How Often to Change Differential Fluids (and Fluid Change Cost)?


If you have a car for which the executive at the service centre might have recommended you to change your differential fluids while changing the oil. This recommendation might have put you in a dilemma and you might start wondering “Is it necessary and how often should I change the differential fluid?” 

What Exactly is a Differential Fluid? 

Differential Fluid

Differential fluid is added for the smooth functioning of the differential. Differential oil also known as gear oil is generally found in the axle of the housing. It yields the desired performance in high-pressure situations than in high temperatures just like engine oil. 

Car Parts Looked After by Differential Fluid

Adding a Differential fluid to the car parts is necessary due to the following reasons:

  • Lubricates clutches, packs, gears, and bearings. 
  • Covers ring and pinion gears that move the power from the wheel axle to the drive shaft. 
  • Keeps the differential lubricated and cool. 

Not applying diff fluid would result in metal to metal contact. This would burn the entire vehicle this might result in a fire hazard and may pose danger to the lives of the passengers. 

How to Identify Differential Fluids?

 Identify Differential Fluids

The differential oil resembles the engine oil but is slightly thicker than it. Differential fluids can be bifurcated as mineral oil which is obtained naturally and crude oil which is fluid. Differential fluid can be extracted synthetically in labs just like synthetic oils.  Synthetic differential fluid oils need to be fine-tuned for their optimum performance. 

How Often Should You Change the Differential Fluid? 

Change the Differential Fluid

Mostly the differential fluid must be changed after driving 30,000 to 50,000 miles. Alternatively, it would be best to check the owner’s manual to determine the due date of the oil change. The front differential must be changed a bit sooner after driving 25,000-30,000 miles. If the fluid has been contaminated with the addition of water ,ensure that the user manual is referred to determine the mileage and take the decision of changing the oil accordingly. 

Mechanic would be the best person to change both front and back differential fluid which could get messy when performed by oneself. Wipe each and every part of the cogwheel so that no unwanted particles from the old fluid get transferred to the new oil. Don’t forget to check the condition of the coil and cogwheel and get a new gasket based on the inspection. It would be best if the job is undertaken by a team of professionals as the car is needs to be lifted for replacement where  since the cogwheel lies below the vehicle. 

The fluid must be changed on time ,ignoring would result in metal to metal contact thereby generating  heat. It makes the gears weak and degrades the surfaces. Differential failure would be the outcome which is an expensive affair. 

Benefits of Changing Differential Fluids 

Contact between different metal parts of a car leads to wear and tear. The contact between different metal parts can be avoided with differential fluids. This gives rise to friction that weakens the gear and leads to failure in the long run. The contact between different metal parts can be avoided with differential fluids.

To make the cogwheels work in optimum working condition and avoid wasting money on unnecessary repairs implement on the suggestions of the manufacturer and get the oil changed. 

What Happens in the Case of Low Differential Levels? 

In case of low differential levels, the gears start grinding ultimately leading to differential failures. Motor oil work using an oil filter , differential doesn’t have any filters. Unwanted friction could have hamper the differential in significant ways. 

Charges Levied on Front Differential Fluid Change 

The cost of replacing a differential fluid is slightly more than the regular oil. There is a huge distinction between the price of changing the front differential fluid and the rear one. Changing the front differential fluid would cost around $70-$130 , labor charges ranges between $40 to $60.The estimated charges of an average cost fall between $30 to $70. 

Rear Differential Fluid Change Charges 

The charges of changing a rear diff fluid are exorbitant and range between $80 to $150 for all the vehicles. Labor charges are estimated to be between  $50-$70 and the cost of parts is about $30-$80. 

The total cost of changing the fluid lies between $150-$280. Determine the charges before changing the differential fluid. 

Wrapping Up 

Knowing the charges beforehand saves you from spending unnecessarily. Associate with a reliable car store such as ‘The Auto Parts Shop’ to obtain quality oil for the optimum working of the vehicle. 

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