Is this maintenance needed?

I have a 2008 Dodge Quad 2500 4x4 with the Cummins Turbo Diesel (CTD). One of the maintenance charts shows “replace axle fluids, front and rear, at 15,000 miles”. It shows a 15K interval for this maintenance item. The cost, from a dealer is about $350. The fluid costs $42/qt. My question: Is this a valid frequency? What is the impact if I don’t change the fluid? My other vehicles required changing the fluids at ~75,000. The fluid is a synthetic (Mobil 75w90 synt); why does Dodge require this frequent a change?

I dont know why for sure they started this axle fluid change interval when they went to american axle corperation in the trucks

Good question! It may be because your Dodge 4x4 with Cummins dioesel is expected to do real heavy work, while your other vehicles are basically passenger cars that seldom go off road. Are your differentials of the limited slip type?

I have personally never seen this type of short interval. When Japanese cars first came to the USA they had a requirement of 20,000 miles or so to change the rear axle fluid. Those were the sixties and seventies when Japanese cars were of marginal quality.

My Caprice had a limited slip rear end; it required fluid change (regular dino)at 24,000 miles due to the clutches developing a lot of heat.

We did this for BMW X5’s but it was a special circumstance as the fluid was contaminated with metal shavings, not a normal service interval situation.

I would suggest that Harry ask someone at Chrysler customer service if this procedure is required for warranty coverage. If it is required, he can at least go to an independent mechanic in order to save some money, but it would be very short-sighted to skip a maintenance procedure if it is required under the terms of the Powertrain Warranty coverage.

I have a 1995 360V8 Ram Powerwagon. It has 168,000 miles and the axle lube has NEVER been changed and it’s not going to get changed either.

This “improvement” sounds like they are trying to create profit centers for the dealers.

When you see this kind of stuff, it usually means the gear units are junk and they are trying to cover that up by using expensive super lubricants and hoping they last until the warrantee is over. They make fill plugs that contain a strong magnet and these keep the gear oil free of metal particles. Unless you have a pop-in rubber plug.

Dana or Spicer made your axles and they have been making them for 50 years or more. Millions of them have survived for countless miles with $3/qt 90w gear oil lubricating them…

First of all Harry, what do you do with your 2500 4x4?? Do you do any off roading? Do you do any extensive towing? If you are doing normal day to day driving, I would extend that out. Maybe even to the 60 or 75k mile mark.


  1. I use the vehicle for driving to Work (80%), hauling stuff around 10%, off-roading 3%, towing RV (7%). I live in NM and do a lot of mountain driving. I geocache, which means I may end up in the boonies. I live in the country, which means lots of yard work. The truck does have the limited slip differential.
  2. My old truck (99 Chevy Silverado 4x4 Ext Cab w/6.0 L) required fluid change at 75,000. I drove from 2001 to last year when I bought the Dodge; it had 154,000 when I sold it.
  3. I plan to retire soon (maybe in Jan) so my towing will go up. I also have a slide in truck sleeper which I use for camping (but I don’t get out that often these days -toooo windy to fish).

One of the maintenance charts shows

Is that a Dodge Corporation maintenance chart or a dealer maintenance chart? I would say that if it is a Dodge Corporation chart, do it. If it is a dealer chart, that is nothing more than a reminder that the dealer is not to be trusted and why the heck are you going to the dealer for maintenance. Unless it is free, you can have it done anywhere you like, just keep records and receipts to protect the warranty.

Regardless what anybody else tells you, if it is in the owners’ manual as required maint. then you need to perform the service to ensure you will have warranty coverage if you have differential problems in the future. As stated by others, you can have the work performed wherever you want. Just use the correct fluids.

If your differentials are LIMITED SLIP, I would do as the book says. They will take a special fluid with an additive for the clutches. Good shops use standard fluid and keep the additive on hand. Make sure you tell the shop about this. Not putting the additive in will wreck the clutches.

Thanks to all for your comments. The Dodge maintenance manual requires the 15,000 mile fluid change. I’ll do it myself; costs (so far) $108 for gaskets, $70 for fluid (Mobil 70w90 synth). No other additive required, at least that is what the Dodge service person told me. Dealer cost to change: $360 for both; $42/qt for the fluid x 7 qt. Very expensive!
I spent over an hour changing the fuel filter tonight. What a challenge! Good thing I’m ambidextrous; I could have used a third hand for the light. Oh well, now I know what I’ll be doing this weekend. I will verify if I need an additive. Thanks again.