The axle seal is a circular piece of material that prevents leaking at the axle entry point while allowing the axle to rotate freely. If this part breaks, it can cause all sorts of problems for your transmission system. Here are a few signs and symptoms to watch for:
Oil Stains On Your Driveway
Puddles of oil on your driveway are usually one of the earliest signs of an axle seal leak. As the seal tears and cracks, oil tends to seep through and leak out, pooling underneath your car. These stains will be particularly noticeable after you’ve been parked for a few hours, as the fluid has more time to drip down from your car and collect on the ground.
Strange Fluid Behind the Wheel
Drops of reddish-brown fluid behind the left front wheel, where the driveshaft connects to the transmission are another symptom. An axle seal leaks more during highway driving, so the oil drops on the driveway may not always be present. As more fluid is leaked out, the transmission fluid level drops and the transmission will start slipping. If not caught in time, the transmission may even get permanently damaged.
Getting under the car to check this out is a hassle but your mechanic might point it out when your car is up on the lift, or highlight it in the repair pictures they send you.
Dampness around the Seal
A slight axle seal leak may only appear as a damp area around the seal. Like the oil stains we mentioned earlier, as the leak gets more severe it’s more likely to cause fluid to leak onto the ground. Leaking fluid can also find its way onto the exhaust system, resulting in a burning smell when the exhaust is warm. The leak can also contaminate your brake shoes, causing funny noises and affecting your braking ability.
Pro Tip: Get Regular Oil Changes
Replacing a leaking axle shaft isn’t an easy DIY job so it’s always best to have your car checked out by a professional. If you get your oil changed regularly, your mechanic can typically spot an axle seal leak early on, especially if there’s oil splashed around the area of the seal. This early detection will ultimately give you more time to have it repaired, before any major damage is done.
At V&F, our certified mechanics use latest diagnostic equipment, and high quality CARQUEST auto parts, to make sure we get the job done right. Plus, our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3 year / 36,000 mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.
This article was originally published tin 2018 and has been updated for clarity.