2007-2013 Silverado: Rear Differential Service
Cost: $30-150 (oil preference, gasket replacement)
High temperatures and heavy loads break down the protective properties of gear oil over time. Gear wear and mositure from venting to atmosphere further contaminate the fluid which can lead to leaks and premature part failure.
Replacing the rear differential fluid every 30-60,000 miles is good maintenance. Frequent start/stop driving, towing, high temperatures, or exposure to heavy dust or water might merrit the earlier end of the range, while straight-and-level commuting would allow for a stretched-out interval.
While some rear differentials have a drain plug, most do not. The rear cover is removed to drain the fluid and inspect the gears. The cover is then resealed, installed, and fluid added through the fill hole.
If the fluid capacity is not known, general practice is to fill the differential with the recommended gear oil to just below the fill hole (approx 1/2"). This allows for fluid expansion when hot without overpressuring the seals or causing the oil to foam and cavitate.
The video below shows the service method on a 2007-2013 generation Chevy Silverado 1500.
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