Mechanic performing a differential repair on a car

What Is a Differential Repair and How to Prevent Failure: A Guide

Did you know that the cost of a differential repair can vary between $200 all the way up to $800 and that the average lifespan can be as low as 7 years? Now more than ever, it's important to not only service your differential but to look out for signs that it may be failing!


Are you wondering how you can prevent a differential failure? Keep on reading and find out more!

 

What Is a Differential Repair?


In order to prevent a differential from failing, it's important to know exactly what a differential is and what it does. A differential is a system of gears that allow different wheels on the same axle to rotate at different speeds.


In other words, the engine turns a prop shaft that turns a set of gears that turn the wheels and cause the vehicle to move.


Some vehicles have more than one differential (for example, vehicles that are 4 wheel driven), and with any metal component that moves, proper lubrication and servicing are needed to keep it from going wrong.


Servicing a Differential


One sure way to prevent a differential from going wrong is to keep up with the prescribed maintenance scheduled by the manufacturer. Not all differentials need to be serviced at the exact same mileage, and some research will need to be done to find out exactly when it needs to be serviced. Likewise, you can ask an auto repair shop.


At the service, it's important to use the correct grade of differential oil and to check if any seals are leaking. A differential service can be done at home, but it is inadvisable to do so if you don't have past experience.

 

How to Spot a Faulty Differential


The two easiest ways to know if your differential is faulty and will soon be time for a differential repair are noise and leaking.


In order to spot if your differential is leaking, place a piece of flat cardboard under the differential where your car is parked up for the night. If there is a red liquid that almost looks like brake fluid in the morning, you might have a leak.


The more obvious sign is if there is a noise coming from the underbelly of your vehicle.


At times it may be difficult to recognize that it might be your differential making noise, but if you hear a howling like sound, whining noise that comes and goes, it might be your differential. If in doubt, take it to an expert where they will be able to diagnose it for you.


Stay on Top of Your Differential


Maintenance and service before you even need differential repair is key; it will keep it in good health for many years to come and more often than not, a costly repair can be avoided.


Are you still not sure what to do to keep your differential in tip-top shape? At Dot transmissions, we specialize in servicing and repairing any diff on any vehicle! Visit us, and we will take care of everything!

 

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