Thinking of ways to improve the performance of your off-road vehicle? Perhaps one of the best ways would be to upgrade its differential covers if you haven’t changed the factory covers yet.
But do these covers make any difference? Well, you will be surprised to learn that diff covers play an important role in your vehicle’s performance. Besides protecting your internal components of the differential from heat damage, they also keep them free from dirt and debris.
On the flip side, though, not every diff cover you find on the market will be a good fit for your type of truck.
So, finding the best differential cover designed to specifically fit your vehicle model is important. And in this guide, we have reviewed some of the top-rated products that are sure to hold up well during heavy use.
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WHAT IS A DIFFERENTIAL COVER?
As the name suggests, it is a cover or a housing designed to protect the front or rear differential as well as its components. One of its main functions is to cover your vehicle’s differential gears to keep moisture, dust, and dirt from them. It also helps protect the differential gear fluid from a wide range of contaminants.
Overall, you will find that diff covers are more useful when installed on off-road vehicles. This is because such vehicles are driven mostly on rugged terrains. And objects such as branches and rocks are more likely to damage the internal components of the differential.
Why Upgrade Differential Cover?
If you are thinking of upgrading your differential covers, you probably are wondering, is it really necessary? Well, here are some of the reasons as to why you might want to replace your diff covers with aftermarket models.
Enhanced strength and durability
Compared to factory covers, aftermarket differential covers are made from thicker and more durable materials for improved strength. More so, their fasteners feature high-strength steel construction. As such, you are likely to find them extremely reliable even in the toughest terrain.
One of the things you will love about aftermarket covers for differential is their efficient cooling performance. These covers made of premium materials like aluminum which is good at dissipating heat. On top of that, most models feature cooling fins to provide more cooling for the differential oil.
With OEM covers, they may not offer the best protection for your vehicle’s gears and other differential components. This is because the majority of them are constructed from rather thin stamped steel. But with aftermarket covers, they are built to provide maximum protection thanks to their heavy-duty construction.
By upgrading your differential cover, you can also enhance the style of your truck. For example, you could choose an aluminum cover with a high-gloss polishing or a chrome-plated steel cover.
Our 11 Best Differential Cover Reviews
With thousands of differential aftermarket covers available for you to choose from, how do you tell which is the best for your vehicle? We’ve rounded up some of the most reliable options that are worth considering.
1. Yukon Gear & Axle YHCC-D44 Differential cover
Combining strength, durability, and performance, there is no doubt that this cover is built for extreme terrain. First and foremost, the cover is made from thick-walled nodular iron that boasts a high level of strength. So, you can rest assured that it will withstand any kind of impact.
For added durability, it also features a powder coat finish and a stainless-steel plate. As such, you will find this diff cover highly resistant to both wear and tear plus rust.
Something else you will love about this diff cover is its steel fasteners designed for easy installation. All you’ve got to do is bolt on the cover. And to ensure efficient heat dissipation, it boasts streamlined contours for directing oil flow to the pinion bearings.
- Magnetic drain plug for a quick and easy oil change
- Made from ductile nodular iron for superior strength
- Compatible with Jeep Wrangler JK and most popular Jeep models
- Durable black powder coat finish
- High-strength alloy steel bolts for extended durability
2. A-Premium Rear Differential Cover with Gasket
Are you on a budget and looking for the best rear differential cover for your Ford F-150, F-250, or F-350? If yes, you might want to consider this model.
One of the things you are sure to like about this cover is its drain plug that allows you to change the oil with ease. This means that you won’t have to dismantle the diff cover just to install a new gasket after every oil change.
And when it comes to durability and protection, this cover will not disappoint you. It is constructed from low-carbon steel that is relatively strong for long-lasting performance. Further, it boasts an epoxy E-coat finish for enhanced protection against corrosion.
- Utilizes advanced technology for superior pan durability
- Drain plug allows for easy oil change and maintenance
- Compatible with most Ford trucks, including Lincoln
- Includes an oil pan for storing lubricants that flow back from the engine
- Made with low carbon steel with an Epoxy E-coat for added strength
3. Dorman 697-704 Rear Differential Cover
Here is yet another high-quality differential cover for the rear from the Dorman brand. According to the manufacturer, this product has undergone thorough testing. So, as far as its quality and durability is concerned, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
Even better, you will be pleased to learn that the cover is constructed with durable stamped steel. And to further enhance its long service life, it is coated with a corrosion-resistant finish. Therefore, you can breathe easy knowing that it will protect your vehicle’s gears from impacts like rocks and debris.
