When your vehicle makes a turn, the outer wheel has to cover a greater distance than the inner wheel, necessitating the two wheels to rotate at different speeds. Your car differential is a mechanical component responsible for allowing the left and right wheels to rotate at varying speeds, enabling smooth turns.

Located between the two front wheels, the differential is connected to each wheel by the axle. In 4WDs, a separate differential exists for each pair of wheels, linked through a transfer case.

Our experienced technicians can complete a full service of your vehicle differentials in our Balcatta workshop. Get in touch to enquire today.




What is a Car Differential Service?

A car differential service is a maintenance procedure performed to ensure the proper functioning and longevity of the differential in a vehicle. The differential is a mechanical component that allows the left and right wheels to rotate at different speeds, which is crucial for smooth turns and overall vehicle performance.

The differential contains gears, bearings, shafts, and other internal components that require lubrication to function efficiently and prevent wear.

Differential fluid provides lubrication to the gears, bearings, shafts, and other internal components. Heat, pressure, and friction can slowly break down the additives in the differential fluid.

During a car differential service, the following steps are typically taken:

  1. Inspection: The technician begins by visually inspecting the differential for any signs of leaks, damage, or wear. This helps identify any potential issues that may require further attention.
  2. Draining the old fluid: The technician drains the old, potentially contaminated differential fluid from the unit. Over time, heat, pressure, and friction can degrade the additives in the fluid, and particles of metal and clutch material can mix with the fluid as they wear off.
  3. Cleaning and inspection of internal components: The technician may remove the car’s differential cover to inspect and clean the gears, bearings, shafts, and other internal components. This step helps identify any worn or damaged parts that may need replacement.
  4. Refilling with new fluid: The differential is then refilled with the manufacturer-recommended type and quantity of new fluid. The fresh fluid provides proper lubrication to the internal components, ensuring smooth operation and reducing the risk of wear and damage.
  5. Reassembly and testing: The technician reassembles the differential, ensuring all components are properly installed and secure. A test drive is performed to confirm that the differential is functioning correctly and efficiently.

Regular differential service can help extend the life of your vehicle’s drivetrain, improve overall performance, and reduce the chance of costly repairs and differential rebuilds in the future.

It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals and consult a professional transmission technician if you suspect any issues with your vehicle’s differential.


Front vs Rear Differential Service

The primary difference between a front or rear differential service lies in the location of the differential on the vehicle and the type of vehicle drive system. Here’s a brief overview of the two.


Front Differential Service

A front differential service is performed on the front differential of an all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive vehicle. The front differential is responsible for distributing power from the engine to the front wheels, allowing them to rotate at different speeds during turns for smooth handling.

In this service, the technician will inspect, drain, and refill the front differential fluid, ensuring that the internal components are properly lubricated and functioning optimally.


Rear Differential Service

A rear differential service is performed on the rear differential of four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive vehicles. The rear differential distributes power from the driveshaft to the rear wheels, allowing them to rotate at different speeds when the vehicle turns.

The rear differential service involves inspecting, draining, and refilling the rear differential fluid, and maintaining the proper lubrication and functioning of the internal components.

While both services involve similar procedures, the primary difference is the location of the differential being serviced (front versus rear) and the type of drive system the vehicle has (FWD, RWD, 4WD, or AWD). It’s important to perform regular differential services on both front and rear differentials, as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your vehicle’s drive system.


Signs You May Need a Differential Service

There are several signs that may indicate your vehicle needs a differential service. Paying attention to these warning signs can help you address potential issues before they turn into more significant problems.

Here are some common signs that you may need a differential service:

  1. Strange noises: If you hear unusual noises coming from the differential, such as humming, whining, or grinding sounds, it may be a sign that the components are worn or damaged, or that the differential fluid is low or contaminated.
  2. Leaking fluid: If you notice fluid leaking from the differential, it may be a sign that the seals are damaged, or the differential cover is cracked. Leaks can lead to insufficient lubrication of the internal components, which may cause wear and damage.
  3. Poor handling: If you experience difficulty turning or handling your vehicle, it could be a sign of a differential issue. This may manifest as vibrations, difficulty steering, or unusual tire wear patterns.
  4. Vibrations or shuddering: If you feel vibrations or shuddering when accelerating or turning, it could be a sign of worn or damaged differential components, such as gears or bearings.
  5. Reduced fuel efficiency: A malfunctioning differential can negatively impact your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, as the engine may have to work harder to compensate for the lack of proper power distribution to the wheels.
  6. Burning smell: If you notice a burning smell coming from your vehicle, it may indicate that the differential fluid is overheating due to low levels or contamination. Overheating can cause damage to the differential components and lead to more severe issues.

If you notice any of these signs, it is essential to consult a professional transmission technician for a thorough inspection and differential service.


Make an Enquiry with Automatic Transmissions R Us

To schedule a differential service appointment with Automatic Transmissions R Us, contact us and provide details about your vehicle and any concerns you may have. Our team of skilled technicians will thoroughly inspect your vehicle’s differential, perform the necessary service, and provide recommendations for any additional maintenance or repairs.

To find out more about our differential service offerings, contact Automatic Transmissions R Us at or phone (08) 9240 5449.

Contact Auto Trans R Us Today!