Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Why Axle Seal Replacements Can Be Tricky

Why Axle Seal Replacements Can Be Tricky

All vehicles today are front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, or all wheel drive. Each vehicle has an axle that provides power transfer to the wheels. Each axle is different in every way and has two to three seals on them.

There are three types of axle seals on rear wheel and four wheel drive front axles:

  • Pinion seal (most common leak)
  • Axle shaft seal
  • Axle cover seal

Axle seals are designed in two categories

A static seal is made to connect two surfaces together without allowing any form of leakage. These two surfaces are non moving at any time. Like on the axle, the static seal will be the axle cover seal.

A dynamic seal is made to seal a cover or housing around a moving part or shaft. The seal performs two jobs, keeps the fluid in and keeps the dirt or contaminants out. Like on the axle, the dynamic seal would be an axle shaft seal or pinion seal.

It can be tricky to replace an axle seal on vehicles. First thing is to know where the leak is coming from. Keep in mind that on transverse (or front wheel drive) vehicles tend to have a valve cover leak from the engine and leak down onto the transmission then out to the axle shaft. Most repairs are replacing the axle shaft seal, but this process is not the correct fix for the situation.

Transverse or front wheel drive

Axle seals on transverse mounted units can be tricky to replace. Some vehicles have an engine guard covering the bottom of the engine and the entire transmission. This can be tricky to remove, but not impossible. Most front wheel drive systems require you to remove the lower control arm and leave the strut hanging, thus leaving enough room to extract the constant velocity shaft from the transmission. Once the constant velocity shafts are removed, it can be quite simple to remove the axle shaft, however, if there is a cross member right under the axle then there may be some difficulty taking out the seal. The best way is to use a seal remover tool that can be used in any direction. This aids in the axle seal removal.

Installing the seal will require some strategy for proper alignment. This can be done with using the proper seal installation tools. Once the new seal is in place, putting the suspension components back together can be troublesome at times but not difficult.

Rear wheel drive

When replacing a seal on a rear wheel drive vehicle, there may be tricky situations where something may be in or near the location of the seal and preventing quick extractions. Example would be a spare tire could be in the way of the axle cover seal making it difficult for removing the mounting hardware.

For the most part, seals can be tricky to gain access to and or remove depending on the type of seal and nature of the seals condition. Each vehicle is different and has many different obstacles to overcome prior to an axle seal replacement. Automotive specialists at YourMechanic would be happy to help you with this service.

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

P0121 OBD-II Trouble Code: TPS "A" Circuit Range Performance Problem
P0121 code definition Throttle Pedal Position Sensor/Switch (TPS) A Circuit Range Performance Problem What the P0121 code means P0121 is a generic OBD-II code which indicates that the Engine Control...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...


Related questions

Q: Hello I have a 1984 nissan 720 4x4 in need of a new motor and clutch. Around how much should I be expecting to spend. Ballpark.

The heads are aluminum and very prone to cracking if you drove the vehicle for extended period while overheating. You will most likely need to replace the cylinder heads. With an old motor you will also need to overhaul the...

Q: Removal of the rear axle from the rear deferential, any special way to do so? Pulling on it doesn't work.

There is a special axle remover tool or a slide hammer that can cause the axle to release from the housing.

Q: Is my alternator to psycaly big?

I would recommend removing the belt tensioner and retrace your steps. If the alternator fit on the engine before the tensioner was replaced and the new tensioner is an OEM part, the alternator should fit back on now. It is...