Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Does a Differential / Gear Oil Last?

The differential is normally located at the rear of your vehicle and underneath the car. It is essential that it stays lubricated with differential or gear oil for it to work properly and your vehicle to go smoothly down the road. The oil needs to be changed every 30,000 to 50,000 miles, unless your owner’s manual states otherwise.

The differential is a part in your vehicle that compensates for the difference the inner wheel and the outer wheels travel when you turn a corner. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, your differential will be in the back with its own lubrication and housing. It uses a dark, thick oil that is heavier than 80 weight. Front-wheel drive vehicles have the differential integrated into the transmission housing and share fluid. Check your owner’s manual to ensure you have the correct type of fluid/oil for your vehicle.

The differential/gear oil lubricates the ring and pinion gears that provide power from the driveshaft to the wheel axles. Keeping the oil in your differential clean and changing it on a regular basis is just as important as your engine’s oil, yet it is often overlooked or forgotten about.

Over time, if the oil goes bad or you have a leak in your differential, metal will grind on metal and will wear down the surfaces. This creates high amounts of heat from friction, which will weaken the gears and lead to failure, overheating, or burning. A professional mechanic will replace and/or change your differential/gear oil to ensure your vehicle keeps operating like it is supposed to.

Since your differential/gear oil can go bad over time and needs to be replaced, you should be aware of the symptoms that indicate the oil needs to be changed.

Signs your differential/gear oil needs to be changed and/or replaced include:

  • The oil is contaminated with substances or metal particles
  • Grinding noise as you turn corners
  • Humming noises because the gears are grinding against each other due to low lubricant
  • Vibrations while you are driving down the road

The differential/gear oil is extremely important to keeping your vehicle run smoothly so this part should be maintained.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How Long Does a Vacuum Brake Booster Check Valve Last?
The braking system on your car requires a lot of pressure. The vacuum booster is one of the main sources of this pressure. This booster will take the pressure that...
P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....


Related questions

Q: I can hear the grinding sound when I stop and drive again.

Hello. The symptoms you describe are commonly associated with worn brakes. When the brakes are applied, the brake calipers compress the brake pads against the rotors to slow the vehicle. Over time, the brake pads and rotors will eventually wear...

Q: Oil leak on the hose which came form valve cover to air intake . Engine is new and recently worked on.

Hi there. By looking at the photos that you have provided is shows that the PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valve is blowing by and causing engine oil to go through the PCV tube. Since your engine has a turbo on...

Q: Like rumble noise on pulley system side

I would recommend checking all of the idler pulleys to be sure the bearings are freely spinning on them as these can sometimes wear badly when they are subjected to dirt and debris or severe weather conditions.