Taking care of a Subaru comes with some responsibilities. Changing the front differential fluid is surely one of them. But to do that, you must know about the correct type of Subaru front differential fluid.
Here, we will be discussing the type of fluid and also talking about its capacity. As a bonus, we will also leave some recommendations for quality differential fluid for Subaru.
Why Does Your Subaru Need Front Differential Fluid?
Differential fluid is part of maintaining the axles of your car. It’s a fluid that keeps the internals of the axles lubricated. You can consider it a special oil that keeps the front or rear axle up and running without any issues.
When it comes to the front axle of your Subaru, you will want it to adapt to different torque levels.
But without proper lubrication, the front axles will fail to do that. As a result, the front wheels on your Subaru won’t be able to rotate at varying speeds.
So, to keep the front axles running smoothly, you will need to lubricate the parts from time to time. That’s when you have to use the front differential fluid.
The specialized motor oil lubricates the axle and makes it capable enough to give you a smooth driving experience.
Differential Fluid Type for Subaru
Now, let’s talk about the specific type of fluid you should pick up for your Subaru. Check out the table below to see which kind of fluid will suit Subaru cars the best.
|Component||Oil Base||Oil grade||SAE Viscosity|
|Front differential||Synthetic/ Full Synthetic||API GL-5||75w-80|
|Front differential||Synthetic/ Full Synthetic||API GL-5||80w-90|
|Front differential||Synthetic/ Full Synthetic||API GL-5||75w-90|
Subaru advises users to use a synthetic oil base for their front differential fluid with an API classification of GL-5. Here, we’ll examine each of these factors individually.
API GL-5 Standard
Usually, a GL-5 rating means the oil will be used in gears with a very high sliding force. The axles of a Subaru have exactly that kind of gear setup. So, you must use a differential fluid with a GL-5 rating.
Anything other than that might work as a temporary solution, but they won’t do a good job for longer. It’s a must to maintain the API standard for your differential fluid.
For the oil base, Subaru recommends synthetic oils in general. It’s the best-suited oil to use for your front differential because it provides the highest possible performance you can desire. Depending on the car model, you may choose synthetic or full synthetic.
As for mineral oils, you may end up saving some money with them. But the performance boost will be horrible and not worthwhile or enjoyable.
When it’s to the oil’s viscosity, there are several ways to go about it. It will depend mostly on the Subaru model you have.
If you have a Subaru with high performance or an older model of Subaru, you can get by with SAE 75w-90 fluid.
But for the most part, a 75w-80 is great for modern Subaru cars. Although, an 80w-90 works out pretty well too.
None of them should cause any problems, and you can use one of the three viscosities for your Subaru front differentials.
All in all, you can use any oil out there that has the similar properties we have discussed here.
As long as the gear oil is synthetic, has a GL-5 API classification, and comes in a 75w-90 viscosity, it should be good enough for your Subaru.
The Capacity of Differential Fluid for Subaru
For the capacity of the front differential fluid, it’s better to go with something around 1.3 US quarts or 1.2 liters.
That’s the standard oil capacity that Subaru recommends using in their cars. However, the number varies based on the model of the car.
Below is a table showing the front differential oil capacity for different Subaru models.
|Model||Engine||Front differential capacity|
|Subaru Crosstrek||FB20 engine||1.18 liters|
|Subaru Ascent||FA24 Turbo engine||1.18 liters|
|Subaru Forester||FB25D engine||1.28 liters|
|Subaru Impreza||FB20 engine||1.18 liters|
|Subaru Legacy||FA24 Turbo engine||1.18 liters|
|Subaru Legacy||FB25D engine||1.28 liters|
|Subaru Outback||FB25D engine||1.28 liters|
As you can see, most of the front differential oil capacity is a standard 1.2 liters. While it may vary slightly based on the different models and engines, you can still use a 1.2-liter capacity oil and make it work for your Subaru model.
Some Quality Differential Fluid Recommendations for Subaru
While there is a recommendation for what type and capacity of differential fluid you should use, there is no recommendation for a brand.
So, you can choose any differential fluid brand that meets the specifications mentioned earlier.
But at the same time, you don’t want to pick up low-quality oil in your precious Subaru.
Keeping up with that, here are some quality recommendations for Subaru front differential fluids from our side.
|Brand||Viscosity||API standards||Liquid volume|
|Motul Gear 300||75w-90||GL-5||6.6 Gallons|
|Red Line||75w-90||GL-5||1 gallon|
Among these 5 choices, Subaru always recommends the one they make for their cars. It’s the same oil you would get in the front differential from the factory. So, of course, it’s the best pick for your Subaru vehicle.
Other than that, you can still check out the other options as a choice based on your requirements, because the Subaru oils may not be available at all times.
Besides these 5 choices, there are plenty of other oil options. You can use any of them as long as they meet the viscosity and API standards.
When to Change the Differential Fluid on Subaru?
Changing the differential fluid on your Subaru is regular maintenance that you must follow up on. Typically, changing it every 30 to 50 thousand miles is better.
But sometimes, changing the differential fluid on your Subaru is mandatory.
Several signs indicate you need a differential fluid change in your car. Let’s take a quick look at those signs.
- The car will start to vibrate unusually due to the roughness
- Some humming or whirring noises will come from the engine
- There might be a burning smell coming from the front part of the gearbox
- Difficulties in making turns due to lack of lubrication
Usually, these are the signs that should give you a hint that it’s time to replace the differential fluid on the front axle.
However, these are some issues that you can easily avoid if you simply opt to change the fluid every 30,000 miles.
Don’t know how to change the fluid? Then, follow along with the video below to learn the process. It’s very simple.
Well, we have given you answers to all kinds of queries related to the front differential fluid of Subaru. But you might still have some questions left in your mind. So, let’s take a look at some of the common questions regarding the matter.
Can I use ATF in my Subaru differential?
Yes, you can use ATF or transmission fluid for your Subaru differentials. But that’s only viable in emergency scenarios. Because the viscosity of transmission fluid may not be the same as the recommended differential fluid. It can cause issues in the long run.
What oil base is best for Subaru differentials?
It’s always better to use a synthetic oil base for Subaru, regardless of the model. You can either go with full synthetic or just synthetic fluid because they can provide you with the most optimal performance with fine-tuning.
What’s the recommended fluid for Subaru automatic transmission?
The best choice for Subaru automatic transmissions is the Subaru OEM ATF. It’s the fluid that Subaru manufactures and uses itself. So, there can be no better option than this one for any Subaru vehicle with an automatic transmission.
What is the best aftermarket differential oil for Subaru?
Besides the genuine Subaru differential oil, two other names are quite popular among Subaru users. It’s the Motul Gear 300 and the differential fluid from Red Line. Both of these are excellent choices for a Subaru.