What Is Differential Repair and Is It Worth It?

Differential repairs require several stages. First, you must remove the rear differential cover. Then you have to replace the damaged or worn components. Lastly, you need to reseal the differential case and add differential fluid.

But while this may seem like a simple procedure, you need to ensure it’s done correctly. You also might not need to repair your differential. If you’re considering typing “rear differential repair near me” in Google, this article’s for you. In it, we’ll discuss the elements that comprise a differential repair, how much full repair costs, and whether replacing a differential is worth it.

We’ll also cover whether you can drive with a broken differential and how you can perform some self-diagnosis on your differential to uncover whether you need to repair one. Continue reading to learn more about whether you need a differential repair.

What is Differential Repair?

Differential repairs are different than differential rebuilds because only the components that have failed need replaced in a repair. In a rebuild, you have to replace the entire differential system, which is much more time-consuming and costly. 

How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Differential?

Minor differential repairs can cost anywhere between $200-$400. Major repairs that require gear component replacements will be more costly. However, repairs, no matter what you need to replace, are cheaper than full differential replacements. 

Is It Worth Repairing A Differential?

Nearly every differential that contains a damaged component is more effective to repair rather than replace. New differentials fetch a hefty price and involve replacing several components. In the most extreme cases, even damaged housing can be replaced.

How Do You Know Differential Needs Repaired?

You might require a differential repair for several reasons. The symptoms you experience will depend on the issue.

Can You Drive with a Broken Differential?

You should not drive with a broken differential. Depending on the severity of the damage it might be dangerous to drive the vehicle. Minor differential defects such as worn wheel bearings are more tolerant but can also make the vehicle lose control.

What Causes a Differential to Need Repair?

Differentials need repair because the components wear out due to use or a lack of regular maintenance. Either of these can cause the same components to wear out prematurely. Well-maintained differentials should have expected lifetimes for their components but without regular maintenance, the expected lifespan will diminish.

Who Can Repair a Differential?

A differential specialist or differential rebuilder should complete differential repairs. Even minor repairs such as wheel bearings need to be replaced correctly.

Incorrect replacement can lead to the immediate failure of the differential. In such cases, the differential requires repair again. This means you have more time without your vehicle. A differential specialist will also inspect the differential for other potential issues to ensure it remains within the correct specifications.

Does a Differential Leak Need to be Repaired?

Differential leaks should be repaired as it can signify the seal of the differential cover failing and of the leak will likely get worse. Leaking differentials will lose differential fluids and the lubrication within the differential will not be sufficient. This will lead to increased friction and excessive component wear. You should also remember fluid can leak at wheel hubs due to failing seals.

Can You Drive a Vehicle with a Differential Leak?

You might be required to drive a vehicle with a differential leak. If the leak is slow, you might be able to drive the vehicle but must ensure the fluid doesn’t run low. If you are uncertain, top the fluid and then drive the vehicle to the repair shop. Major leaks might be too serious to allow an they might lead to more severe differential damage.

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