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Differential Fluid Vs Transmission Fluid [Complete Guide]

Differential Fluid Vs Transmission Fluid [Complete Guide]

The Differential Fluid and transmission fluid are oils that play a significant part in your car’s performance. 

The lubricant is meant to give smooth gear functions and prevents corrosion. 

Although both of these oils play the same role, there is a viable difference between them.

The main difference between the Differential Fluid and transmission fluid is the kind of gearboxes. 

Continue reading to get all the information about these two fluids. So, you can decide between Differential Fluid and Transmission Fluid very easily.

Overview: Differential Fluid Vs Transmission Fluid

The Differential Fluid and the transmission fluid help control the speed, prevent the gearbox’s rust, and improve your vehicle’s performance. 

The essential discrepancy or the main difference between Differential Fluid and transmission fluid is their intent to be utilized. 

Differential Fluid has a specific procedure suited to operate with the manual gearbox. On the contrary, transmission lubricants are considerably consistent with automatic transmissions.

Let’s look at some other key differences in the differential and transmission fluid’s density, pressure, and resistance.


Differential Fluid

Transmission Fluid

Density Differential Fluids have a high density that helps in shock cushioning. Transmission fluid has a comparatively low density to allow free flow.
Resistance to heat Differential oil has a high heat resistance and can control heat. The heat resistance of transmission fluid is comparatively less.
Pressure Differential Fluids, due to their high density, can handle pressure well. Transmission Fluids are not good at pressure handling.
Application Differential oil is applied to the gears. Transmission oil is for the mechanical components.
Composition Differential oil is quite heavy. Transmission fluid is very light and can flow easily.

Differential Fluid For Manual Gearbox

The manual gearbox is the toolbox where the driver controls the gear. The manual gearbox comprises a shifter and a clutch pedal, and the driver manually changes the gears. 

The manual gearbox or manual transmission uses the Differential Fluid specifically. 

There is a pair of shafts and gears, and the driver uses the shifters and pedal clutch to drive the vehicle. 

In manual transmissions, the mechanical energy boosts the car’s speed. Also, the car’s speed is determined by the direction of the clutch.

Manual Gearbox

Transmission Fluid For Automatic Transmissions

The automatic transmission is fundamentally similar to the manual gearbox. They differ because the former uses the clutch while the latter uses the torque converter to change the gears.

The previous version of the automatic transmission has clutches and is rather semi-automatic.

However, the gears in the automatic transmission are entirely mechanical and have rotating components. 

The physical gear design is the differential component of the transmission design. Thus, it is easier for the drivers to speed up the vehicle. 

The automatic transmission typically needs the automatic transmission fluid.

Automatic Transmissions

Differential Fluid

The Differential Fluid, also known as the ‘Gear oil’ is specifically used for the manual gearbox system. 

This fluid is perfect for use in the physical system as good at handling pressures generated due to constant gear rotation. 

Let us look at the key features of Differential Fluids.

Key Features Of The Differential Oil

  • The differential oil helps keep all the gears in the gearbox smooth and rust-free.
  • The Differential Fluid is an essential element that enables the shaft to convey transmission to the wheels through the drain plug.
  • The differential oil helps the gearbox to produce more heat in the fill plug.
  • The differential or gear oil has an excellent variety for different model vehicles.
  • The Differential Fluids are known for their high density, assuring the entire gear system is lubricated.
  • The differential oil has higher temperature strength, which helps heat transfer to the gear train through coolant.

Transmission Fluid

The transmission fluid is used particularly for automatic transmission, and the counterpart is unsuitable for automatic transmission. 

The transmission gear oil has distinct features that are as follows:

Key Features Of Transmission Fluid

  • The transmission oil is suitable for automatic transmission.
  • It has less density as it needs to lubricate small parts than the differential gear oil.
  • The low viscosity also helps easily circulate the oil throughout the automatic transmission system.
  • The additives are added to the transmission oil to make it more robust against heat.
  • The automatic transmission does not produce enough heat, so the transmission fluid is not resistant to heat.
  • The properties of transmission oil are such that it prevents air from entering the system.

Why Does The Transmission Fluid Contain Additives?

The transmission fluid is thin oil that flows quickly all over the system. However, the transmission fluid also has additives in it. 

These Additives help in keeping the gearbox cool and calm. It prevents the corrosion of metals. 

The additives are responsible for making transmission fluid withstand heat and high temperatures. 

