How to break in a new limited-slip differential

Jason Fenske from is starting to wrench on his Honda S2000 project car. One of the latest areas of the car he’s attacking is the rear end.

His yellow Honda is getting a brand new limited-slip differential with more aggressive gearing. Before he gets to enjoy that extra aggression, however, Fenske has to break in the new differential and he’s happy to share how that process works.

When you first swap in the new components, you should avoid putting a ton of miles on your vehicle. Shorter trips help keep the differential from getting too hot. A longer trip would see the differential hit with higher temperatures, which could in turn lead to poor initial break-in wear of the parts that turn together. Additionally, if you were swapping a new differential into a truck, Fenske recommends that you avoid towing anything for the first 500 miles or more.

It’s during those first 500 miles where you going to need to go easy on your vehicle. After you hit that 500-mile mark, it’s time to change the oil in your rear end. This is because that initial wear and break-in process on your diff will see tiny metal filings worn off and then collected in your oil. A fresh batch of oil will clean all of that out and make for a perfect working environment for your shiny new gears. Fenske makes a good point when he suggests using an oil drain plug that has a magnetic end. This helps catch some of those filings as well.

A fix like this can go a long way on a car like Jason’s Honda S2000. Click play on the video above and you’ll learn a few more do’s and don’t when it comes to breaking in a fresh limited-slip differential.

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