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enjerhoo 09-23-2013 11:02 AM

Diff fluid change interval - reality check.
I call foul on Chrysler's fluid change interval recommendations. :rant:

I do mostly highway driving (56 miles / day minimum) with some towing (1-2 times a month maybe) and not as much wheeling as I would like relative to the 32000 miles I have on her.

At 18K, my RR wheel seal & bearing went out. :whacky: It was covered under warantee obviously but the dealer did not change the diff fluid in the process. :crazy: They recommended I change both front and rear as well as the PS fluid. They were going to charge 240-ish for the diffs. :nonono: The PS fluid was nice & pink so I passed. I picked up some AMSOIL on the way home & did the diffs myself that night - kind of a no brainer after a bearing failure. The front was still light brown.

I was planning to change the ATF and transfer case this weekend so I got a few quarts of AMSOIL & went ahead & got some more diff fluid just in case. It can always stay on the shelf for later use & my AMSOIL membership is almost over so might as well stock up. SURPRISE. The ATF is still nice and pink (as is the PS fluid BTW) but the diff fluid was excessively dark & had some sludge on the drain plug. No water fording unless you consider 2-4" at 5mph water fording.

I have always thought 15K was the correct interval to change the diff fluid. I followed that on Ford 9" and Chevy 12 bolts as well as 3/4 ton axles since I was a kid. I now say the extended intervals are Chrysler's way of making the components go out just after warantee (I am sure everything would last until then) in hopes of increasing sales. Glad I overkill my oil change interval too.

Moral of the story: Grandpa was right. Change your diff fluid more frequently than the manual indicates. It's no longer credible. I will be on the 12K regiment now.

1quick1 09-23-2013 11:06 AM


enjerhoo 09-23-2013 11:14 AM


I was just a bit annoyed given what the manual says - as well as the dealer.

Why make a good product that will last? Make it unserviceable so that it will fall apart and then sell more.

1quick1 09-23-2013 11:54 AM

I understand. If I remember correctly does the dealer recommend 60k differential intervals?

enjerhoo 09-23-2013 11:56 AM

Something like that. It's ridiculously long. My manual is at home at the moment.

1quick1 09-23-2013 12:32 PM

Hmmm well from your experience maybe I'll have to change mine a bit sooner than expected!

285 HP 09-23-2013 12:34 PM

The manual also call's for never changing the auto trans fluid....not me, I will change at 60,000.

enjerhoo 09-23-2013 12:52 PM


Originally Posted by 1quick1 (Post 4794793)
Hmmm well from your experience maybe I'll have to change mine a bit sooner than expected!

Might as well check your gear oil too since you have a stick. It can't hurt.

Latex gloves are your friend. I usually don't care about the odor from engine oil but the smell of gear oil, even fresh, gets me kicked out of the house.

BlackOpsJeep 09-23-2013 12:55 PM

With the diff fluid, you can easily check it yourself at will. If it's black, change it. If you can still see light through it like that amber color it originally was, you're good. I change mine every 15K roughly. Unless you do any off-roading, the front won't require as much changing intervals.

i82much 09-23-2013 12:58 PM

21 Attachment(s)
Plenty of vehicles go over 100k without changing the differential oil. Not saying it's the best practice, but it happens. More often than not, everything is fine for a long time. Eventually that practice will catch up with you if you keep the vehicle long enough. Still, if you are going to trade in before 100k, I'd say most of the time you can get there on the original diff fluid and maybe tranny fluid too.

Again, not a recommendation by any means.

Blastek 09-23-2013 02:40 PM

12k for diffs.. I guess it's your money and time. I'm going to change the fluid out now (24k) and not touch them for another 100k.

hair2831 09-23-2013 03:03 PM

It is so easy and cheap to do, why would you not change it more regularly?

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