Differential Repair

What is Differential Repair?

a differential being repaired

If you have a damaged differential repairing it is a great cost-effective solution. In some cases, you are able to tell if your differential needs repair just by sound. If your differential does need repair it consists of a few steps. These include removing the rear differential cover and replacing any worn-out or damaged components. Then we will reseal the rear differential gears and case cover. Finally, we add new differential fluid.

Differential repairs and differential rebuilds differ in what components we replace. For a differential repair, we replace only the broken or worn-out components. A rebuild would instead have all its consumable components evaluated and/or replaced.

How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Differential?

A differential repair can cost from $200-$400 for minor repairs. But, more major repairs where differential gear components need to be replaced can cost more. The actual cost will depend on the vehicle type and the components that need replacing. But, the cost of repair is still cheaper than replacing the differential. This answers our next questions:

Is It Worth Repairing A Differential?

In almost every scenario of a damaged differential, it is more cost-effective to repair a differential than to replace it. A new replacement differential, if available, comes at a high cost. Also, the differential housing usually does not need to be replaced. This means that a repair only involves the internal components. But, in extreme cases repairing a damaged rear differential housing is possible. If you have any questions, contact the experts at Houston Rebuilt Axles to discuss your options.

What Are The Symptoms That A Differential Needs Repair?

You may need a differential repair for a variety of reasons. The symptoms experienced will depend on the issue the differential is experiencing. For example, needing to replace a pinion bearing, or there is a differential fluid leak. Also, you may need to repair to replace your axle shafts. These issues may need a complete rear differential replacement in extreme cases. For a list of the symptoms a differential can present, see our troubleshooting rear axle problems page.

broken differential gear

Can You Drive With A Broken Differential?

It is not recommended to drive a vehicle with a broken differential. Depending on how severe the damage to the differential is, it could be very dangerous to drive the vehicle. Minor differential defects such as worn wheel bearings are more tolerant to driving for a short time. But, major defects could cause the vehicle to lose control.

What Causes A Differential To Need Repair?

Differentials need repair for two main reasons:

  • First, a differential has many components that simply wear out with use. These include all the rotating components within the differential housing. As these components will wear out in time, and because of this they are consumable components.
  • The second reason is through lack of regular maintenance. This can cause any of the same components to wear out prematurely. Well-maintained differentials should have an expected lifespan for its components. But, without regular maintenance, the expected lifespan will most likely not be achieved.

Who Can Repair A Differential?

When possible a differential specialist or differential rebuilder should do rear differential repair. Even minor rear differential repairs can lead to the failure of the differential. This includes repairs like replacing the wheel bearings. If that gets damaged by an improper repair then you will need to take your differential or rear differential in for repairs. This means you will be without your vehicle for even longer. Also, specialists for rear differential repair can find other issues that might need repairs with your differential.

Can I Use A Differential Repair Kit?

repaired differential installed

Although differential rebuild kits may seem convenient, having the components to repair a differential is only half the battle. Installation is the most important part of differential repair. Improper installation leads to failure of the new components and damage to other components. Differentials are all about specs and tolerances. A differential install will fail when components are not installed in the right way. This will then lead to added costs for yet another repair.

Does A Differential Leak Need To Be Repaired?

Repairing a differential leak in vital as it shows that the seal of the differential cover is failing and the leak will get worse. A leaking differential will lose differential fluid. This means the lubrication within the differential is not sufficient leading to increased friction and excessive component wear. Remember that fluid can also leak at the wheel hubs, again due to failing seals.

Can You Drive A Vehicle With A Differential Leak?

differential leak

It may be necessary to drive a vehicle with a differential leak such as taking it for repair. If the leak is slow, you can drive the vehicle but ensure the fluid is not running low. If required, top up the fluid and then drive it to the repair shop. A major leak may be too serious to allow driving the vehicle and only lead to more serious differential damage.

How Do You Know A Differential Seal Is Leaking?

You can tell a leaking differential by a seeping dark fluid usually at a joint between two components. For example, between the differential housing and differential cover. More major leaks can create gear fluid puddles under the differential of the vehicle when stationary.

How Long Does A Differential Repair Take?

a leaking differential cover

An experienced differential repair specialist can repair a differential within a regular workday if everything required is at hand. But, a rebuild could take longer depending on certain factors. For example, if the differential rebuild requires machining. Also, repairs are usually much quicker.

When Should A Differential Be Replaced Instead Of Repaired?

A differential only needs to be replaced once the differential housing is beyond repair. With so many options for factory and aftermarket components available, repairs are both the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly option.

Why Do Differential Seals Fail?

Seals fail over time as their sealing components get hard or disintegrate. Another reason they can fail is due to improper installation or removal of components around them.

Houston Rebuilt Axles Differential Repair Service

Our experts at Houston Rebuilt Axles are here to help you with all differential repair and remanufacture issues. If you are in need of help, contact us and we will help you. We also are able to rebuild and repair rear differentials and axles.

We even perform modifications to differentials and axles. Let us know how we can help!