Is it Safe to Drive with a Leaking Axle Seal?

An axle seal is the part of the vehicle that connects the axle to the rear differential, or the transmission. The purpose of the axle seal is to keep transmission fluid from leaking. Depending on the size of the leak, it may be okay to drive with a leaking axle seal, but not for very long.

If you are concerned about a leaking axle seal, here are 2 things to look out for:

  1. Oil puddle under car. One of the more common signs the axle seal is leaking is oil below your vehicle after it has been parked. Your driveway is one of the spaces you will notice the oil leak. If you start to notice oil drops on your driveway, it could be a sign of a leaking axle seal.

  2. Transmission slipping at highway speeds. While an oil spot on the driveway is a common sign, it does not always happen because the axle seal leaks more during highway driving. Instead, you may notice your transmission slipping at highway speeds. Since the transmission fluid drops, there is not enough fluid for brake band friction, valve operation, gear lubrication, and the torque converter. If the leaking axle seal does not get fixed soon and the transmission is slipping, you could cause permanent damage to the transmission.

The severity of the leak affects how safe it is to drive with a leaking axle seal. If there is significant fluid loss, so much that it affects the transmission, the vehicle should not be driven. If the leak is small and you can’t make it to an appointment for a few days, it is okay to drive your vehicle as long as you keep the transmission fluid full. Do not push it too far though, as ruining your transmission is an expensive repair.

The most common cause of a leaking axle seal is it improper axle installation or removal. In addition, the axle seal can wear out over time, which can cause it to leak. A leaking axle seal may be covered by your vehicle’s Powertrain Warranty, so check your car’s brochure to see if this is the case.

If your vehicle has a small axle seal leak, it may be okay to continue driving for now, but you should look to have your car's axle shaft inspected and potentially replaced immediately. Make sure to keep your transmission fluid full so your transmission keeps running smoothly. If you have a large leak and your transmission is slipping, it is not a good idea to drive with a leaking axle seal.


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Recent Axle Shaft Seal Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(89)

Rating Summary
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Chris

18 years of experience
491 reviews
Chris
18 years of experience
Nissan Murano V6-3.5L - Axle Shaft Seal Replacement (Front) - Missouri City, Texas
Chris us very professional & thorough. He answered all my questions & explained everything in detailed. Most definitely would call Chris for all my car work.
Honda Accord - Axle Shaft Seal Replacement (Front) - Houston, Texas
Chris was very patient even though it is difficult to get in and out of my apartment complex. He completed the repairs in a timely manner even though there was a major thunderstorm going on and took time to educate me about my tires. Thank you Chris!

James

31 years of experience
684 reviews
James
31 years of experience
Lincoln Aviator V8-4.6L - Axle Shaft Seal Replacement (Front) - Cerritos, California
James was great! He was prompt to the appointment and also communicated in a timely manner if he was running late. Was very honest about the work that needed to be done and was very knowledgeable about the issue that needed to be repaired. Was very thorough with the inspection and kind while explaining the repair and giving recommendations. Answered all of my questions and was very professional from start to end. So far I am very happy with the repair and the YourMechanic.com service. I would definitely have James work on my SUV again and recommend him to family and friends if they need a good mechanic with integrity.

Ben

41 years of experience
1410 reviews
Ben
41 years of experience
Nissan Titan V8-5.6L - Axle Shaft Seal Replacement (Rear) - Houston, Texas
Ben was very prompt and efficient. He is a good mechanic. He did correct the original problem that was not repaired by previous mechanic, However, please note that my slip and ABS lights are still on. Ben said they would go off after driving it for about 20 miles. I have driven that and more and the lights are still on. This was not an issue before. Please let me know if someone will come out to fix this problem. Thanks, Arthur Jason (713-703-3274)

Fadi

20 years of experience
85 reviews
Fadi
20 years of experience
Dodge Ram 1500 V8-5.7L - Axle Shaft Seal Replacement (Rear) - El Cajon, California
Fadi was honest and motivated right from the start. I took my Dodge Ram to a shop and they said that it needed a rear axel seal and a new radiator. I’m no mechanic but I decided to shop around. I set up an appointment and he was on time and ready to go. He inspected my truck to make sure it needed what I was told from the shop. It needed the axel seal for sure. He swap it and it was ready to go. Next step was the radiator. He inspected it and told me it was fine. I turn it on ran a little and checked out myself. Turns out I didn’t need a radiator. The shop was just trying to get money out of me. He walked me through the whole because I wanted be sure and it was fine. Most shops will not do that because I assume they don’t want to know what you do need and don’t. Once I save more money I’m most definitely going to call again and schedule another appointment for the services he recommended for me to get done on my truck. In all honest opinion I would give Fadi a shot before gambling with a shop that could just be lying to you. I sincerely thank Fadi for his honesty and dedication to job. You can tell he enjoys what he does.

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