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In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, motive power from the transmission needs to be transferred to the wheels. It’s a bit more complicated than in a front-wheel drive setup, where CV axles connect the wheels to the transmission itself. In this situation, a drive shaft is connected to the transmission and the rear differential. It rotates with the transmission, and then turns the gears inside the differential. Rear CV axles connect from the differential to each rear wheel, allowing them to turn and move the vehicle.
Because the differential is subject to heat and friction damage to gears, fluid must be used to lubricate the moving parts. The axles have to fit into the differential, so there must be a way to allow this to happen without letting the fluid leak out. That job is handled by the rear axle CV pilot seal, and there is one on each side of the differential (one for each axle).
Over time and through normal wear and tear, these seals can begin to leak. Minor seeps are generally not a problem as long as you keep an eye on the fluid level inside the differential, but if it develops into a more serious leak, fluid loss and then differential damage can result.
If your rear axle CV pilot seal is leaking, it’s only a matter of time before the leak becomes problematic. Loss of fluid in the differential can cause major damage, and can make your vehicle unusable. We recommend having the problem diagnosed and repaired by one of our expert mechanics as quickly as possible if you notice any signs of fluid leaks.
Maintaining rear axle CV pilot seals is critical to the health and operation of your differential. As the fluid level drops, so does the lubrication for the gears inside the differential. This results in increased heat and friction, which can destroy those gears. When that happens, your vehicle is immobile. We recommend having the problem immediately diagnosed and repaired by a professional mechanic.