But you know what the best part is? The cover is built to match both the fit and function of an OE diff cover. This makes it easy for you to install it while also providing you with reliable performance.
- Tested for quality fit and long-lasting durability
- Boasts corrosion-resistant coating
- Fits selected Ford and Lincoln vehicle models
- Stamped steel construction for long-life and reliable performance
- The cover’s fit and function matches that of the OE differential cover
4. Banks Power 01-18 GM/RAM Differential Cover
Banks Power has an excellent track record that spans decades as far as developing high-performance products is concerned. And this differential cover is one of its kind and you will find out why.
To start with, one thing that really stands out about this Banks diff cover is its cooling features. It boasts a patented RAM Air design that offers the fastest cooling on the market by forcing air up into its massive fins. Consequently, this helps in ensuring the longevity of your truck’s gears and bearings.
What’s more? Like most aftermarket covers, this product is also fitted with a magnetic drain plug. So, you won’t need to remove the diff cover just to change the oil.
- A stainless steel sight glass for quick fluid inspection
- Patented fin design to keep fluid temperatures in check
- High-strength steel fasteners
- Constructed from sturdy materials to withstand all sorts of impacts
- 3/8” magnetic drain plug with a fill port plug for easy fluid change
5. Mag-Hytec Rear Differential Cover
Looking to boost your truck’s performance and at the same time enhance its style? If yes, you might want to invest in this Mag Hytec diff cover. The product boasts A356-T6 aluminum construction. As such, you can expect it to provide you with high-strength performance and efficient heat dissipation. And to help you enhance the aesthetics of your vehicle, the cover features black texture powder coating.
Aside from that, this cover is equipped with O-rings that create a tight seal. So, you don’t have to worry about the lubricant leaking from the drain plug. Also, thanks to the rings, you won’t have to use a gasket or sealant such as silicon.
You should also know that this product is machined with cooling fins. This means that regardless of how fast or hard you drive your pickup, you won’t have to worry about the fluid temperatures shooting up.
- Fitted with a magnetic-filled drain plug for ease of swapping out the fluid
- Backed by a lifetime warranty
- Made with lightweight and durable A356-T6 aluminum
- Cooling fins keep the oil cool and reduce wear
- Includes rust-resistant stainless-steel hardware
6. Proform 66668 Black Aluminum Differential Cover
Need an easy-to-install diff cover to strengthen your vehicle’s rear end? Well, the Proform 66668 Black Aluminum Differential Cover boasts a simple installation process. You can directly fit the diff into your factory rear end cover.
In terms of performance, this unit is constructed from lightweight but extremely tough aluminum materials. The thick aluminum construction is designed to strengthen your vehicle’s rear housing case for superior performance even in the most rugged terrains. It also boasts a black painted finish to enhance your truck’s looks.
Apart from the cover, you also get two magnetic drain plugs bolts for quick installation. The included plugs mean you don’t have to dismantle the diff cover anytime you want to change the fluid. As a result, maintenance also becomes easy.
- Available in a stylish black aluminum finish
- Comes with 2 bolts for stabilizing the bearing main caps
- Compatible with GM 10 bolt rear ends
- Tough and lightweight aluminum construction
- Mounting bolts with washers included for easy installation
7. YHTAUTO Rear Differential Cover and Gasket Set
If you are only interested in upgrading your rear cover, this product is an affordable option that you should consider. Despite being relatively inexpensive, it is still able to provide you with excellent off-road driving performance.
One of the reasons why it made it to this list of best differential cover products is its durable construction. You see, it is precisely made with high-quality steel materials to keep debris and dirt out of your truck’s gears. Its strong construction also helps prevent the lubricating fluid from leaking out.
On top of that, the product comes with a magnet plug to prevent contaminants from entering your vehicle’s fuel tank. So, it is less likely that you will experience oil oxidation. And in return, your truck’s engine will be able to last much longer.
