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Differential Output Seal Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your differential output seal replacement? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your differential output seal 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 output seal?

The average cost to replace the differential output seal is $279—parts cost an average of $20, while mechanic labor costs around $258. Remember, this is just a cost estimate—how much you’ll pay to replace your differential output seal will depend on your vehicle’s make and model and where you have the repairs done.
How long does it take to replace the differential output seal? Replacing the differential output seal is a relatively straightforward process that a certified mechanic can do in about 2.2 hours hours. They’ll first verify that the differential output seal needs to be replaced, and if it’s worn and faulty, they’ll do a complete replacement. 
Here’s an overview of the differential output seal replacement costs for different vehicles:
Estimate DateCustomerCarFair Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostLabor Time
May 25, 2024
Volvo S60
$296
$20
$275
2.2 Hours
May 24, 2024
Buick Encore
$255
$20
$235
2.2 Hours
May 23, 2024
Ford Expedition
$266
$20
$245
2.2 Hours
May 18, 2024
Eagle Talon
$279
$20
$258
2.2 Hours
May 13, 2024
Subaru WRX
$257
$20
$236
2.2 Hours
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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 output seal replacement and how much do those parts cost?

The differential output seal is a single part, so when it becomes worn and no longer functional, it’s generally the only part that needs to be replaced. The average cost for a new differential output seal is between $11.71 and $14.31, but you may pay more or less based on your vehicle. 
In addition to the differential output seal, some basic tools and equipment are also required to do the replacement:
  • Brake cleaner
  • Clean rags or towels
  • Drip pan
  • Limited slip additive (if you have a limited slip differential)
  • Seal removal tool and installation tool
  • Screwdrivers
  • Socket set and ratchet
  • Replacement rear-end oil
  • Plastic gasket scraper
  • Torque wrench
You can purchase a differential output seal 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 of our top recommended brands for differential output seals are SKF, Timken, and National Seal. However, the best part and brand for your differential output seal replacement will vary based on your vehicle’s year, make, and model.
When it comes time to replace the differential output seal, you will likely be okay purchasing an aftermarket part, assuming it’s the correct dimensions for your vehicle. Although aftermarket parts are typically cheaper than OEM parts, they may not be manufactured to OEM specifications, so the fit won’t be correct. However, if you can find an aftermarket output seal explicitly designed for your vehicle make and model, you may be able to save money without compromising quality.
Differential output seals are available online through most automotive parts retailers, such as AutoZone, NAPA Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts, or sites like Amazon and RockAuto. Most stores that sell automotive parts will also sell differential output seals. However, check with your vehicle’s owner’s manual to ensure you’re buying a seal compatible with your vehicle's make and model.

Where can I get my differential output seal replaced?

Changing your differential output seal is a tough job that’s not recommended at home, but finding the right auto repair shop to do the job can be tricky—especially if you don’t have a go-to mechanic in your area. Luckily, Jerry's
GarageGuard™
makes things easy! You can compare repair service rates from over 2,500 reputable auto shops nationwide in seconds.
Jerry's GarageGuard™ also helps you compare fair price estimates from repair shops using their actual hourly labor rate, determine if you need to budget for diagnostic fees, and provide actual reviews from real customers to help you choose the best shop and service.
Check out some of our vetted shops below and download the app to compare car repair costs in your area.
109 Reviews
Velasquez Auto Care - Archer
address
S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL
Differential Output Seal Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$244
(Parts - $13, Labor - $231)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$45
143 Reviews
ESS Fleet Service
address
4020 Main St, Dallas, TX
Differential Output Seal Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$310
(Parts - $13, Labor - $297)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$185
177 Reviews
54th Street Auto Center
address
415 W 54th St, New York, NY
Differential Output Seal Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$367
(Parts - $13, Labor - $354)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$191
169 Reviews
Discount Tire & Service Centers - Clovis 2
address
698 W Shaw Ave, Fresno, CA
Differential Output Seal Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$288
(Parts - $13, Labor - $275)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$140
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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 output seal?

Again, do not try to replace a differential output seal on your own. This is a service that a certified mechanic should complete. 
Here’s what they’ll do:
  • Verify that the differential output seal needs to be replaced
  • Lift the vehicle onto jack stands
  • Remove the CV axle and defective differential output seal using a seal removal tool
  • Install the new seal, then reinstall the CV axle
  • Refill the differential and test for oil leaks
  • Remove the vehicle from the jack stands
  • Test the vehicle for proper operation of the differential output seal

What happens if I don’t replace my differential output seal?

The differential output seal is important to prevent fluid from leaking out of the differential and causing damage to the differential and your car. When the differential seal cracks, becomes porous and isn’t replaced, the differential won’t be properly lubricated, so the bearings and gears can overheat. If these start overheating, it can lead to extensive damage to the differential that may render your vehicle inoperable until your differential is repaired or replaced.

What is a differential output seal replacement?

Differential output seals are the seals found at the output shafts of a car’s differential. They generally seal the axle shafts against the differential and prevent fluid from leaking out of the differential as the car is running.
If your differential output seal allows fluid to leak onto the differential, you’ll need to have a replacement as soon as possible. 
While differential seals are simple, they are important to keeping your car running. Differential seal failures cause a lack of lubrication to your car’s internal components, leading to gears and bearings overheating and seizing.  
You cannot check the fluid level of a differential with a dipstick—so if there is a leak, you will not know how much (or how little) is left. Taking your car to a mechanic is the best way to diagnose problems and have them fixed.

How do I know if my differential output seal needs replacing?

There are a couple of common signs that indicate you need a differential output seal replacement:
  • There is fluid on the outside of the differential and axle
  • Grinding noises coming from under the vehicle
  • Burning gear oil smell
If your mechanic notices a small leak during normal maintenance, waiting on the repair is possible. If the differential leak is significant, it’s best to replace it immediately to avoid serious internal damage.

How often should you replace the differential seal output?

Like any other seal or gasket in your car, the differential output seal is prone to wear and tear from exposure to harsh elements, exposure to corrosive gear oil, and age. The chemicals that come into contact with the seal can dry it, causing it to crack and allowing oil to leak. 
The differential fluid should be part of
routine car maintenance
. You’ll usually need to replace it after around 25,000 miles, so having your differential output seals inspected at the same time is a good idea. If a seal is found to be leaking during an inspection, they can replace it. 

Can I replace my differential output seal myself?

For drivers looking to
save money on car expenses
, changing the differential output seal yourself might cross your mind as a weekend DIY project—but it’s not recommended. The process can be slightly complex and time-consuming, so if you’re not super car-savvy, it’s recommended to leave it to a professional mechanic.

FAQs

A rear differential seal leak is common due to internal pressure when the axle vent is clogged. Sometimes, unclogging the axle vent can stop the seals from leaking, but they may also need to be replaced. Differential seals can also leak due to wear and tear and become dry over time.
The average cost to replace differential output seals is $279. However, your exact cost may be more or less based on your vehicle’s make and model.
Driving with a leaking differential output seal isn’t recommended, but the extent of damage depends on how much oil is leaking. If the leak is small, it’s not likely to cause damage, but if there is a significant amount of fluid leaking, it can affect the lubrication of the bearings and gears, causing them to overheat. This can lead to extensive damage to the differential. If your output seals are leaking, replace them as soon as possible to avoid damage to your transmission.

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.