Changing Your Differential Fluid


Changing your differential fluid is part of a good maintenance plan for your truck or all-wheel drive vehicle.  If your vehicle is front wheel drive, it most likely doesn’t have a differential, but simply a transaxle which is a transmission and differential combined.  A transaxle doesn’t have separate transmission and differential fluid but just uses transmission fluid.

A differential is usually part of an all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive system and splits the single driveshaft input into 2 axles which drive the wheels.  The bearings and gears inside your differential need constant lubrication as do the shaft seals so they don’t wear out prematurely so it’s important to keep the right amount of clean fluid in your differential.

Changing your differential fluid is even easier than changing your oil because there is no filter!  It’s a simple drain and refill operation. The most difficult part of the procedure is finding out how much and what type of fluid your differential requires.  You can start by looking in your owner’s manual for the type of fluid your vehicle requires. Most differentials take simple gear oil ranging in weight from 75w-90 to 75w-140. It’s important to make sure the fluid you use matches the temperature you plan on operating your vehicle in.  

Some vehicles use specialty fluids like Hondas and Acuras that use Honda’s VTM-4 differential fluid.  Similarly, if your vehicle has a limited slip differential, it’s important to make sure you also add the factory recommended friction modifier to help the clutch packs operate properly.

Once you’ve got the right fluid for your differential you simply fill the differential until the fluid runs out of the filler hole.  If the fill hole is in a tight spot you may need to use a long funnel, or fluid pump and hose to get the fluid into the differential.

Our last tip for changing your differential fluid is to make sure your differential is sealed before you refill it.  In the video above the differential has a drain plug so emptying is easy. Some differentials need to have the cover removed to drain the fluid so it’s important to replace the gasket and properly torque the cover bolts before refilling it.  If you use a liquid gasket maker to seal the cover make sure it is completely dry before refilling it. If you’ve got a leaky seal, add BlueDevil Oil Stop Leak to the fluid when you refill it to seal the leaks and keep your new fluid where it belongs.

You can pick up BlueDevil Oil Stop Leak at one of your local auto parts stores like:

  • AutoZone
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • Bennett Auto Supply
  • CarQuest Auto Parts
  • NAPA Auto Parts
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts
  • Pep Boys
  • Fast Track
  • Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
  • S&E Quick Lube Distributor
  • DYK Automotive
  • Fisher Auto Parts stores
  • Auto Plus Auto Parts stores
  • Hovis Auto & Truck Supply stores
  • Salvo Auto Parts
  • Advantage Auto Stores
  • Genuine Auto Parts stores
  • Bond Auto Parts stores
  • Tidewater Fleet Supply
  • Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts
  • Any Part Auto Parts
  • Consumer Auto Parts

Pictures Provided By:

differntial_fluid,jpg – By Wattanaphob – Licensed By Getty Images – Original Link