Reno drivers sometimes ask how often their differential fluid should be changed. Many go through their car’s lifetime without ever knowing what a differential does. So what exactly does your differential do and how often should its fluids be replaced?
What does the differential do?
Ever watched race cars go down a track? They always seem to bunch up towards the inside of every turn. This is because doing so allows them to travel the shortest distance in a turn. Taking the outside of a turn means they lose out to other cars traveling the same speed.
Well, the same principle applies to your car’s wheels on a smaller scale. A differential allows the outside wheels to spin faster than inside wheels when making turns. Without it, the outside wheels get dragged through a turn by the inside wheels. Resistance from this is equally rough on the tires and the car’s drivetrain. Differential fluid is a viscous fluid meant to keep a differential’s gears lubricated no matter how fast they spin during a turn.
How often should I replace the differential fluid?
Most car manufacturers will recommend the differential fluid be changed between 30,000 miles (~48,000 km) and 50,000 miles (~80,000 km) for rear differentials. Be sure to check your vehicle’s manual for the manufacturer stated mileage. Replacing the fluid is messy work and should be done by a licensed mechanic at a Reno auto repair shop like those at Wayne’s Automotive Center. Besides draining the fluid, it must be disposed of properly and the various parts inside wiped clean to prevent contaminants from the old fluid getting into the new. Also, a new gasket may be required. Because the differential is under the car changing the fluid often requires a lift.
If you have further questions about changing your car’s differential fluid feel free to ask the friendly professionals at Wayne’s Automotive Center.