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Whether you drive a truck or a rear-wheel drive SUV, you have a rear differential in place. Also known as a “rear end”, the rear differential is an important component of your vehicle’s drivetrain. It’s responsible for translating the rotation of the driveshaft into directional power to the rear wheels. In a rear-wheel drive setup, the power is generated at the engine, is transferred to the transmission, and then sent from the transmission to the differential via the driveshaft. Once at the differential, a series of gears redirects the power 90 degrees and delivers it to each rear wheel via the axle.

Like all other moving parts in your vehicle, the differential requires fluid. Differential fluid, or gear dope as it’s sometimes called, is much thicker than engine oil or transmission fluid (it’s usually 80W90 lubricant, but many other formulations are used as well). You’ll need to consult your owner’s manual or ask a trusted mechanic what weight is recommended for your specific vehicle.

Like engine oil and transmission fluid, your differential fluid needs to be changed from time to time. With heat and use, it loses its ability to lubricate the gears within the differential. Most mechanic shops in Weston, Florida, will recommend that you change your differential fluid roughly every 15,000 miles, though this will vary. If you put your vehicle through a lot of hard use, you’ll need to change it more frequently.

While changing your differential fluid isn’t particularly difficult, you should ensure that your maintenance is being handled by a reputable Weston mechanic shop. Many different problems can crop up with your differential, from chipped gears to leaking seals and more, and only an experienced mechanic with plenty of knowhow and experience will be able to spot those issues and repair them as soon as possible.

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