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A Guide to Front and Rear Differential Fluid Service

Do I need a differential fluid flush? What does differential fluid do? When it comes to differential fluid changes, this service often raises a lot of questions from drivers. The professional auto service mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire are here with insight.

Mechanic Insights: What is a Vehicle Differential? 

Before we dive into differential fluid service, let’s unpack one common question we get from drivers, “What is a vehicle differential?” A car’s differential allows the wheels to spin at different speeds. While you might think your wheels all spin together, this is an essential feature required for driving—especially while turning.

Why? Imagine making a sharp right turn around a street corner. Your left wheel will have to travel a great distance to make this turn happen, while your right wheel only moves slightly. For your vehicle to move at a constant speed, your wheels need to accommodate this rotational difference. 

Illustration of tires moving in a right turn

What Does Differential Fluid Do?

Differential systems rely on a variety of moving parts, like gears, bearings, and more. They keep your wheels moving properly through every twist, turn, and winding road your vehicle comes across. This process generates a lot of heat while requiring the proper flow of parts moving together. As such, differential systems require fluid to lubricate, cool, and protect these components. 

Over time, this fluid becomes depleted, contaminated, and ineffective—which is why your vehicle will require occasional differential fluid changes. 

How Does Differential Fluid Replacement Work?

During a differential fluid replacement, a professional auto service mechanic will remove old, contaminated fluid out of your front or rear differential. By flushing out any contaminated fluid, they can ensure your service lasts as long as possible. Then, they replenish the differential with clean, fresh fluid.

Do I Need a Differential Fluid Flush?

On average, vehicles need new differential fluid every 40,000-60,000 miles. However, every car has different requirements, so it is important to check your owner’s manual for recommendations specific to your vehicle. When all else fails, one of the most reliable ways to tell if you need a differential fluid flush is by checking with your local auto service mechanic. Your driving patterns and the roads in your area can impact how frequently you need new differential fluid. As such, professional insight is key to getting the services you need. 

Differential Fluid Service at Chapel Hill Tire

When you are due for a rear or front differential fluid change, the professional auto mechanics are here for you! We proudly serve the greater Triangle area with our 9 locations across Apex, Raleigh, Durham, Carrboro, and Chapel Hill. We are also convenient to nearby areas, including Wake Forest, Pittsboro, Cary, and beyond. We invite you to make your appointment here online, browse our coupons page, or give our experts a call to get started today!

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