Differential Service & Repair

Denver’s Differential Repair Shop

The team at Advanced Transmission Center has inspected, serviced, and repaired countless differentials and transfer cases. In addition, we will inspect U-joints that help secure your driveshaft to the differential. We’re Geared For Customer Success. We encourage you to call in for a free TrueTest Inspection at any of our locations.

What Is the Differential

What Is the Differential?

Put simply, the differential allows for wheels on the same axle to spin at different speeds, which is particularly important when making turns. This is important because the outside tire must travel a longer distance (and therefore at a faster speed) relative to the inside tire when taking a turn.

Where Is the Differential

Where Is the Differential?

Often the differential is referred to as “the rear end,” but this is somewhat misleading. On a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, there is a large pumpkin-shaped item on the middle of the axle; that is the differential. However, on front-wheel drive vehicles, the differential is actually built within the transmission. To be more precise, a transmission is technically called a transaxle on front-wheel drive vehicles. There is also the case where a vehicle has 4-wheel drive capabilities. In this case, there are differentials in the front and back. In addition, there is a transfer case that accommodates for differing speeds between the front and rear wheels.

symptoms of a bad differential

What Are Symptoms of a Bad Differential?

Noise from your axles could be one indicator of a differential in need of repair. Also, if the vehicle is not turning properly and feels as if it is momentarily locking up, this is a sign to immediately schedule an inspection from an expert. Untreated, these symptoms only get worse and may lead to a dangerous failure while operating the vehicle.

fluid in differential

Why Is Fluid Important Within a Differential or Transfer Case?

In many cases, the fluid condition is less concerning than the fluid level. Over time the seals that keep fluid within a differential or transfer case wear out. Alternatively, an unknown rock or seemingly innocent collision with the underside of the vehicle may cause an unnoticed crack or rupture. Under these circumstances, fluid will leak, and ultimately the lubrication of the components will suffer. This leads to excessive heat within the differentials and/or transfer cases, which ultimately causes deterioration.

Also, on front-wheel drive vehicles, recall the differential is built into the transmission. If this differential fails, the cost of repair could be significant, given the substantial labor hours required to remove, rebuild, and re-install the entire transaxle assembly. While you can repair a differential, a small bit of maintenance can go a long way in avoiding a large bill.

Differential Repair Costs BG image

6 Reasons Why Differential Repair Costs Are so High

he costs to repair a vehicle’s differential can vary widely based on several factors.


Type of Vehicle

Passenger cars tend to be less expensive to repair than trucks or SUVs. High-performance or luxury vehicles may also have costlier repairs.


Type of Differential

Whether it’s a front differential, rear differential, or all-wheel-drive system can affect the cost. Also, limited-slip, locking, and electronically controlled differentials may be more expensive to repair.


Extent of Damage

A simple seal replacement will be much cheaper than rebuilding the entire differential or replacing gears.



The cost of parts can vary significantly. OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts will typically be more expensive than aftermarket parts.



Labor costs can vary based on your geographic location and the complexity of the job. As of January 2022, average labor rates in the U.S. ranged from $70 to $150 per hour, but this can vary.


Local Market Conditions

Prices for services can vary widely based on local demand, competition, and cost of living.

Given the above factors, here’s a very rough estimate:

Minor Repairs (like replacing a seal or bearing): $200 to $400

Moderate Repairs (like replacing gears): $400 to $1,000

Major Repairs/Rebuild: $1,000 to $2,500 or more

Note: These are general ballpark figures. Always obtain a specific quote from a mechanic or repair shop.

maintenance on differential repair

What Maintenance Is Required on a Differential Repair or Transfer Case?

Unlike other major components of a vehicle, the differential is largely mechanical and built to last. Like all parts, it will wear and need replacement but rest assured, it requires less pampering than other parts of your vehicle. That does not mean regular maintenance is not required. Routine differential service, which includes regular inspection and replacement of fluid, can ensure your differential lasts a long time.

Our TrueTest Inspection can be adapted to focus on the differential and transfer case components of a vehicle. Most often, transfer cases and differentials take some variation of gear oil or transmission fluid. It varies by make and model, therefore, it is important to seek advice from a professional specializing in the drive-train if you’re looking for differential repair near you.

An abbreviated version of our free TrueTestTM Inspection will tell you what you need to get you back on the road fast! Contact Us Today.