What is Differential Oil? How does it work? How often should I get a differential service?
First of all, what is a differential?
The differential is a component in all automobiles designed to compensate for the difference in distance that the inner wheels and outer wheels travel as the car goes around a corner. Basically the differential allows your car to make corners without drama. If both drive wheels rotated together, going around corners would be jerky because the outside tire travels farther than the inside
The differential can be seen by looking under the bumper from the rear. The driveshaft connects to the front of it, and the axles and rear tires come off either side of it.
If you want to know more detail, search the internet. There are some cool pictures and videos of how the gears in a differential work.
What is differential oil?
Differential oil, sometimes referred to as gear oil, is found in the axle housing. It’s thicker than engine oil and is designed to perform under high pressure (gears mashing together, hydraulic nature of clutch packs) rather than high temperatures like engine oil.
How does differential oil work in my vehicle?
As you cruise down the road, the gear oil splashes about lubricating gears, bearings and clutch packs. The differential oil lubricates the ring and pinion gears that transfer power from the driveshaft to the wheel axles. If your car is fitted with a limited-slip differential, it also keeps all the moving parts in that assembly healthy. The purpose of the differential fluid is to cool and lubricate your differential. Without the oil your differential would overheat due to the metal-to-metal contact and burn itself out.
How often do I need to change the differential oil?
Unless the gear oil has been contaminated with water, you should change the differential oil at the time recommended by the owner’s manual of your vehicle. If you don’t have the owner’s manual, we have access at Great Canadian Oil Change to all manufacturers’ recommended service intervals.
Why is it important that I have it changed when recommended?
Changing this oil is just as important as changing your engine’s oil, and for the same reason. Metal-to-metal contact wears down surfaces and creates heat from friction, which inevitably weakens the gears and leads to failure. To keep your differential in optimum condition and to avoid costly repairs, it is best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on when to change the differential oil.
The technicians at Great Canadian Oil Change refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations of the make and model of your vehicle in order to properly service your differential. We will let you know when the recommended service interval has been reached for a change in differential oil. We offer front and rear differential services to help you maintain your vehicle.
The Services menu item on our webpage details all of the services we provide, and provides information that may be helpful to you in making the right choices for your vehicle.