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do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? #5134857
06/15/19 11:36 AM
06/15/19 11:36 AM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 600
USA
Joe1 Offline OP
Joe1  Offline OP

Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 600
USA
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 11:47 AM
06/15/19 11:47 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,178
Basehor, KS
JayhawkRoy Online content
JayhawkRoy  Online Content

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,178
Basehor, KS
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 12:52 PM
06/15/19 12:52 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,856
Waterloo, ON
Bluestream Offline
Bluestream  Offline

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,856
Waterloo, ON
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 12:55 PM
06/15/19 12:55 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 1,737
pa
benjy Offline
benjy  Offline

Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 1,737
pa
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 01:07 PM
06/15/19 01:07 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 20,885
CA
The Critic Offline
The Critic  Offline

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 20,885
CA
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 - 193K - Idemitsu ZEPRO Adv. Moly 0W-20
2007 Honda Accord 2.4 - 137K - Mobil 1 EP HM 5W-30
Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: Joe1] #5134953
06/15/19 01:29 PM
06/15/19 01:29 PM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 13,811
NE,Ohio
Rand Offline
Rand  Offline

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 13,811
NE,Ohio
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
Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: Joe1] #5134994
06/15/19 02:24 PM
06/15/19 02:24 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 192
Rainville, USA
JEL01 Offline
JEL01  Offline

Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 192
Rainville, USA
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-Edge 0w40
05 Honda Accord V6-Maxlife 5w30
13 Lexus RX350 AWD-M1 AFE 0w20
02 Toyota Tundra 4x4 M1 5w30
Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: Joe1] #5135075
06/15/19 04:21 PM
06/15/19 04:21 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 209
Texas, USA
PPWarrior Offline
PPWarrior  Offline

Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 209
Texas, USA
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.


nissan versa m/t
chevy imapala auto
toyota corolla auto
Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: Joe1] #5135134
06/15/19 06:10 PM
06/15/19 06:10 PM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 200
Canada
jbutch Offline
jbutch  Offline

Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 200
Canada
I changed both differentials of my Forester and replaced it with Amsoil SVG.

Front was looking ok, rear was very dark.


2015 Forester XT @ 92000km
Current fill: Mobil ESP Formula 5w-30 with Fram Ultra XG7317
Re: do l need to change differential fluid on Subaru? [Re: jbutch] #5135792
06/16/19 02:59 PM
06/16/19 02:59 PM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 301
NJ
crainholio Offline
crainholio  Offline

Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 301
NJ
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 11:17 AM
06/17/19 11:17 AM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 96
NY
2dogs Offline
2dogs  Offline

Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 96
NY
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 03:51 PM
06/18/19 03:51 PM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 11,651
Buffalo, NY
JTK Online content
JTK  Online Content

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 11,651
Buffalo, NY
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.


2017 Ram 1500 4x4, 3.6L.
2016 Nissan Quest SV (Babe magnet IV)
2015 Nissan Versa 1.6 S
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