Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How Often Do I Need to Replace My Car's Differential Fluid?

How Often Do I Need to Replace My Car's Differential Fluid?

differential fluid

Many folks do not even know what the differential does. It is not one of those common car parts like the transmission or radiator. In fact, some people go the entire lifetime of a vehicle without knowing what the differential does.

What does the differential do?

Remember watching people run track during the Olympics? For longer races, after everyone starts out in his or her appropriate lanes, everyone clusters toward the inside lane of the track. That’s because, around curves, the inside lane is the only one that’s actually 400 meters. If the runners were required to run in their lane for a 400-meter race, the runner in the outside lane would actually have to run 408 meters.

As a vehicle goes around corners, that same scientific principle applies. As the car goes around a corner, the wheel on the outside of the turn is covering more ground than the wheel on the inside of the turn. While the difference is tiny, a car is a precision vehicle, and small variances can do a great deal of damage over the long run. The differential compensates for this difference. The differential fluid is a thick, dense fluid designed to keep the differential lubricated as it compensates for all of the turns that the vehicle makes.

How often do I need to replace the differential fluid?

Most manufacturers recommend that the differential fluid be changed every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. It is a messy job, and should be done by a licensed mechanic. The fluid will have to be disposed of properly, you may need a new gasket, and the parts inside the differential housing will need to be wiped down so that any contaminants from the old fluid aren’t transferred to the new. Plus, because the differential is underneath the car, it will need to be lifted, so this is definitely not a DIY project.

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

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....
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...

Related questions

Q: Overflow tube in the front differential is leaking oil constantly on a 2014 GMC Sierra 1500.

Disconnect the vent tube on the differential and blow through the tube on the differential. If you are unable to blow through it, then the differential is creating too much pressure and pushing out the oil through the tube. I...

Q: Dash board showing "HOLD". What's wrong with having a code P0841?

Hi there. The code P0841 means that the pressure in the transmission has dropped. This could be caused by low or dirty contaminated oil or the transmission fluid pressure sensor failing. Check the level of the transmission with the engine...

Q: Mileage is very low;

If you have not had any maintenance done then have a complete computer scan test done to see if any codes are present. Perform any maintenance needed like air filters, fuel filters, and oil changes. You didn't mention the mileage...