How to change rear differential oil on a Porsche Cayenne (2003-2010)

Maintenance Interval 8 Years or 80,000 Miles (120,000 Kilometers)
Estimated Dealer Cost $400
Estimated Independent Mechanic Cost $250
Estimated DIY Cost $80
Repair Time 1 hour
DIY Difficulty Easy

Changing your rear 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. 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
Oil capacity (non-locking differential): 1.4 liters
Oil capacity (locking rear differential option) 1.6 liters

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.
  • Be sure to use wheel chocks and the parking brake 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 rear differential fill bolt.

  • Crawl under the rear of the vehicle and locate the rear differential.
  • You should see two 8mm hex bolts. The one on the bottom is the drain bolt. The one located higher is the fill 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 4: Drain the rear 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.

Step 5: Fill the rear differential with fresh oil.

  • Install the drain bolt and torque it to 26 ft-lbs.
  • Add ~1.4 liters of oil to the differential via the fill port using a fluid pump as shown in this video from BleeinJeep. Note: If your vehicle is equipped with the rear locking differential option, it uses 1.6 liters.
  • As long as your car is level, you’ve reached capacity once the oil starts to drip.
  • 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.

Step 6: Lower your vehicle.

  • 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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