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Do I Need a Differential Fluid Change?

What’s one of the most overlooked maintenance tasks on SUVs, passenger vehicles and light trucks without 4-wheel drive? Caring for the car’s differential. The differential is located at the rear and underneath the vehicle, so many people forget it’s even there. Unfortunately, a lack of attention to the differential and differential fluid can prevent your car from functioning properly. What Is the Differential? The differential helps to make up the difference in distance that the inner and outer wheels travel when your car rounds a corner. If your car has rear-wheel-drive, the differential is housed and lubricated by a thick and dark oil. Front-wheel-drive cars often have the differential inside of the transmission housing and use the same fluid. Your car’s differential fluid helps to lubricate the ring and pinion gears that move power from the driveshaft out to the wheel axles. Changing the differential fluid on a regular basis is just as important as swapping out your engine oil or transmission fluid. Over time, metal-to-metal contact will wear down surfaces in the car and create heat. Without the right fluid lubricating the process, your car will wear down more quickly than it should. How Often Should Differential Fluid Be Changed? In general, you should swap out the differential fluid every 30,000 to 50,000 miles in your vehicle. Bringing your car or truck in for service is necessary to have a fluid change completed. Every differential is different, and some have a drain plug while others require the housing cover to be removed entirely. It can be a very messy job that you shouldn’t try to tackle on your own. When changing out the fluid, we suggest using the best quality gear oil you can afford. Most manufacturer’s manuals contain requirements for the weight and capacity of the tank. If […]

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