Q: Rear axle question

asked by on

My vehicle has about 55K miles on it. About a month ago, I noticed it was leaking gear oil from underneath the rear differential. The leak is small. I went to change the rear differential fluid, but noticed something while I was underneath: The seal around the axle on the right side is leaking a little, then dripping down onto the differential's lowest point. I'm going on vacation next week, and we know a mechanic close to where we're staying, so we made an appointment.

My question: Assuming the fluid is leaking from the axle seal, is it gear oil from the rear differential? Because I just replaced it, I know my vehicle only holds 3.5 pints of synthetic gear oil. If I just top it off, do you think it's safe to drive about 2.5 hours? FYI, when I changed the differential fluid, it didn't look low, and I don't hear any whining noise from the rear end, and I don't notice any problems while driving.

The leak on the axle seal may be minor if you did not notice the level to be low when you checked it. I cannot say it will last for 2 and a half hours of driving, since this is when the differential will get the hottest and may leak worse. I suggest having a mechanic diagnose your oil leak and have it repaired before going on the trip, since a cheap repair now may become an expensive repair if you drive it and the rear end locks up after it lost all its oil.

In the meantime, feel free to read more on differential/gear oil in this article.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Rear axle question

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: How do I view the engine oil life in the multi-information display?

The engine oil life shows you how much remaining life your vehicle’s current batch of oil has. To view this feature, press the display button until the multi-information display above the center console shows the engine oil life. The multi-information...

Q: New tires vs cv placement

The CV axle has to be replaced first because removal and installation of an axle can alter wheel alignment. If you align the car first and replace the axle, you might have to align it again, or at the very...

Q: Q: Rear differential leak

Hello. A rear differential leak is something that requires immediate attention. If the fluid continues to leak, it could cause the gears inside the differential to start rubbing metal to metal. This will cause premature failure of the differential. It...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.