Service Front Differential Cost in 2022

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In Ashburn, people who book through CarAdvise save $0 on average for Front Differential Service. Lock in this price now.

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National average cost of a Front Differential Service
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What is a front differential and how does it work?

A front differential is a drivetrain component in rear-wheel-drive and some all-wheel-drive vehicles. The differential is a gearbox located at or near the center of the front axle where it is attached to the driveshaft. There, a series of gears changes the direction of the rotational movement of the driveshaft, turning it ninety degrees and out toward the wheels. A differential gets its name because it also allows each of the attached axles (and wheels) to turn at different rates of speed to accommodate your vehicle in turns. Without that ability, your tires would drag or skid rather than roll smoothly along the ground.

How do I know if my vehicle needs a front differential service?

Front differential problems are most commonly a result of excessive wear. If your differential is wearing out or fails, you might notice one or more of the following signs

The differential case is getting excessively hot

You feel vibrations coming from the rear of your vehicle

You hear growling or grinding noises coming from the differential while driving

You see gear oil leaking from the differential

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How is this service performed

How is a Front Differential Service done?

Front differential service is not very different from that of an oil change. While the procedure varies from one vehicle make and model to the next, the steps are similar. First, a drain plug is removed to allow the gear oil to escape. A technician collects the old oil for disposal or recycling. Once the old lubricant is fully drained, the drain plug is reinserted, and fresh gear oil is pumped into a different inspection/fill hole in the differential to the proper level. Some differentials do not feature a drain plug. Instead, these models require that the front differential cover plate be removed in order to drain the old fluid. When this is the case, the service is more complex and often requires other parts to be purchased, such as a new gasket for the cover. On the other hand, this procedure also allows the technician to inspect the inside of the differential.

OTHER QUESTIONS CUSTOMERS ASK

What happens if I don't change my differential fluid?
If you don't change your differential fluid, it eventually degrades and breaks down. When that happens, it will no longer protect the seals and moving parts the way fresh fluid does. This results in premature wear of the bearings and gears, which ultimately leads to axle failure.
How long do differentials last?
Most differentials will outlast the life of the vehicle if proper maintenance is performed on them at the specified intervals. It is not uncommon for a small part of the differential to need replacement after a while such as a wheel seal or wheel bearing, however the main gears of the differential will usually outlast the vehicle.
Is front differential service necessary?
Yes. Just like the moving parts in your engine need oil, the gears in the differential would make metal-to-metal contact without sufficient lubrication. While some amount of wear is inevitable, gear oil in the differential ensures that excessive wear does not occur. Over time, the gear oil breaks down and no longer lubricates as it should. It also picks up tiny fragments of metal and other debris that can cause premature wear. Therefore, it is necessary to change the gear oil regularly.

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