Also, the additives give transmission fluid red, making it easy to identify. Keep a check at the red line to know the accurate fluid level of your engine.

Why Are There Lots Of Variety Of Transmission Fluids?

The transmission system of different model cars is unique and distinct. What makes the gear oils different from each other? 

The transmission fluid differs from each other based on the additives added. 

The additives are likely to improve the performance of the lubricants by increasing their heat and temperature resistance.

Secondly, the older your car, the distinct old variety of lubrication it needs. You should also regularly check the fluid level of your car. 

Nowadays, there is an excellent variety of Transmission Fluids. 

At last, the quality of the automatic transmission fluid is also the factor that differentiates the Transmission Fluids from each other.

Advantages Of Changing The Fluid-Transmission System 

Changing the fluid regularly in your vehicle’s transmission system has various benefits.

You can also check the recommendation of the appropriate gear oil on your car’s user manual. 

Your transmission may need the New Genuine Nissan  CVT Fluid, Dexron VI, or the manual transmission fluid like Ultra1 Plus.

You can also search the business directory of United States automobile companies and call for assistance.

Some of the visible changes that you may notice in the performance of your car are:

Fuel Efficiency

Replacing the old gear oil or your car’s brake fluid with the new one will improve your vehicle’s performance. 

Also, there will be a noticeable difference in the fuel consumption by the car.

Smooth Drive

Timely replacing the old transmission fluid with the new one is very important. The fresh fluid makes your car drive very smoothly. 

The components that need oil are constantly lubricated well.

Saves Money

When replacing the accurate transmission fluid for your vehicle’s transmission, you tend to save a lot of your money because the old motor oil can be very hazardous for the car. 

It depends on your car preference to choose between Differential Fluid Vs Transmission Fluid, but make sure to check your fluid level regularly to save your money.

Prevents Corrosion 

The Transmission Fluid like Castrol 06820 is vital to prevent the metal components of your engine from rusting. 

The replacement of the liquid on time could save your vehicle from noticeable damage and could help in increasing the life of the rear axle, and the metal components of your gearbox.

Long Transmission Life

If your vehicle has clean and up-to-date transmission fluid, it could be beneficial to prevent your car from any damage. 

Also, the transfer cases have shown a detrimental impact on the engine, so you should always use the correct motor oil for your vehicle.

Some Additional Information  

Can Transmission Fluid Be Replaced With Differential Fluid?

You can use transmission fluid instead of manual transmission fluid or Differential Fluid in an emergency.

Although you should remove it soon, an oil change will likely damage your engine.

But both have different properties that serve other purposes due to their viscosity, resistance, and pressure handling differences.

What Are The Outcomes Of Using The Wrong Fluid?

If you have used the wrong hydraulic fluid, power steering fluid, or the wrong rear Differential Fluid, it could have an adverse impact and may fail the entire transmission system. 

The metal shavings will start to rust due to excessive friction. 

Also, the wrong fluid in the transmission system is likely to cause excessive heating that could be hazardous for the engine.

Can Differential Work With Engine Oil?

The differential will never work with the engine oil. Instead, using engine oil could be very harmful to your engine. 

The engine oil does not have the properties that make it stand extreme heat or high temperatures or reduce friction modifier. 

The Transmission Fluids have unique properties that make them suitable for the transmission system.

Is It Possible To Mix Different Gear Oil?

Every gear oil is known for its unique properties, making it suitable for a particular model. 

However, mixing different gear oils will likely damage your vehicle’s engine and make it prone to damage.

Therefore, it is not advisable to physically mix the gear oil with different properties.

What Are The Outcomes Of The Low Transmission Fluid?

There could be many signs of Low Transmission Fluid in your vehicle. 

You may hear scratching or rumbling sounds from your car while driving, indicating the low transmission fluid. 

Other than that, you may smell something oil burning and gears slipping due to the overheating in the differential.

The Best Fluid Between Differential And Transmission Fluid

The Transmission Fluids play a vital role in lubricating the gearbox, but there are different varieties of gear oils with distinct properties. 

When it is about Differential Fluid vs transmission fluid, the best gear oil for your vehicle depends on your vehicle’s transmission system. 

If your vehicle has a physical gearbox, then differential oil is suitable. On the other hand, the transmission oil is ideal for automatic transmission.

 You can also check the recommendation of the appropriate gear oil on your car’s user manual.


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