What is the Differential/Gear Oil all about?
Differential oil is a type of oil. Cars have a gearbox connecting the two axles. This gearbox is responsible for the conversion of engine power and its transmission to the wheels, allowing them to turn at varying speeds. This part of the car is called the differential, and lubrication is needed for it to function properly. Differential fluid, also called differential oil, provides the lubrication and cooling of the car’s differential. The fluid is there to protect the gears’ metal surfaces from friction, and to prevent overheating and burning.
Keep in mind:
- Some vehicles have a front differential and others have a rear differential.
- Some vehicles use a synthetic gear oil.
How it's done:
- Check fluid level.
- Inspect the rear housing for leaks.
- Remove the cover (if the differential does not have a drain plug).
- Install new gasket if needed.
- Fill with new fluid.
Differential oil should be changed every 30,000 to 50,000 miles. You should aim to have the gear oil changed every 30,000 miles, but it’s a good idea to have a mechanic check the differential oil during regular maintenance services.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Differential/Gear Oil?
Gear oil is contaminated with metal particles or other substances.
How important is this service?
The differential is responsible for transferring the power from the engine to the transmission and the wheels, and for controlling how much power goes to each wheel. Like many aspects of your vehicle, the differential requires oil to act as lubrication. Differential oil allows the differential to move smoothly and consistently, which allows the vehicle to continue sending power to the wheels. If the differential oil is old, it may be contaminated with debris and metal shavings. This contamination will come into constant contact with the differential, which can cause severe long term damage to the differential.