Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Does a Differential Output Seal Last?

Differential Output Seal

The differential is located either in the front or rear of your vehicle, depending on what make and model you drive and whether it is or front- or rear-wheel drive. When you turn your vehicle, the wheels need to rotate at different speeds, which is what the differential does to ensure your vehicle stays stable. The differential output seal is the part of the differential that connects the driveshaft to the transmission or rear differential. The output seal keeps oil or fluid from leaking out of the differential, and therefore keeps the part lubricated.

The oil in your differential should be changed every 30,000 to 50,000 miles, unless your owner’s manual states otherwise. Over time, the differential output seal can leak and allow fluid to escape. When this happens, the differential will not be lubricated so the bearings and gears can overheat. If these parts start overheating, there can be extensive damage to the differential that may render your vehicle inoperable until your differential is repaired.

An output seal leaks more while you are driving on the highway, so oil drops in your vehicle may not always be an indication your differential output seal needs to be replaced. If fluid is leaking out, you will notice the transmission starting to slip, so this may be a better indicator than looking for oil drops on your driveway. Preventative maintenance is a good way to ensure your differential seal output stays in good condition. While a professional mechanic changes the oil, they will inspect and replace the differential output seal as needed. In addition, they will check if there is oil splashed around the seal which indicates it may need to be replaced as well.

Since the differential output seal can go bad and leak over time, it is important to know all of the symptoms that indicate the part needs to be looked at by a professional.

Signs that show the differential output seal needs to be replaced include:

  • The transmission is slipping while driving at higher speeds
  • Transmission fluid or differential oil is constantly low which indicates a leak
  • Grinding noises when you turn corners

If you are having any of the above issues with your car, make sure you get in contact with a professional mechanic to have your problem diagnosed and make any repairs as necessary.

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

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

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

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.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

How to Find the Keyless Code on a Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer
Many Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers were manufactured with an option known as the Ford keyless entry keypad. Some models refer to it as SecuriCode as well. It...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / 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: Convertible rear window detached & crashed inside the back seat

Hello. If you want to submit a complaint about this then you would need to send it to Chrysler of North America. You can call any dealer to get their number and mailing address. More than likely you will not...

Q: My sunroof is leaking.

There is a technical service bulletin (TSB) regarding your concern. A trained professional, such as one from YourMechanic, can inspect your vehicle to see if the TSB applies. if it does, they can perform the steps outlines in the procedure....

Q: Replacement of rear seals

Hi there, thanks for writing in. First, check the surface where the seal rides to see if it is damaging the seal. If it is clean, then you may have bad wheel bearings. The main thing when reinstalling the rear...