- Direct replacement for a wide range of vehicle models
- Temperature and corrosion resistance design
- Delivers high sealing performance with its gasket
- Made with premium quality steel along with black paint finish
- Backed by a one-year unlimited mileage quality guarantee
8. Mag-Hytec Rear Diff Cover 86-12
Mag-Hytec is yet another reputable company that prides itself in making some of the best aftermarket differential covers. And when it comes to this specific product, it is designed to provide you with increased fluid capacity with its 6 quarts capacity. Therefore, you get to enjoy superior lubrication and cooling performance.
Something else that might make you want to get this Mag Hytec diff cover is its massive machined cooling fins. This feature comes in handy, especially when driving under heavy torque situations by keeping fluid temperatures in control.
And the best part is that the cover is made from A356-T6 aluminum material, which is not only lightweight but also long-lasting. Therefore, you can expect it to fully protect your gears from impacts. It also boasts a powder-coated black finish to give your vehicle a unique look.
- Fitted with O-rings for excellent sealing without silicone or gasket
- Magnetic drain plugs keep the lubricant fluid clean
- Includes high-quality stainless-steel washers, plugs, and cap screws
- Made of lightweight and high-strength A356-T6 aluminum
- Cooling fins for better heat dissipation
9. AllStrong Premium OEM Quality Differential Cover
If you like the feel and quality of OEM differential covers but still want an upgrade, this product might interest you. This is because it boasts OEM quality. But what we really love about this cover is its unique bearing support system. This feature provides you with greater control of your vehicle, especially when driving under extreme conditions and speeds.
Additionally, you will be happy to know that this unit is built from premium-quality cast aluminum. As such, you don’t need to worry that it might break under high loads of horsepower because it is designed to dissipate heat faster. This, therefore, makes it suitable for racing or street use.
And the best part is that it comes with all the necessary mounting hardware such as bolts and gasket for ease of installation. So, if you’ve got the right tools, you can install the cover in just 30 minutes or slightly more.
- Compatible with 1979-2004 Ford Mustang models
- OEM quality for direct replacement
- Made of aluminum materials for improved durability and cooling
- Boasts a beautiful and natural silver finish on all sides for enhanced aesthetics
- Bearing support system for reduced friction and smooth driving experience
10. A-Premium Rear Differential Cover with Gasket & Magnet
A-Premium is one of the leading manufacturers of top-quality aftermarket differential covers. So, if you are looking to replace your broken diff covers, this product is an excellent choice for you. You can count on it to bring both performance and protection to your truck’s rear end.
Aside from that, you will appreciate the fact that this unit is constructed out of durable steel for maximum strength. And for added durability under different off-road driving conditions, the cover utilizes advanced technology.
In addition, it is fitted with a drain plug designed to help catch any loose particles and other impurities. Consequently, it helps increase the lifespan of your gears while also preventing fluid oxidation. More so, the plug allows you to easily change the oil without the need to dismantle the cover.
- Drain plug and magnet protect gears from damage
- Pan design provides increased fluid capacity
- Black painted finish for added protection and style
- Made from premium quality steel that is rust-resistance
- Fitted with cooling fins to allow maximum heat dissipation
11. Dorman 697-725 Differential Cover
While this product is designed to match the fit and function of an OE differential cover, its overall quality is top-notch. For instance, it is constructed out of thick stamped steel to provide you with increased strength and durability. And to further enhance its durable performance, the cover boasts a corrosion-resistant coating.
As if that’s not enough, you will be pleased to learn that this diff cover is fitted with external cooling fins. These fins work by transferring excess heat from the lubricating fluid to the ambient air. Consequently, it ensures that your vehicle’s fluids stay cool all the time.
Additionally, the Dorman 697-725 Differential Cover comes already installed with a magnet. The magnet is designed to capture any loose particles that could potentially damage the ring gears of your Ford pickup. As a result, this ensures a long service life.
- Compatible with most Ford F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550 Super Duty models
- Tested for quality fit and durability
- Direct replacement since the fit matches that of OE covers
- Made of high-quality and thick stamped steel for superior performance
- Built-in external cooling fins to keep fluid temperatures in check
How do I know what differential cover I need?
Choosing a diff cover for your specific vehicle type can be a bit challenging. This is because different products are made from different types of materials. Not to mention, their prices vary too. But we hope this guide will help you in knowing what diff cover you need.
Differential covers are available in a variety of distinctive shapes plus configurations. So, if you end up buying a cover with a shape different from that of your factory diff cover, then you will have a problem.
