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Every car needs proper maintenance to ensure optimal car performance and to uphold the value of your vehicle. It’s important to follow the owner manual of your vehicle to perform the maintenance you need to keep your car running smoothly.
Heavy driving vehicles such as Jeeps may need more attention and care as they are off-road & on-road applications. If you own a Jeep you’ll have mechanisms in the front and rear of the vehicle called differentials. It’s essential that your Jeep’s differentials are always well looked after as it will have a major impact on your vehicle’s handling and traction.
So what are Jeep differentials and how do you maintain them? Take a look at this short guide below on what these mechanisms are and how they improve drivability.
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What is a Jeep Differential Axle?
The differential axle in a jeep is a mechanism that allows your wheels to turn at different speeds. A differential allows your vehicle to turn sharp corners smoothly and to easily drive up steep hills, over rocks & through mud without compromising the drivability of the car.
A jeep differential gives you the option to take your vehicle off-road so you can drive through rocky terrain without getting stuck or damaging your asset. It’s designed for off-road vehicles because it allows the Jeep to drive through any conditions.
Like all the parts inside your Jeep the differential needs to be maintained regularly. You need differential fluid to keep the mechanism lubricated at all times to optimize your Jeep’s performance.
Why do You need Fluid for a Differential?
Jeep differential fluid is used to keep the mechanism lubricated to allow swift gear movements. The fluid oils the pinion gears that transfer power from the driveshaft to the wheel axle.
Fluid ensures that all the parts are in healthy working condition so your gears don’t stick when you’re driving. If the oil runs low or becomes contaminated it can cause the gears to make squeaking or whining noises as you turn and it can cause damage to other parts of your Jeep. So, it’s essential that you always check the fluid level of your differential axle to prevent the components inside your car from getting damaged.
How do You Check the Fluid Level for a Differential Axle?
The process of how to check your differential fluid level may vary depending on the model of your Jeep. Your vehicle’s user manual will state how often to check it, which is typically every two years or when your Jeep reaches 20,000 miles.
To check your differential fluid level, simply refer to your owner manual to guide you in locating the fill tank. Remove the fill cap and place a wooden straw inside the tank to check the volume of fluid.
If there is no fluid left inside the tank or the volume is running low, simply fill it with differential fluid designed for your Jeep model. Newer Jeep models will have an oil indicator system light that will inform you when it’s time to fill the differential with fluid.
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What are the Change Intervals for Jeep JK, TJ and Wrangler?
Jeep JK Fluid Change Intervals
The Jeep brand advises that owners of the JK vehicle should change the front and rear differential fluid every 15,000 miles. This is based on heavy driving maintenance so fluid changing can be done every 20,000 miles for the Jeep JK.
Jeep TJ Fluid Change Intervals
On the Jeep forum, it states that TJ front and rear differential fluid should be changed every 12,000 miles for heavy driving (off-road). But for standard driving, you can change the differential fluid every 24,000 miles for the front and rear differentials.
Jeep Wrangler fluid Change Intervals
For the Jeep Wrangler you should change the front and rear differential fluid every 40,000 miles. This is according to the Jeep Wrangler maintenance schedule.
Differential Jeep Fluids You Can Use
There are two types of differential oils that are suitable for Jeep vehicles, namely Royal Purple, Pennzoil, Valvoline and Amsoil.
The Jeep forum states that you can use Royal Purple 90 for the front differential and 140 for the rear. Amsoil has a website that allows you to type in your vehicle model, engine and year of your Jeep to see which of the brand’s differential oils is best for your vehicle.
What is a Jeep Limited Slip Differential?
The Jeep limited slip differentials are a combination of an open and locked differential. It’s designed to transfer usable power between the drive wheels of a Jeep when traction has been lost. So when one wheel loses traction the limited slip differential will transfer power from one wheel to the other.
Limited slip differentials give you better management of wheel rotation that provides optimal vehicle handling and traction. The limited slip differential is also an added safety mechanism that prevents spin-outs during turns around sharp corners.
Jeep Front Differential Repair Costs
Front differential repairs are known as light-duty replacements and can cost between $250 & $400. But these costs will depend on the make and model of your Jeep. For severe cases, mechanics can charge up to $1200 for repairs.
It’s always best to visit more than one mechanic, compare quotes and then get the best prices & services for Jeep repairs.
If you’re unsure of when to change your vehicle’s differential fluid you can always refer to your owner manual. It will give you all the information you need to maintain your Jeep. Changing differential fluid is also easy, so it can be done by first time Jeep owners.
If you’d like a quick overview of how to change your differential oil you can watch the below YouTube video.
Visit a Jeep forum where other Jeep owners can assist you with any questions you have about your car. The forum will give you tips on the best Jeep differential fluids to use according to your model and make & extensive reviews of how the products worked for their vehicles.
So, if you’re a first time Jeep owner, make sure you know the ins and outs of your vehicle, so you can perform proper maintenance when you need to. It will extend the lifespan of your Jeep and optimize the performance of your vehicle. Enjoy the ride!
Last update on 2020-04-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API