Effective Ways to Minimise Water Ingress into Your Diff

Posted on: 15 June 2017


.Water ingress is a leading cause of differential failures. When water gets into a differential, it can lead to rusting of metal parts and also contaminate the differential oil, thus resulting in poor lubrication of moving diff components like gears and bearings. This can reduce the performance of the differential, but also shorten its lifespan. Therefore, keeping water out of your differential is critical to ensuring you get reliable service from it throughout its lifespan. 

Here's a rundown of things every car owner can do to keep water out of their differentials:

Make sure vent hoses remain in tiptop shape

The differentials in all vehicles build pressure. If this pressure is not vented, it can cause damage to seals. That's why differentials usually come with vents connected to a rubber hose assembly. The vents release excess pressure from the differential, whereas the hose assembly is designed to prevent water ingress into the differential when driving in rainy weather. 

As vent hoses age, however, they wear and tear and may come off. This may cause rainwater to get into the differential and mix with differential oil, thus causing damage to the differential. Carrying out differential inspections on a regular basis can help prevent this and a host of other differential problems that may arise because of water ingress. Replacing a cracked or damaged vent hose can seem like an insignificant thing, but it can prevent potentially mammoth diff repairs.

Install extended differential breathers

When you're driving, diff fluids (the air and oil inside your diff) will heat up and expand. When cold water comes into contact with a hot differential, it will condense the fluids up to a point that the diff will suck in air via the diff breathers. Diff breathers are typically located close to the diff itself.

When you are driving through water, your diff breather will most likely be immersed in the water, even if you are just crossing a shallow puddle of water. When the breather is below water, it will end up sucking in water instead of air, leading to differential failures.

An effective way to deal with this problem is to invest in extended diff breathers. These breathers are raised to prevent water and other unwanted fluids from entering the differential housings by allowing the diff's internal pressure to even out the atmosphere during cooling. 

By implementing the above tips, you can successfully prevent diff repairs associated with water ingress.