How to change front differential oil on a Porsche Cayenne Hybrid & Diesel (2011-2018)

Maintenance Interval 8 Years or 80,000 Miles (120,000 Kilometers)
Estimated Dealer Cost $400
Estimated Independent Mechanic Cost $250
Estimated DIY Cost $40
Repair Time 1.5 hours
DIY Difficulty Easy

Changing your front differential oil is important to keep your drivetrain smooth. Over time, the oil loses its critical properties that prevent metal on metal contact. This is a easy do-it-yourself as long as you have the proper tools and ability to get your vehicle off the ground safely. If you are unsure of how to do this procedure, please visit a certified mechanic.

While Porsche recommends owners change the differential fluid every 16 years or 160,000 miles, we believe this is too long. This is a cheap and easy do-it-yourself as long as you have the proper tools and ability to get your vehicle off the ground safely. For an overview of the procedure, check out the above DIY from the YouTube channel, DIY Dan. While the video covers the 955/957 generation Cayenne, the procedure is nearly identical on the 958 Cayenne. Detailed steps, parts, and tools required can be found below.

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Torque Specs & Fluid Capacities:

Differential drain and fill plugs: 26 ft-lbs
Front differential gear oil capacity: 0.5 liter (oil measurement under lower edge of fill port should be 5mm +/- 2MM)

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1: Prepare your vehicle and work area.

  • Starting with a cold engine, drive your car lightly for 5 minutes to get the drivetrain fluid warmed up; this will make it easier to drain the differential fluid.
  • Park your car on a flat surface.
  • Gather required tools and parts.
  • Put on gloves and eye protection.

Step 2: Raise your vehicle to give yourself extra clearance.

  • If you have air suspension, simply raise your car to the highest ride height.
  • If not, raise your vehicle with a lift or jack stands; it is very important your car is level during the procedure.
  • If using a jack and jack stands, be sure to engage parking brake and use wheel chocks to prevent your car from rolling.
  • To get jack stands on the front jack points, jack the vehicle by the center cross member as shown in the photos.
  • To get jack stands on the rear jack points, jack the vehicle up be the rear cross member which is just ahead of the rear differential and in between the exhaust pipes.
  • NEVER rely on a jack to support your vehicle.
  • Note: If you have air suspension and decided to jack up the car, you will need to lock the air suspension by starting the car and holding the air suspension button up for 10 seconds. You will see an indicator pop up on your gauge cluster.

Step 3: Remove the underbody trays.

  • Remove front underbody trays, which are held on by several T25 Torx screws and 10mm bolts.
  • Also remove the panel covering the mid section of the vehicle, which is held on by 10mm bolts.

Step 4: Remove the front differential fill bolt.

  • As shown in the video from TOM RAST, locate the differential fill bolt, which is located above the drain bolt.
  • Remove the fill bolt with a stubby 8mm allen key (linked in tools section).
  • If you cannot get the fill bolt off, STOP and do not proceed with the procedure.

Step 5: Drain the front differential.

  • Place a drain pan under the drain plug.
  • Remove the drain plug using an 8mm hex bit or allen key.
  • Allow the differential to drain for 15 minutes.
  • Install a new drain bolt and torque it to 26 ft-lbs; if you do have a new drain bolt, be sure your old drain bolt is in good condition before reusing it.

Step 6: Fill the front differential with fresh oil.

  • While the oil capacity is 0.5 liter, start by adding ~0.4 liter of oil to the differential via the fill port using a fluid pump as shown in this video from BleeinJeep.
  • You will check the oil level in the next step.

Step 7: Check the oil level and top off if needed

  • To check the differential oil, you will need to use a paper clip bent in an L-shape or small allen key.
  • The oil level is measured from the lower edge of the fill port to the top of the oil level; insert the L-shape paper clip or allen key into the fill port and use it as a dip stick.
  • The distance from the lower edge of the fill port to the top of the oil should measure 5mm (+/- 2mm tolerance).
  • If needed, add more oil until the right level is reached.
  • Install the fill bolt and torque it to 26 ft-lbs.
  • Note: We recommend you install new drain and fill bolts; however, if you do not have new ones, make sure your old drain and fill bolts are in good condition before re-using it.
Check the oil level and top off if needed

Step 8: Re-install everything in reverse.

  • Re-install the underbody panel and lower your car.
  • Store the old gear oil in a plastic container, so you can take it to your nearest auto parts store to recycle.
  • Clean up your workspace and put all of your tools and supplies away.
  • You’re all done!

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