But how do you know the shape of your diff covers? Well, it’s simple. Just place a couple of axle stands underneath your truck’s axle to confirm the shape of your covers.
Besides the shape, you should look out for the number of bolts, the diameter of the ring gear, and the amount of ring gear bolts.
Consider the type of material
Aftermarket differential covers are made of different materials such as aluminum, stamped steel, and nodular iron.
Generally, you will find that most units are constructed out of aluminum. This is because the material is lightweight and very efficient at dissipating heat. However, if you compare its strength to a material like nodular iron, it is not very strong.
Stamped steel, on the other hand, is also a good material for making diff covers. Unlike OEM covers that use thin stamped steel, aftermarket covers are made from thicker steel. So, you can be sure they will withstand impacts from rocks and debris. Stamped steel diff covers are also relatively cheap compared to their aluminum and nodular iron counterparts.
If you are looking for a differential cover that boasts high-strength performance, you should get one made out of nodular iron. This material can withstand the most brutal impacts, thereby making it the best for off-road use. Just don’t expect it to dissipate heat as fast as aluminum cover.
If you decide to drive your truck harder or at faster speeds, you may end up subjecting it to extreme temperatures. Unfortunately, the excess heat may eventually damage your vehicle.
Therefore, when buying a diff cover, you must consider if it comes with cooling features since factory covers don’t have them. It will be the only way to keep your truck’s oil temperatures in check and prolong its life.
Some of the features to look out for are cooling fins. Also, you can consider getting a cover made from aluminum as this material tends to dissipate heat pretty well.
Another way to tell what differential cover you need is by considering its fitment. You see, diff covers don’t feature a universal fit. This means that a cover designed to fit a Jeep may not necessarily be compatible with your Ford truck.
Alternatively, a diff cover compatible with Ford F-250 1999-2018 models may not be a good fit for 2019-2021 models. So, you must confirm whether the cover you are planning to buy is compatible with your specific vehicle type.
Magnetic drain plug
Some differential covers require you to remove the cover when you want to change the oil and then reinstall it. Like most people, you will probably find this to be a lot of work.
Luckily, some models usually include a magnetic drain plug for ease of changing the oil. The plug also helps keep your vehicle’s differential fluid clean from contaminants. So, be sure to look out for this feature if you don’t want to have to remove the cover every time you are changing the oil.
Rear vs. front covers
When shopping for diff covers, you need to consider whether you want to upgrade the rear or the front covers alone. Or, it could be both. This is because some brands only include the rear end covers while others just the front.
Furthermore, you cannot install your front end covers at the rear because the front and rear axles are not built the same. So, make sure to confirm if the diff covers you want to purchase are designed specifically for the rear or the front.
Are front and rear diff covers the same?
No, they are completely different. This means that your rear cover will not fit front or vice versa since they have different shapes. They also differ in terms of the size of the ring gear with the front cover being a little smaller.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Now let’s take a quick look at some of the commonly asked questions about differential covers to help you make a good purchasing decision.
1. Should I upgrade my differential cover?
Yes, if you would like to improve your vehicle’s performance and increase its gears lifespan. Compared to factory diff covers, aftermarket covers offer a better cooling effect and superior protection.
2. Are aluminum differential covers any good?
Compared to other covers, aluminum diff covers are very light in weight. They also tend to dissipate heat faster, thereby keeping your vehicle’s fluids cool.
3. Can you paint differential cover?
Yes, you can. If you like the custom differential cover then buy a can of spray paint with primer. Just follow the spray painting guideline of Availablepaints to paint it.
4. Can I install the diff covers by myself?
Well, most diff covers that you’re going to find on the market are easy to install. So, you can do the installation yourself. Some models even allow for direct replacement.
5. Do aftermarket diff covers come with a gasket?
Some models, yes. But others no, which means you have to either buy the gasket separately or a sealant to seal the differential housing.
There is no denying how important it would be to upgrade your differential covers. But since there are so many aftermarket covers, you are likely to get confused on which product to choose.
So, in our opinion, the Yukon Gear & Axle YHCC-D44 Differential cover seems like the overall best differential cover. Because thanks to its nodular iron construction, it tends to offer high-strength performance and maximum protection. But if you are on a budget and just need a diff cover for the rear end, then you can consider the A-Premium Rear Differential Cover with Gasket as an alternative.