The differentials perform many different chores. That said, their primary job is to transmit the engine’s torque to the tires. Basically, differentials draw power from the car’s engine and split it, enabling the car tires to spin at different speeds to improve handling.
In other words, it allows each tire to operate independently of each other, permitting a car to turn easily when it’s approaching a corner. As you can tell, it does a simple but very important job.
Therefore, they are found in all cars. The vehicles of today are built with either a front or a rear differential or both. That said, four-wheel vehicles have both front and rear differentials.
How Much Will I Pay For The Rear Differential Replacement?
The typical cost for rear differential repair is between $200 to $800. Of course, how much you will pay would depend on the scale of restoration. Sometimes, you may have to repair a lot of parts. If a new gear set is needed at the time of repair, the repair cost will bump up to $1600 or higher.
|Mr. Tire||$400 – $1600
If the differential cannot be fixed with a minor or a major repair, then replacement would be the only option. In such a scenario, the cost would be relatively higher. You can expect an expense of anywhere around $1000 to $4000, depending on the car you drive.
Important Pointers: Whether you need to repair or replace the rear differential will depend on your mechanic’s suggestion, your wallet, and, of course, the scale of damage. If a simple repair can get the job done, then you can consider yourself lucky.
If a heavy repair worth thousands of dollars is needed, then you may have to think whether or not it’s worth spending that kind of money on repair work, especially if your car is too old. Believe it or not, there are times when the rear differential repair/replacement cost can end up being more than the resale value of the car.
In such a scenario, it’s better to sell your car in its current condition and walk away with the cash you get for it.
What Causes Differential Failure?
Differentials are one of the strongest components of a car. But then, they do have a taxing job. So, they can wear down with age/use. In other words, they are susceptible to damage. That said, scheduled maintenance at periodical intervals can prolong their lifespan to a great extent.
Upon care, differentials can actually last a lifetime. Natural wear and tear aside, the use of wrong or low-quality lubricants can also cause differential failure.
What Are The Symptoms of a Failing Differential?
- You will face a hard time handling the vehicle, especially when your car is approaching a corner. This is because the tires will lose their ability to adjust to the speed.
- You will hear high-pitched noises from the car. This usually happens due to the lack of lubrication, which causes a fluid leak. Basically, you will hear weird noises, indicating you of fuel loss.
- Damaged wheels are another common symptom of a failing differential. When the differentials fail, you will notice excessive wear and tear on the inner tires. They will wear out quickly due to faster rotation.
- A faulty differential can also cause the driveshaft to vibrate a lot. The vibration will worsen whenever you accelerate. In all the above scenarios, it’s important to get the differentials (front and rear) checked to work out a solution.
How to Maintain the Rear Differential?
To keep the rear differential working smoothly, proper lubrication is a must. You need to refer to the owner manual to check the suggested interval for differential fluid change. Generally speaking, the recommended interval for differential fluid change is 25,000 to 40,000 miles.
Of course, there could be some variations, depending on the car you own. Therefore, you should take a look at the owner manual to confirm the ideal service interval.
If the fluid change is not done at a periodic interval, your car won’t run very smoothly. Of course, you should also ensure that the oil in use is of good quality and is filled to the level suggested by the car manufacturer.
If you keep the above pointers in mind, you will be able to prevent the gears from wearing or burning out. The good news is that it’s very easy to check the differential fluid level and condition.
You simply need to open the filler plug and insert your finger in the hole filler to inspect the fluid level and condition.
Rear Differential Repair/Replacement Procedure Explained:
To begin with, the kind of work needed to fix the issue would depend entirely on the extent of the damage. Yes, there are quite a few potential fixes to the problem. In some cases, the issue can be fixed by simply changing the fluid, which will take no more than half an hour.
Other times, it can take several hours, especially when the mechanic detects that a lot of parts need to be replaced. Usually, the car technician will take the wheels off to remove the affected parts to replace them with the new parts and then put the wheels back to where they belong.
Finally, the technician will inspect his work by taking the car out for a road test.
How to Save Money on Rear Differential Replacement Cost?
Given the high-cost involved in acquiring the new part, it’s not a bad idea to shop for used parts. This isn’t to say that you should get a rusted part just because it’s selling at a dirt-cheap price.
The idea is to get a used part in good condition to reduce the replacement cost significantly. At the same time, the used part must be good enough to last long. You can also save money by doing the repair job yourself.
But then, only folks with some mechanical experience should attempt this job because of how complex it is.
Good mechanical skills aside, you will also need some sophisticated tools to replace a damaged rear differential. So, don’t turn this into a DIY project, unless you think that you are truly up to it.