4 Rear Axle Seal Leak Symptoms & Replacement Cost

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rear axle seal

If you’re the owner of a car, truck, or SUV, then at some point, you will have to deal with rear axle seals. These little pieces of equipment play an important role in keeping your vehicle running smoothly, and when they start to leak, they can cause all sorts of problems.

This article will discuss what rear axle seals are, what causes them to leak, how to fix their leakage and the symptoms of axle seal leaks. We’ll also answer some common questions about this topic. So read on to learn everything you need to know about rear axle seals!

What is a Rear Axle Seal?

A rear axle seal is a seal located between the rear axle and the differential of a vehicle. The rear axle seal is responsible for sealing the differential gear oil inside the differential housing.

Differential gear oil helps to lubricate the gears and bearings inside the differential and keeps them cool by dissipating heat. Differential gear oil would leak out without the rear axle seal, causing the gears and bearings to overheat and fail.

What Causes the Rear Axle Seal To Go Bad?

Axle seals can go bad for a few different reasons. The most common reason is due to wear and tear. Over time, the seal starts to break down and allows oil to leak out. This can happen if you don’t regularly maintain your vehicle or if you drive it hard.

Another reason why the rear axle seal can go bad is due to an accident. If you hit something hard enough, it can cause the seal to break and allow oil to leak out. This is why it’s always important to get your vehicle checked out after an accident, even if it doesn’t seem like there’s any damage. Sometimes improper axle installation is also a cause axle seal might be leaking.

What are the Consequences of Driving With a Leaking Axle Seal?

Driving with a leaking axle seal can have several consequences. If your axle seals develop a leak, you may end up losing a lot of transmission oil. If the transmission oil level falls below a certain level, it can cause your transmission to overheat and fail.

In addition, driving with a leaking axle seal can also damage your differential. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the leaking transmission oil can get onto your brakes and cause them to fail.

If you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle, the leaking transmission oil can get into your engine and cause it to overheat. In either case, driving with a leaking axle seal can be extremely dangerous and should be avoided

Symptoms of a Bad Rear Axle Seal

A few different symptoms can indicate that your rear axle seal is going bad. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  1. Oil Puddle Under Car
  2. Slippage of Transmission Fluid
  3. Low Transmission Fluid Level
  4. Clicking Noise

Let us see these symptoms in some detail:

1. Oil Puddle Under Car:

A bad rear axle seal can lead to an oil puddle under your car. If the seal is completely worn out, all of the oil inside the differential will leak out, and you will see oil drops under the car. This can happen relatively quickly, so it’s important to keep an eye on your rear axle seal and get it replaced as soon as possible if it starts to look worn.

2. Slippage of Transmission Fluid:

A bad rear axle seal can cause transmission slippage. This is because the bad rear axle seal can allow transmission fluid to leak, leading to low transmission fluid levels. When the transmission fluid level gets too low, it can cause the transmission to slip.

When there is not enough fluid, the transmission cannot function properly and starts to slip. This can cause a lot of damage to the transmission and eventually lead to its failure. Therefore, if you have a bad rear axle seal, it is important to get it fixed as soon as possible to avoid transmission problems.

3. Low Transmission Fluid Level:

Yeah, this is another obvious sign that some seal in the transmission system has gone bad. One of the most common symptoms of a bad rear axle seal is if transmission fluid drops. If your transmission fluid level drops, it is probably because the rear axle seal is leaking.

4. Clicking Noise:

A clicking noise is another symptom of a bad rear axle seal. This noise is usually caused by the differential gears not being properly lubricated. When the differential gears are not properly lubricated, they can start to make a clicking noise.

Rear Axle Seal Replacement Cost

The average cost for a rear axle shaft seal replacement is between $150 and $450. The majority portion of this cost is represented by the labor, which is estimated to come out between $100 and $400. The axle seals themselves are relatively cheaper parts, priced at $50. This range does not include taxes and fees and does not factor in your specific vehicle or unique location. Related repairs may also be needed.

The seal can be replaced by a mechanic or do-it-yourselfer with basic automotive knowledge. However, it is important to note that if the axle seal is not installed correctly, it can cause serious damage to the vehicle. Therefore, it is always best to consult with a professional before attempting this repair.

