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Differential Gasket Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your differential gasket replacement? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your differential gasket replacement.
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John Davis
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does it cost to replace the differential gasket?

The average cost to replace your differential gasket is $105-$130. But remember, this is just an estimate—the total cost to replace the differential gasket will vary based on the make and model of your vehicle and where you have the service done.
How long does it take to replace the differential gasket? Replacing this gasket is a quick job and usually takes a certified mechanic about .9-1 hours. They will first remove the wheels to inspect the differential gasket and make a complete replacement if needed.
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do I need for my differential gasket replacement and how much do those parts cost?

Each car has two differentials—one in the front and one in the back—and if they break and need replacing, you’ll generally only need to replace a single part. Unlike some car components that need replacing, you usually won’t need to replace both gaskets simultaneously if there is a problem with only one. However, you’ll want to consult your vehicle's owner’s manual for specific instructions.
The average cost to replace a differential gasket is around $10, but the cost can vary based on your car model, and the part's design.
You can buy differential gaskets for your car from auto parts stores like AutoZone, NAPA Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts, as well as online retailers such as Amazon and RockAuto. Three brands we recommend for differential gaskets are Fel-Pro, Victor Reinz, and MAHLE Original. However, the best part and brand for your replacement will vary based on your vehicle’s year, make, and model.
If one of the differential gaskets malfunctions due to a broken seal, it’s usually the rear differential. If there is an oil leak, it could cause transmission problems ranging from poor vehicle handling to premature tire wear. If you notice the part is faulty, have it replaced immediately to avoid more serious and expensive issues with your transmission.
Replacing the differential gasket isn’t generally expensive, but it’s recommended to purchase OEM gaskets to avoid potential issues. There are five areas where OEM and aftermarket parts differ: manufacturer, price, quality, fit/performance, and variety. You want a gasket manufactured from high-quality material to the exact specifications of your vehicle, which may not be available in an aftermarket part. So, while an aftermarket gasket may offer more variety and a lower price, you may run into issues down the road that you wouldn’t with an OEM part.

Where can I get my differential gasket replaced?

Changing the differential gasket on your car might be easy for some DIYers with the right tools, but for those who aren’t car-savvy or don’t have what they need, an auto repair shop is your next best bet. However, finding a reputable and trusted automotive repair shop can be tricky—especially if you don’t have a go-to mechanic in your area. Look no further—Jerry's
GarageGuard™
helps you find one hassle-free! With Jerry's GarageGuard™, you can compare repair service rates from over 2,500 reputable auto repair shops nationwide in seconds.
You can also compare fair price estimates from repair shops using their hourly labor rate, determine if you need to budget for diagnostic fees and read reviews from real customers to help you feel confident in choosing the right shop and services.
Check out some of our vetted shops below and download the app to compare car repair costs in your area.
131 Reviews
Wrench Inc. - CLE

Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$150
170 Reviews
North American Motors
address
20531 Mission Blvd, Oakland, CA
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$150
110 Reviews
Bill's Crestmoor Automotive
address
1904 S Holly St, Denver, CO
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$175
174 Reviews
Yoo's Auto Service & Collision
address
189 W Duncannon Ave, Philadelphia, PA
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$100
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How will a mechanic replace my differential gasket?

If you suspect differential gasket failure, your mechanic will take the following steps to replace it: 
  • Put the vehicle on jack stands and remove the front and rear wheels 
  • Place a drain pan under the front and rear differentials and drain the fluid
  • Replace the front differential gasket and fill the front differential
  • Replace the rear differential gasket and fill the rear differential
  • Reinstall the tires and remove the jack stands
  • Torque the tires to the correct specifications
  • Test the vehicle on the road to ensure proper operation
If the leak was significant, the mechanic should also inspect the ring, pinion gears, and front and rear axles.

What happens if I don’t replace my differential gasket?

If you notice any signs of a faulty or failing differential gasket, it’s important to have it replaced as soon as possible. Although simple, it’s an important part that keeps the differential sealed and lubricated. If the seal breaks and fluid leaks, it could damage the differential, rendering your car unusable. It can also accelerate wear and cause severe damage. 
If you suspect your differential gasket is failing, call your local mechanic and have it assessed immediately.

What is a differential gasket?

The differential gasket seals the differential housing to keep the gear oil inside the housing to allow for proper lubrication of the differential ring and pinion gears. If the gasket fails, it can result in the differential leaking, which may increase the risk of running low on fluid and suffering serious damage. 
If the seal leaks or the fluid is low, your car will emit grinding or whining noises from the front. This could indicate differential failure. You might also see puddles of fluid under the motor compartment.
If your differential gasket is leaking, a mechanic will inspect the differential and the gasket for leaks and damage and completely replace the faulty differential gasket if needed.

How do I know if my differential gasket needs replacing?

When your car displays warning signs of a bad rear differential gasket, it’s time to be serviced. These include:
  • Grinding or whining noise from the front, which can indicate a leaky seal or low fluid
  • Puddles of fluid under the motor compartment
In most cases, the differential gasket can be taken apart and replaced without much trouble—but it depends on the extent of any damage. 
Your mechanic should replace the differential the same day to ensure the internal gears aren’t exposed. This can dry out the seals inside the housing.

How often should you replace the differential gasket?

The rear differential is responsible for controlling the back wheels to allow them to rotate at different speeds, allowing your vehicle to travel smoothly and maintain traction on the road. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, you have a rear differential. Front-wheel drive vehicles have a differential at the front, while rear-wheel drive vehicles have a differential at the back.  The differential gasket seals the differential housing and keeps the differential oil inside. 
Because the rear-end differential is one of the most heavily stressed components on any car, it takes quite a beating and is prone to the same wear and tear that many other mechanical components are subject to. While any part of the different can become damaged, it’s usually the gasket. A failing gasket can happen at any time, so it’s recommended to have them replaced when you have a fluid change, about every 30,000 to 50,000 miles, unless your vehicle’s owner’s manual states otherwise.

Can I replace the differential gasket myself?

For drivers who want to
save money on car expenses
and are keen to take on a DIY auto project, replacing the differential gasket might be possible if you have the right tools and equipment. But because the car needs to be jacked up and the differential welded on, if you don’t have the knowledge or tools to do so, it’s a good idea to let a professional handle the differential gasket replacement to avoid further damage or injury

FAQs

The rear differential gasket is the gasket that seals the differential housing. It’s part of the rear differential that’s most commonly damaged and is generally made from cork, rubber, or an oil-resistant silicone sealing the differential housing. Most often, it’s a rear differential repair that’s needed as opposed to a front differential. 
The most common symptoms of a bad or failing differential gasket are leaking oil on the underside, puddles or fluid leaks, and whining or howling sounds. 
There's no set interval for replacing a differential seal, as it can vary based on driving conditions, mileage, and other factors. However, most experts recommend inspecting your differential seals for wear and tear every 50,000 to 100,000 kilometers and replacing them if needed.

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.