Rear differential problem

  • 117,000 MILES
I have had the car 2 weeks and driven approx. 260 miles in it.I broke down on the motorway after driving 36 miles from home. The AA said it was likely to be the rear differential because of the oil leaking onto the exhaust at the rear causing blue smoke to billow out. My question is would the previous owner (hes a professional car mechanic and owns a garage ) konown of the fault with the rear differential before I purchased it from him because it was his wifes car and he had maintained it from new?
thanx phil
Do you
have the same problem?
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 AT 6:48 AM

1 Reply

Blue smoke is a sign of engine oil burning in the engine, not rear differential gear lube dripping sideways onto hot exhaust parts. Anything dripping onto hot parts will cause black or gray smoke.

"Broke down" doesn't tell us anything. That can mean anything from a flat tire to the engine exploded and blew the hood off the car.

Of course the previous owner was psychic and knew the car had a problem. He did something to it to magically make it run fine for 260 miles. My recommendation is to use some of the higher-quality, more expensive magic to make it run fine for 300 miles or more, then keep doing that.

There are indeed things we can hide for a few miles, but think about this from the previous owner's point of view. Every car develops problems in its lifetime because it's a mechanical device with parts that wear out. The issue isn't when the problem occurs. It's who owns the car when it occurs. If a mechanic suspects a problem is going to occur he takes steps to avoid it or minimize its effects. He doesn't quickly pedal onto an unsuspecting buyer who he thinks will come back and complain. We have enough trouble with cars you already have owned for years and you're mad that we aren't psychic and told you a problem was going to occur in the future. We don't need to cause more complaints.

By your own admission the car was running fine when you bought it, so what should the previous owner have fixed? Nothing was broken. By your logic he should have known about and fixed all the problems that are going to occur in the future. If we were really that good at predicting the future we would be stock traders or doctors.

The first thing you need to do is have the problem diagnosed by a mechanic, not a tow truck driver. If some type of oil is indeed leaking underneath, look for the point furthest forward you see wetness. Oil drips down and sprays rearward from the source of the leak. There are a number of little things that can cause leaks that result in lots of smoke, and there are a few big things. We can make some informed judgements once we know what has caused the problem. Until we know better lets assume the previous owner sold you the vehicle in good faith and with no known problems.
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Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 AT 8:20 AM

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