft that I brought in myself (ie, not counting the cost of the part).



A new Toyota seal is about $25, but installing it is a precision job as it turns out.
 
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