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do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? #5134857 06/15/19 10:36 AM
Joined: Mar 2003
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Joe1 Offline OP
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I have a CVT Subaru with 60k miles. I browsed the maintenance schedule and was surprised to see that it was recommended to inspect, but not replace both front and rear differential fluid at 30,60,90, and 120k miles.

Should l replace it? What are the pros and cons of replacing vs leaving the factory fill in?

Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: Joe1] #5134865 06/15/19 10:47 AM
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JayhawkRoy Online Content
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We have a 2011 Outback. I decided to have all fluids (CVT and differentials) replaced when I had Subaru replace the timing belt on our 2.5i (at 100K mi) . It was convenient to get all the work done at one time. So far, vehicle is up to 140K miles on that replacement schedule. In general, I don't like the fluids to go over 100K mi, but I am not sure that replacing early at 60K is necessary.

Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: Joe1] #5134910 06/15/19 11:52 AM
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Bluestream Offline
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Differential fluid should be changed first at at 1200 mIles. that is the most critical change


2000 VW Beetle 1.8T M5
2006 Pathfinder 4X4
1991 BMW 735iL
"A fool and his money are soon parted" - Thomas Tusser
Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: Joe1] #5134914 06/15/19 11:55 AM
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benjy Offline
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manufacturers often tout less upkeep to attract buyers that don't know better! nothing is lifetime + when the warranty is gone its your $$$$ + they surely care less no water what bull they are throwing!! owners that keep their rides over 100 thou need to keep up on all fluids, but many that trade often figure its the next buyers problem.

Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: Joe1] #5134927 06/15/19 12:07 PM
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The Critic Offline
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Light duty vehicles are not very taxing on their differentials. The initial change after break-in is the most important. I would wager that a change after 30K with Redline/Amsoil could very well be lifetime fill.


2011 Toyota Prius 1.8L - 199K - Pennzoil Platinum 0W-20
2007 Honda Accord 2.4L - 140K - Valvoline Premium Blue Restore 10W-30
Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: Joe1] #5134953 06/15/19 12:29 PM
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Rand Offline
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Its very easy to do. as long as you dont screwup and drain your transmission or some other issue.

30min including cleanup time and a beer max.

They used to list replacing the fluid every 15000 miles for severe service... then go read the severe service conditions.

They like to tout low maintence.. but living somewhere that has Dirt. an actual winter season, or uses road salt are all severe conditions.


2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2.0T
2020 Hyundai Elantra "Value Edition"
Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: Joe1] #5134994 06/15/19 01:24 PM
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JEL01 Online Content
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Why not. I do it every 50k with speced fluids in all my cars and never had an issue


Cars I maintain:
02 Mercedes CLK430
09 Honda Accord V6
13 Lexus RX350 AWD
02 Toyota Tundra 4x4
18 Lexus GX460
Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: Joe1] #5135075 06/15/19 03:21 PM
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PPWarrior Offline
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I change my Versa's manual transmission oil every 30k miles. I think I rather change the fluid than fix it up. I don't plan to sell my car at all so I might as well maintain it.

Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: Joe1] #5135134 06/15/19 05:10 PM
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jbutch Offline
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I changed both differentials of my Forester and replaced it with Amsoil SVG.

Front was looking ok, rear was very dark.


2015 Forester XT @ 100k km
Current fill: Rotella T6 Multi Vehicle 5w-30 with Fram Ultra XG7317
Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: jbutch] #5135792 06/16/19 01:59 PM
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crainholio Offline
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Originally Posted by jbutch
I changed both differentials of my Forester and replaced it with Amsoil SVG.

Front was looking ok, rear was very dark.


Same here on my '09 Forester at ~45K miles...front was dark amber, rear was black. Amsoil 75W-110 Severe Gear went into both, it's now at 120K miles and the front diff dipstick still shows light amber color. Haven't yet pulled the fill plug on the rear to see how the fluid looks.

Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: Joe1] #5136496 06/17/19 10:17 AM
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2dogs Offline
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I did drain & fills on the front and rear diffs on my '16 Forester. The rear diff fluid was brown with silver (metal?) streaks. The front was a lighter brown color. JMO but if you plan to keep the car for a long time, it doesn't hurt to change out once in a while. Pretty easy to do in your driveway on a nice day.

Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: Joe1] #5137670 06/18/19 02:51 PM
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JTK Offline
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I never did do the front diffs on my two CVT equipped Subarus, but I did drain/fill the rears. Like said, the rear diffs are super easy to do. The fronts are not as quite as simple, but not horrible. Like 2dogs said above, any time I've read of someone draining/filling the front said the gear oil that drained out didn't look bad at all.


2019 Nissan Pathfinder SV
2017 Ram 1500 4x4, 3.6L.
2015 Nissan Versa 1.6 S
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