An axle seal is the component of the car that connects the axle to the rear differential, or the transmission. The use of the axle seal is to keep transmission fluid from leaking. Depending on the size of the leak, it could be okay to drive with a leaking axle seal, but not for too long.
If you are bothered about a leaking axle seal, here are 2 things to look out for:
- Oil puddle under vehicle.One of the more common symptoms the axle seal is leaking is oil below your car after it has been parked. Your driveway is one of the places you will notice the oil leak. If you begin to notice oil drops on your driveway, it could be a symptom of a leaking axle seal.
- Transmission slipping at highway speeds.While an oil spot on the driveway is a regular sign, it does not always happen since the axle seal leaks more during highway driving. Instead, you may observe your transmission slipping at highway speeds. Because the transmission fluid drops, there is not enough fluid for brake band friction, valve operation, gear lubrication, and the torque converter. If the leaking axle seal does not get repaired soon and the transmission is slipping, you could create permanent damage to the transmission.
The severity of the leak influences how safe it is to drive with a leaking axle seal. If there is great fluid loss, so much that it affects the transmission; the car should not be driven. If the leak is small and you can’t make it to an appointment for a few days, it is okay to drive your car as long as you keep the transmission fluid full. Do not push it too far though, as ruining your transmission is an expensive repair.
The most common cause of a leaking axle seal is it improper axle installation or removal. In addition, the axle seal can wear out over time, which can make it to leak. A leaking axle seal may be covered by your car’s Powertrain Warranty, so check your vehicle’s brochure to see if this is the case.
If your car has a small axle seal leak, it may be okay to continue driving for now, but you should look to have your vehicle’s axle shaft checked and potentially replaced as soon as possible. Ensure to keep your transmission fluid full so your transmission keeps running smoothly. If you have a large leak and your transmission keeps slipping, it is not a good thing to drive with a leaking axle seal.