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Haldex Servicing – Why and When?

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Haldex Service 4WD Icon
Borgwarner Haldex filter and oil

If you have a small VAG ‘4wd’ car; Whether it’s a TT Quattro, an S3, a Golf 4motion, or an Octavia 4×4, the chances are your car uses the Haldex four-wheel drive system. 

Unlike traditional four-wheel drive systems, this allows the vehicle to return similar fuel consumption to that of a front-wheel drive when driving in a relaxed manner such as cruising along on the motorway, but with the grip of an all-wheel drive car when it’s needed!

What is the ‘Haldex’ part of the rear diff? 
– What most people refer to as the Haldex is a coupling system attached to a traditional type rear differential that allows the rear drive to be brought in and out as it is needed. 
– The system operates using a wet multi-plate clutch setup, somewhat similar to that of most motorcycles.
– The Haldex pump provides oil pressure, which actuates the clutches to bring in the rear drive as and when the ECU requests it.

Why should I service this?
– Unlike differential oil, which lubricates; the Haldex oil is very specific and promotes friction between the faces of the multi-plate clutch setup.
– This friction between the plates causes particles of friction material to slowly build up within the oil.
– On most Haldex systems, a filter is installed which collects these unwanted particles, however, in more modern models, the filter is omitted in favour of an oil strainer at the pump. 

When should I service this?
– On vehicles with a Haldex Filter (Gen1 & Gen2) it is good practice to replace the oil and the filter at 20,000 mile intervals.
– On vehicles which don’t have a filter 
(Gen5), we recommend servicing every 3 years.

As the strainer on the pump can become blocked, eventually leading to pump failure. We always recommend removing the pump and cleaning the strainer (additional cost) as well as the housing whenever changing the Haldex oil on these models.

Before and after image of a haldex pump clean, before the pump is very dirty and full of oil

What about the front Haldex Diffs?
– Some Front-wheel drive vehicles including the Golf GTI Mk7’s with the Performance Pack and Leon Cupra Mk3 have a Haldex diff at the front of the vehicle.
– This ‘VAQ’ Haldex system actuates in the very same way as all of the four-wheel drive Haldex systems, only it vectors the torque between the two front wheels increasing traction during performance driving conditions.
– These should be given the same service attention as the Gen5 four-wheel drive models.

Can I use any oil in my Haldex System?
– No! You should ideally only ever use the Genuine VAG Haldex oil prescribed for your specific vehicle.
– The Haldex oil is a non-lubricative oil to promote friction of the clutch plates and using any other oil can result in a total loss of drive from the rear effectively converting your car into a front wheel drive.

How Much?

  • Gen1 & Gen2 Oil and Filter change £80.00
  • Gen5 Oil change £80.00
  • Gen 5 Oil change and pump clean £160.00
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