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

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flexible Clutch Hose
Common signs include difficulty shifting, low clutch fluid, and feeling no resistance at the clutch pedal.
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
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...


Related questions

Q: Loud grinding and thumping

Hello. It is possible that your axle is worn out, but it is unusual for an axle to grind. What is more likely is that the right front caliper is locking up, or that a wheel bearing has gone bad....

Q: Advice on what type of service to do on a car before a road trip

My advice is to stick to one type of oil. In my old cars, I've been using Castrol GTX forever. It's normal and it's not synthetic. I've never had a problem with it, they don't burn out oil and they...

Q: Starter grinding

Hi, thanks for your question. It sounds like the starter bolts may not have been tightened properly or the starter could be faulty as a new part. I would recommend retracing your steps to make sure that the starter was...