Can Low Differential Fluid Cause Vibration?

Differential fluid is a vital element to keep the vehicle away from rumbling and unwanted sounds. Without lubricating appropriately, the car will produce excessive vibration that no one wants to experience. But is it ok to have low differential fluid? Can low differential fluid cause vibration if there is still oil?

Low differential fluid has a significant impact to produce vibration and whining noise. Without getting the correct fluid, the system works less confidently and produces nasty sounds. It also causes differential failure, powerless operation, and improper traction. Too much fluid or too lean fluid is hazardous for cars.

So are you looking for the solutions and want to know why this can happen? All your confusion and queries will be answered in this article. Keep reading this and stick to us for knowing the unknown fact.

Reasons Why Low Differential Fluid Causes Vibration

When differential consumes low fuel or fluid, it works less efficiently. In addition, braking failure, less power production, cornering problem, etc. are common. Here are some reasons why low differential fluid causes rapid and unwanted vibration.

  • Getting too lean fluid

One of the major reasons behind it is little fluid inside. Changing the transmission fluid or engine oil regularly is a significant task. When the fluid is too low the friction of the interior of your car’s gearbox increases. Also, low fluid will be grinding the inside of your car which will prevent gear shifting. And it connects metal to metal and significantly reduces gear life.

  • Breaking differential

Less fluid means less viscosity. And low viscosity means harsh metal contact. This is because when the piston loses its normal speed it is supplied to the fluid engine at a slower speed. And those fluids also pass very hard which increases the chances of differential breakage.

Furthermore, the rotation rate of both wheels decreases due to insufficient torque. This causes a lot of vibration and unwanted noise is a bonus.

  • Lack of proper functionality

Low fluid often hampers the natural operation of any vehicle. With and without fluid are not the same. When the fluid is right, the functionality of the entire system is right. As differential fluid helps to lubricate the locking differential and other components of the car, it can help a system run at a higher speed and efficiency. 

  • Excessive friction

Friction is good when balanced. Unfortunately, harsh friction between differential and wheels or other components can be hazardous. The main culprit for producing harsh friction to the wheels and road is inadequate differential fluid. It can damage the overall parts and produce unnecessary vibration and sounds.

The other harshest thing is unusual friction breaking the side panel of the differential. So lubricating properly is key to making the most blissful experience in driving over unsurfaced areas. 

Symptoms To Tell There Is Low Differential Fluid: Know Before Fix

There are some exact signs or symptoms that tell you about the problems. Here is a list of them to clarify the overall thoughts. It also helps you to ensure the exact problem whether it is actually low differential fluid problems or not.

  1. U-joint defect or deviation

Failure of the U-joint increases rapid vibration and strange noises. If the U-joint is bad, your driving quality will hamper as it directly connects to the rear axle. Again, the rear axle helps to provide extra torque for better driving. Nevertheless, when you notice unusual noises or rapid wear and tear, it is likely that there is a lack of lubrication and it is affected by corrosion.

  1. Center bearing failure

Adequate fluid through differential makes a difference when driving through gravel and unsurfaced areas. But what happens when there is lacking gear oil or fluid in the differential?

A common scenario is a center-bearing failure. A center support bearing allows the drive shaft and metal shaft to transfer power from the transmission case to the rear differential to keep the traction right. But it can’t serve power when it breaks or wears out completely. And the reason behind it is lean differential fluid.

  1. Unusual noise

The most happening cause for low gear oil is hearing humming, rumbling, whining, rattle, or clanking noise from the rear even when idle. These sounds will change when accelerating, decelerating, and cornering. It happens for bad or faulty differential fluid. When the fluid gets old or there is less fluid in the differential, metal-to-metal contact going to be harsh, and gears are less lubricated.

  1. Difficulty in steering

Less fluid means less active action and performance. If the fluid run out completely or the fluid level is reduced, admit it there is an inconvenience in steering.

Consequently, you can’t take proper cornering let alone off-roading turning. When steering is weak, the wheel spin will reduce and make your driving inconsistent. This is why figuring out the exact problem and then fishing accordingly is mandatory.

  1. Bad or burning smells

Differential fluid, similar to gear oils, makes differential locking systems more active and efficient to deliver adequate power. When you notice there are foul smells coming from the axles, surely, it happens to be dirty and low differential fluid. The reason for this is that the gearbox has become overheated.

This is because the oil does not reach the gear part at the correct rate or it indicates that the oil has run out. And because of this the differential easily gets contaminated and consequently, you will feel the burning smell.

  1. Rapid vibrations

Another mandatory concern for less fluid is rapid and unwanted vibration. If the fluid is low, the internal parts work slowly. As a result, the performance of the vehicle will be hampered greatly. In addition, the traction over unsurfaced traction going to be lessened and a driver will lose their driving efficiency.

Professionals and mechanics represent the issues so that one can easily get a clear conception. So undoubtedly, lack of transmission or diffs fluid or gear oil or less thick oil contributes a lot to producing too much vibration.

  1. Accelerates poorly

Hydraulic pressure won’t generate if there is less amount of fuel inside. As there is a lack of oil, the slippage increases. As a result, the system lost its acceleration and it will reach its high RPM while moving. Also, it can happen that the vehicle runs sluggishly and rotates the wheels at less speed.

  1. Fluid leakage

Last but not least. You can determine easily whether there is sufficient fluid or not in the differential by checking the fluid leak. If excessive fluid leakage occurs, assume that there is a problem with less oil.

Tips To Eliminate Low Differential Fluid Vibration

Many of us get confused about what should do when vibration increases rapidly. But fortunately, some proven tips will help you to avoid these individual tips. Here are some effective tips for you.

  • Check fluid condition frequently

One of the safest and perfect ways to eliminate this type of hassle is by checking and changing the transmission or differential fluid. By doing this, the fuel or fluid is in perfect shape and the system operates perfectly. If the fuel level is too low or it gets too old, the functionality will be hampered.

In addition, there might be changes in the internal parts of the gearbox. Most importantly, the differential loses its workability and fails to supply a certain amount of power to both wheels. So ensure you check the fluid conditions now and then to keep the fluid level perfectly.

  • Clean the dirty differential

Often it seems the differential looks dirty and messy. It causes great damage to the wheel traction and keeps torque away. And the main culprit behind it is lean fluid in the differential.

Experts suggested that every week or month, you should refresh or refinish the differential to ensure cleanliness. If you clean the differential regularly, it consumes less fluid, and fluid works better for a long time.

  • Fix the problem instantly

No matter how expensive your car or how much you pay for improving your appearance. If you keep your car idle after detecting an issue, you will suffer in a long run. Car experts and manufacturers advised that after identifying any problem, it is wise to fix it immediately.

And if the problem is the most vital part like the differential, the necessity is increased. Because faulty differential or less fluid differential causes great damage and introduces many problems such as whining or rumbling noise, unwanted sounds, vibrations, cracking, and other internal problems.

  • Change fluid at regular interval

Changing oil or fluid regularly is crucial to keep the differential vibration-free. More than 2 weeks or less than old fluid works less efficiently than fresh fluid. Therefore, ensure the right amount of fuel along with new fluid.


One of the main culprits of producing or causing vibration is low differential fluid. A low amount of fluid can’t supply much lubrication to run an engine or internal parts correctly. This is why the rumbling noise or unwanted vibration occurs.

But don’t worry. Fortunately, the whole article is arranged with necessary information on how to diagnose and eliminate these issues pretty tirelessly. Hopefully, this guide helps you a lot to overcome the upcoming problem and eliminates those brilliantly.