Rear Differential Replacement vs. Repair

Rear Differential Replacement vs. Repair

March 7, 2022

Your vehicle needs attention. More specifically, the rear differential needs work. Should you choose differential replacement or repair? This depends on several factors.

Let’s take a look at what you should consider.

Signs of a bad differential

A differential consists of internal gears and bearings. If it’s not working properly, you may need gear replacement or other repairs. The first thing you need to know is what to look for to determine if your differential is having issues. Watch for the following signs:

  • Whirring noises when you decelerate
  • Whining noises when you accelerate
  • Whirring noises that change when you turn
  • Clunking noises when you first move the vehicle
  • Steady vibrations that worsen as you accelerate
  • Leak at the axle seals

If your rear differential fails while you’re on the road, you may experience a complete loss of power or control. To avoid this situation, keep an eye out for the above warning signs that your differential is going bad, and then consider your repair or replacement options.

Types of differential repair

Depending on what is wrong with the differential, you may need one or more of the following repairs:

  • Gasket replacement: The seal inside the differential cover may have deteriorated and may need to be replaced.
  • Pinion seal replacement: This component is situated around the yoke, which is in front of the driveshaft.
  • Side seal replacement: One or both of the side seals that prevent oil leaks may need to be replaced.
  • Bearing replacement: The side and pinion bearings wear out over time and may need to be replaced.
  • Gear replacement: The teeth on the differential gears can become worn or chipped and require gear replacement.
  • Complete replacement: In some cases, the parts cannot be repaired. You may need to have the rear differential replaced entirely, along with all of its housing, bearings, seals, fluids and gears.

Repair or replace?

Each of the repairs listed above varies in cost. For example, some seals are easy to access and can be replaced without much investment. On the other hand, bearing replacements can take several hours to replace and require special tools to complete the repair. This can add up to a costly mechanic bill. Depending on the complexity of the repair, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $1,500 for repairs. Total replacements usually cost up to $4,000 for all new parts.

To determine whether you should invest in a new rear differential or make a differential repair, consult with an experienced mechanic. Determine the estimated cost of the repair, and compare this to the value of your vehicle as well as the cost of a new differential to see how best to invest your money.

Consult with the pros

For any questions about differential repair, contact the experts at Auto Truck Service Inc. We’ve been serving satisfied customers since 1978. Our knowledgeable staff will get to the bottom of your issue and get you back out on the road in no time. Reach us today at 425-258-3634 with any questions about gear replacement or other differential repairs.

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