Why Differential or Gear Oil is Important: How to Change Gear Oil in Land Rover

How many times have you gone to the mechanic and heard him tell you to change the oil in your Land Rover? You probably would have gotten your engine oil changed or even the brake oil. But the engine oil or brake oil isn’t the only oils that need to be changed in your Land Rover. The gear oil is just as important for the health and performance of your vehicle.

Even though the gear oil doesn’t have to be changed that regularly as engine oil, it still needs to be replaced on time. Otherwise, it can cause serious internal damage in your Land Rover. But there’s no need to worry just yet because we will help you make sure that doesn’t happen.

What is Differential or Gear Oil?

To understand the gear oil, we must first see where and why we use it. Gear oil is basically used in the gearbox. The gearbox is part of the whole transmission system along with the clutch, prop shaft, etc. which help in moving the car. This gearbox consists of a system with many shafts and gears which move and work together according to the driver’s instructions.

As a result of all these moving parts, the gearbox generates a lot of heat, force, and most importantly, friction as these parts constantly mesh together. Consequently, we use gear oil to make sure all these components move as smoothly as possible. Its main job is to lubricate and prevent any corrosion in the gears and other parts from all the friction.

Moreover, because there is so much friction in the movement of these parts, gear oils usually contain additives such as sulfur bearing anti-wear compounds. This is why you’ll notice that gear oils have a strong smell. Furthermore, this is also the reason why you must make sure you’re using the right kind of oil in the right place.

Besides that, some other features of gear oil are that it is relatively thicker than other oils because it has to lubricate the transfer cases and differentials too, along with the gearbox. This is also why some people know it as differential oil. Moreover, the high viscosity also ensures that the individual parts have a cushion to absorb shock when they mesh together.

Additionally, gear oil is also able to handle high temperatures which prevent it from burning away too quickly. They also contain some other additives to help withstand the high pressure generated when a car is moving.

Why is Differential or Gear Oil Important?

As it is with any kind of machine, all of its individual parts are very important. Even if one piece stops or is damaged, it can stop the whole machine from working. Similarly, the gears within a car are a crucial component, and they must be kept in order for the health and life of the car. The gear oil does just that. It ensures that all these parts operate properly.

What are the Symptoms of Low Gear Oil?

If your Land Rover doesn’t have sufficient gear oil, here are some of the things that could happen:

  • - Gear Slips

When you change from one gear to the next, it will automatically go back to the previous gear. This is because the gear oil is too low, and the gearbox is not able to catch the gear change. More importantly, this kind of symptom is quite dangerous as it suggests that some internal damage has already been done.

  • - Delays in Gear Change

As the gear oil levels start to drop, another problem you’ll experience is delays while changing gears. You’ll notice a significant time gap between when you switch the gears and when the new gear actually engages.

  • - Car Lurching

When your car doesn’t have enough gear oil, the gearbox and other parts won't be able to run smoothly. This will reflect in the movement of your car. Your drive won't be smooth, and you’ll often find your car lurching forward or backward. Moreover, you might also feel your car slamming into new gears and erratic shifts.

  • - Noisy Differential

If the gear oil is too low, there won't be enough lubrication between the gears. So, when you change gears, they will require additional force which will cause additional strain and will result in grinding noises.

  • - Overheating or Burning Smell

Because of the poor lubrication, there will be greater friction within the gearbox. This will cause it to heat, and there will be a burning smell coming from your gearbox or differential. The burning smell could also be due to a leak in the gearbox. In that case, you might notice red or brown spots under your car. Although oil leaks are one of the common Land Rover malfunctions.

How Often Should You Change the Differential or Gear Oil in your Land Rover?

There is no fixed time or distance for when you should change your gear oil. It varies from person to person. Under normal driving conditions, you could get replace it every 80,000 miles. Whereas if you’ve got rough driving conditions, you might have to change it after even less than 30,000 miles. With that in mind, it is generally recommended that you change it between every 50,000 to 60,000 miles.

Besides that, if you start noticing any of the problems we’ve mentioned above, you should immediately get your gear oil checked and changed. Although if you suspect a problem somewhere else, you should check that too and replace it. You can find the appropriate parts here.

Moreover, if you want to check it yourself, you should look at the color and consistency of the oil. If the oil is brown or too dark, and it contains small particles, it has become very dirty and needs changing.

How to Change the Gear Oil in your Land Rover?

If you’ve already started experiencing some of the symptoms, there’s no need to panic. After reading our easy step by step guide, changing your gear oil will never be an issue. You’ll need the following tools:

  • - Car Jack
  • - Container to collect old oil
  • - Wenches
  • - New Gear Oil
  • - Pipe or pump to fill the oil

If you don’t have any of these tools, you can get them here. But before you buy any Land Rover parts, make sure you take note of these things. Moving on, here are the steps you need to follow:

  • - Locate the gearbox under your Land Rover.
  • - Loosen the filling plug
  • - Remove the drain plug and drain out old oil (you might have to do this beforehand to drain everything completely)
  • - Unscrew the bolts holding the gearbox cover
  • - Remove the gearbox cover
  • - Clean out any debris or metal shavings inside the gearbox
  • - Attach the gearbox cover and drain plug back
  • - Use a pipe or pump to fill the new gear oil (till it starts overflowing)
  • - Attach back the filling plug

Final Words

The gear oil is an important part of your Land Rover maintenance. It is something that many people often ignore until it is too late. While gear oil is not that expensive, the damage it causes, if it is not changed regularly, it can be expensive to repair. But with our easy guide, you can quickly change it yourself without ever getting to that stage.

Read this article on other essential aspects of Land Rover maintenance.

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