How To Fix a Rear Axle Seal Leak?

The first thing you need to do is find the source of the leak. This can be done by crawling under your vehicle and looking for any signs of oil or grease on the rear axle. Once you have located the source of the leak, you will need to remove the old seal and replace it with a new one. To do this, you will need a seal puller and a new axle seal.

1. Raise your car on a jack. Place jack stands underneath the car for safety.

2. Locate your rear axle seal. This is usually found on the differential, which is located near the back of your car.

3. Now, remove the car’s transmission or rear differential cover. This will give you access to the seal.

4. Take out the old seal carefully. Make sure not to damage the surface around the seal.

5. Now clean the area around the seal thoroughly. Any dirt or debris could prevent the new seal from sealing properly.

6. Place the new seal in the opening. Make sure it is seated properly.

7. Now, put the rear differential cover back on the car.

8. Lower your car off of the jack stands.

9. Test drive your car to see if the leak has been fixed. Once the new seal is in place, you should not have any more leaks.


When the rear axle seal begins to leak, it can cause a number of problems. First, the leaking fluid will attract dirt and debris, which can clog the differential and cause damage. Second, the fluid itself is necessary for lubrication and cooling, so the fluid loss can lead to overheating and further damage.

If you notice a leak or any other signs that your rear axle seal may be failing, take your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible. They will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of action. In most cases, the replacement will be necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you drive with a leaking axle seal? How long?

Depending on the severity of the leak, you may be able to drive for a short period of time, but it is not advisable to do so for an extended period of time. Doing so could further damage your vehicle and may even cause it to break down completely.

A leaking axle seal can cause serious damage to your vehicle if left unchecked. It is important to have a mechanic check your vehicle as soon as possible if you notice any fluid leaking from the area around your axle.

What is the average lifespan of a rear axle seal?

The average lifespan of a rear axle seal is approximately 30,000 miles. However, this can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle as well as driving habits. Proper maintenance of the rear axle seals can help extend their lifespan.

How many rear axle seals are present in a car?

There are usually two rear axle seals in a car, one on each side of the differential. These seals keep oil from leaking out of the differential and prevent dirt and debris from getting into the gears.

How long does it take to fix a leaking axle seal?

It depends on the severity of the leak and the make and model of your vehicle, but it typically takes around two hours to fix a leaking axle seal. Should both axle seals need to be replaced it may take even more time.

In any case, it’s always best to consult with a professional mechanic to get an accurate estimate of how long it will take to fix your specific issue.

Are rear axle seals covered under warranty?

A rear axle seal is typically covered under a powertrain warranty. Most powertrain warranties last for five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. Some manufacturers may offer extended powertrain warranties for an additional cost.

However, it is important to check with your specific vehicle’s manufacturer to be sure. If you are having difficulty with your rear axle seal, it is best to consult with a qualified mechanic or dealership for assistance.

What common types of seals are present in a car’s suspension?

There are several types of seals that may be found in a car’s transmission, including:

Oil Seals: These seals are responsible for keeping transmission fluid in and preventing it from leaking out. They are typically made of rubber and are located between the transmission case and the shafts or gears.

Axle Seals: Axle seals are located at the end of the axle and prevent transmission fluid from leaking out of the axle assembly.

Pump Seals: Pump seals are located in the transmission pump and prevent transmission fluid from leaking out of the pump.

Gear Seals: Gear seals are located between the gears and shafts in the transmission and prevent transmission fluid from leaking out of the gear assembly.

Can you replace an axle seal yourself?

The answer to this question depends on your level of automotive expertise and comfort in working on your car. If you are confident in your abilities and have the necessary tools, then replacing an axle seal is a relatively simple task. However, if you are not comfortable working on your car or do not have the right tools, it is best to leave this repair to a professional.

What is the material of an axle seal?

The material of an axle seal is typically made of metal, such as steel or aluminum. However, there are also some seals that are made of composite materials, such as fiberglass or carbon fiber. These materials are chosen for their strength and durability and their resistance to wear and tear.

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