What Will Happen If you Never Change Differential Fluid?

Nothing good will ever happen if you never change the differential fluid. 

Like other oils and fluids, differential fluid is also equally important. And a part of how well your vehicle will move depends on it. 

Anyways! you are here, that tells you want to know what will happen if you never change the differential fluid. 

And I am going to answer that in this very guide along with some other related answers that you must know. 

What is Differential Fluid? 

To understand differential fluid better, you need to understand the Differential first. In case you don’t know what differential is, let me give you a quick heads up. 

The gearbox is mainly called Differential. 

They collaborate with the driveshaft to delivers transmission rotation to the wheels. The differential consists of several gears which is why the differential is called Gearbox. 

Now, what is differential fluid? As differential is called gearbox. Differential fluids are also called gear oil or gear fluid. Differential or gear fluid is found on the axle housing. 

Do you know what they are mostly called fluid instead of oil? That is because the consistency of it is higher. It is thicker than the engine oil and that is why it is called fluid. It sticks with the gear and penetrates as deep as possible. Differential fluid can work under heavy pressure. 

What will happen if you don’t Change Differential Fluid? 

Differential fluid or Gear oil is extremely important for any vehicle since that is what makes sure that the gears or differentials operate smoothly. 

And from time to time differential fluid needs changing and if that doesn’t happen the gear can wear out causing a bunch of problems in the engine. 

Here I will be walking you through some effects of not changing gear oil when needed. 

Whining Noise from Transmission or Differential 

The most common sign that you need to change the differential fluid immediately is when you notice whining noise. 

Not only whining noise, but any kind of noise from the differential or transmission is also a sign that the differential fluid needs to be changed. 

When the differential lacks lubrication, they cause friction and that is what produces the noise. 

The differential might not make any noise even when the fluid level is low. When you hear any noise that means either there isn’t any lubrication at all or the fluid is too dirty. 

The noise will increase with the vehicle speed. One should never underestimate this sign since it can cause some serious damage to the vehicle.  

Transmission Jerking 

When driving if you feel like that the vehicle is jerking or vibrating, that means there is something wrong with the differential. 

Different issues cause transmission jerking but it can also be a sign that you haven’t change the differential oil in a while. 

Like engine oil, differential oil also needs to be changed after a certain amount of time. When the differential fluid is too dirty or the level is too low, you might notice gear or transmission jerking along with noise. 

Sometimes transmission jerking is a symptom of a more serious problem. If changing differential fluid doesn’t solve this issue then you would want to do a thorough checkup. 

Burning Smell 

Not changing differential oil can make the differentials wear off and release a burning smell. This stage is pretty bad, when you smell burning from the gearbox that means the gears or differentials have started to wear off. 

When the gears lack lubrication they can friction which leads to overhearing. 

It also happens that you checked the differential fluid level, okay, but still the differentials are not performing smoothly. 

That is because the differential fluid got too dirty. And when it is dirty it loses its lubrication. 

Apart from this, sometimes when an oil seal starts to leak oil, that also causes a burning smell. But if that happens you will see a kind of reddish stain on the ground where you park the vehicle. 

If you don’t see something like that on the parking spot, then it is probably the differential fluid that needs to be changed immediately. 

Worn out Differential 

If you haven’t changed the differential oil for a very long time, that can cause the vehicle differentials to wear out. 

And when they are worn out too bad, you won’t be able to ride your vehicle. Even if you somehow do there will be loud noises and at some point, the vehicle might not move at all. 

Benefits of Changing Differential Fluid

Differential or gear fluids only do one thing, they lubricate the gear. And the lubrication does the following thing…

  • Keeps the differentials cool so they don’t burn out. 
  • Eliminates the friction that happens because of metal-to-metal contact. 
  • Removes the chances of gears wearing out. It is very expensive to replace the differentials or gears. 
  • Allows the gears or differentials to operate smoothly. 

When the differentials don’t operate properly, that can lead to a bunch of serious issues that won’t be light on the wallet. 

How Often Should You Change Differential Fluid?   

When or how often you need to change the differential fluid of your vehicle that depends on the brand or the manufacturer. 

The user manual should have it but if you don’t find it there it will be best to contact the manufacture. 

Here I can give you a general time frame and that is most of the vehicle requires differential fluid changing after every 30,000 – 50,000 miles of riding. 

And if your manufacturer recommends that, I would suggest don’t wait for crossing 50,000 miles. Once you cross 30,000 miles check the fluid level and the fluid condition. 

If everything seems okay, then you are good to go for more 10,000 to 20,000 miles. Otherwise, change the fluid before your next ride. 

Final Words

Changing the differential fluid on time can save you from a lot of troubles, trust me! You don’t want to mess with that. 

Differential fluid is the most overlooked fluid in the entire vehicle. Most of the time people tend to forget about this. 

So yeah! That is all about it, hope you got what you were looking for!