Symptoms of Bad or Failing Differential / Gear Oil

Schedule Differential/Gear Oil Replacement
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Average rating from 92 customers who received a Differential / Gear Oil Replacement.

Modern vehicles use a variety of fluids for the lubrication of their numerous mechanical components. Since many of the components are made of metal, they require heavy-duty oil capable of protecting the components from damage due to overheating and metal-to-metal contact. Automotive lubrication fluids play a very important role in the overall performance and service life of a car and can cause components to become seriously damaged when they run low.

One of these types of fluids is the differential oil, also commonly known as gear oil, which is used to lubricate manual transmissions and differentials. Since gear oil is basically the equivalent of what engine oil is to the engine, it plays a very important role in protecting the differential and transmission, allowing them to do their jobs safely and smoothly. When the fluid gets dirty or contaminated it can put the components that it is meant to protect at risk of accelerated wear and even permanent damage. Usually, bad or failing differential oil will produce any of the following 4 symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential problem that should be serviced.

1. Vehicle Exceeds Gear Oil Service Interval

All vehicles come with a maintenance schedule for its fluids and filters based on mileage. If the vehicle has exceeded the recommended mileage for service of the gear or differential oil, it is highly recommended to have it changed. Old oil may not provide the same level of protection as clean, fresh oil. Vehicle components run using old or dirty oil may end up susceptible to accelerated wear or even serious damage.

2. Whining Differential or Transmission

One of the symptoms most commonly associated with bad or failing differential or gear oil is a noisy transmission or differential. If the gear oil runs low or becomes excessively dirty, it can cause the gears to whine or howl as they turn. The whining or howling is caused by lack of lubrication and may increase in volume as vehicle speed increases. A howling or whining differential or transmission should be inspected as soon as possible in order to prevent the possibility of serious damage.

2. Gearbox/Transmission Slipping Gears Jerking

Though a jerking transmission can be caused by a number of potentially expensive issues, it can also be another sign of low gear oil levels. The differential or gear oil may be in need of replacement after reaching levels too low for proper operation of the transmission. Check your transmission fluid levels to see if the reservoir is too low and causing gears to grind and slip. If topping off oil levels doesn’t fix the problem, have your transmission system inspected — it could be a sign of a more serious problem.

4. Burning Smell from Gearbox or Differential

A burning smell from your differential or gearbox is another sign you need near differential oil. The smell may be coming from oil leaking out of an old seal — you may even notice a reddish stain under your car’s parking spot. The burning smell might also be a result of an overheating gearbox from poor lubrication. Too-old oil cannot lubricate moving parts properly, causing the metal components to burn oil from the high temperature. Having the differential oil replaced may solve the problem, otherwise, a gasket or seal replacement may be necessary.

Differential/gear oil is just one of the many important lubrication fluids that vehicles use in their normal operation. However, it is often one of the most forgotten fluids because it is not serviced nearly as frequently as others. For this reason, if you suspect that your differential or gear oil may be dirty, contaminated, or past the recommended maintenance schedule, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician. They will be able to replace your differential / gear oil if necessary.


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Recent Differential/Gear Oil Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Differential/Gear Oil Replacement Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

92

Rating Summary
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Chris

20 years of experience
1612 reviews
Chris
20 years of experience
Lexus GS300 - Differential / Gear Oil Replacement (Rear) - Irvine, California
Chris is an excellent mechanic. Always on time! A mechanic you can trust because of his work ethics and taking the time to diagnose your car.
Jeep Wrangler - Differential / Gear Oil - Mission Viejo, California
Chris did a great job we are very happy. He was very knowledgeable and very professional. He took care of all our mechanical issues and our car has never run better. He left the premisses spotless. We will definitely request him again.

Andrian

30 years of experience
73 reviews
Andrian
30 years of experience
Nissan 300ZX - Differential / Gear Oil Replacement (Rear) - Pompano Beach, Florida
On time, extremely professional, and highly knowledgeable. Great overall experience and will certainly count on him in the future for other services.

Ernesto

30 years of experience
27 reviews
Ernesto
30 years of experience
Honda CR-V - Differential / Gear Oil Replacement (Rear) - Hartland, Wisconsin
Ernesto called me to let me know he would be arriving late due to some repair issues with his first appointment. I received a text when he did arrive. I appreciated these courtesies! Ernesto was polite, friendly, knowledgeable, and efficient. The repair went well, and he explained the various procedures as he performed them. Previously, he worked as a Honda service mechanic, so I was extremely comfortable as he worked on my car, and he took some time to give me a heads-up about future maintenance issues I could likely expect. I would not hesitate to request Ernesto for future work, and I offer my highest recommendation for his work and professional conduct. Glad to have met you, Ernesto!

Antonios

16 years of experience
48 reviews
Antonios
16 years of experience
Toyota RAV4 - Differential / Gear Oil Replacement (Front, Rear) - Sharon, Massachusetts
I highly recommend Tony. It's the second service he has performed on my car. This time he made sure I had the right spark plugs that best fit my Toyota. If I would have replaced the spark plugs myself would get the highest rated ones which are not the OEM for Toyota.

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