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Rear Differential Service

Omkar Phatak
This post talks about the servicing of an important automobile component, which is the rear differential. Read to know about the details of the procedure, along with the cost involved.
Car maintenance is no child's play. It takes a lot of effort to keep your machine up and running. One of the many maintenance jobs that you need to dutifully carry out, to sustain the performance of your machine, is rear differential servicing.

About Rear Differential

The motive power that sets an engine in motion is combustion of fuel, which sets the engine pistons in motion. This oscillatory motion of the engine piston is converted into torque, by the use of the crankshaft mechanism. This torque is not directly transmitted to the wheels. If that would have been the case, you would have a one-speed car, with no variation possible.
This torque, from the crankshaft, is transmitted via the drive shaft and transmission, through the rear differential, to the wheels. It controls the amount of torque applied to the wheels. It also makes it possible for the wheels to have different spinning speeds. At turns, the wheel on the turning side slows down, while the other wheel moves faster. This is made possible by the differential mechanism.
It is the pumpkin shaped mechanism that you see at the back of the car. Cars may have front or rear differential drives. For the smooth functioning of the gear mechanism, it is bathed in a lubrication fluid. Noise or leak in the differential indicates that fluid levels are down and you need to get it serviced.

What Does the Service Involve?

The objective of this maintenance task is a complete overhaul of the mechanism. This primarily involves a fluid change. The procedure is time-consuming but simple and straight forward in principle. The drain plug of the differential is removed and all the fluid is drained. After a thorough cleaning, the fluid is replaced again. Other than that, its gears are cleaned for any accumulated dirt, in the form of metal shavings.
A thorough cleaning and regular maintenance can prolong the life of the mechanism quite substantially, by reducing the noise, as well as wear and tear. This job is best left to professionals, if you want it to be done properly. However, if you are a car repair professional, you might pull it off on your own. Refer to the appropriate Hayne's manual for your car, to know the details of the procedure. It is better to bear the cost of service, than pay for a replacement. Since the cost can be quite high, the former option is a better one.


The cost of maintenance varies and depends a lot on the make of the car and where you get it done. The service cost varies from USD 10 to USD 40. Inquire at your local car repair center, for precise information.
To conclude, servicing the differential is an essential procedure that should be carried out, once in a while, to maintain the efficiency of the car part. Proper lubrication is essential to prolong the service life of any type of machinery.