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Baltimore & Cockeysville Auto Repair

What are the Symptoms of Bad Differential/Gear Oil?

Differential oil, which is also known as gear oil, is thicker compared to engine oil. As a lubricating oil, gear oil prevents vehicles' metallic components from damage and increases their overall performance. The oil also makes it easy for cars to make corners in a hassle-free way.

The heavy-duty automobile fluid works under high pressure to ensure that all the gears, clutch packs, and bearings are continuously oiled, keeping all the differentials working smoothly and safely.

If the gear oil runs out or gets dirty or water contaminated, the metal components can end up permanently damaged. To avoid damaging the transmissions, clutch packs, and differentials, you have to look out for the symptoms of bad gear oil.

Burning Smell from the Differential

When you notice a bad smell coming from your gearbox, you should take it as a sign of bad differential oil which can be contaminated hence not operating as it should be. The bad smell is an indication that the gearbox is overheating because the lubricating oil is either finished or dirty and cannot oil the gears properly.

The oil can also be expired or too old to lubricate any vehicle parts, causing the same bad smell because the metals will be burning due to metal-to-metal friction. Once you realize that your differential oil is contaminated, the next step is to replace it immediately.

Weird Noises

Another symptom of a bad differential oil is whirring, whining, or howling strange noises, indicating that the metal part, clutches, gears, and differentials have not been lubricated due to a dirty lack of clean oil.


If you are driving and feeling unusual vibrations, this may be a sign of a bad differential or gear oil. However, it can be a sign of other automotive issues that a professional mechanic may need to check.

The strange noises increase whenever your vehicle makes a turn and when it increases in speed. For that reason, you should take your vehicle to a reliable and professional mechanic to do the necessary inspections and fix the problem.

To repair the gears and other metallic parts, our professional and trained mechanics can handle the task. If you need differential repair, give our auto repair shop a call today!

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