Differential Fluid for an Aston Martin DB9

Limited Slip Differential

The rear differential is an often neglected but essential component of the high performance drivetrain in an Aston Martin DB9.  Most people know about engine oil and transmission fluid, but what about the unsung hero of the rear wheel drive – the differential? All Gaydon era Aston Martins (DB9, Vantage, DBS, Rapide and Vanquish) have a ‘limited slip’ high performance rear differential.   It is lubricated by special gear oil (differential fluid).  For cars with automatic transmissions Aston Martin recommends it be changed every two years as part of the 2 year annual service regime (learn about that here).   I dug in and researched what the correct differential fluid.  It is different for manual or automatic transmission vehicles, so read on which one is right for your car. Continue reading “Differential Fluid for an Aston Martin DB9”

Power Steering Fluid for an Aston Martin DB9

(NOT me at the wheel)

Did you know that all Gaydon era Aston Martins (DB9, Vantage, DBS, Vanquish) use a hydraulic power steering system like many modern cars.  Since it is hydraulic, that means it has hydraulic fluid, or more commonly described as Power Steering Fluid.   Like any fluid in your car it can break down or leak away, so checking the fluid level should be part of every Annual Service.  If you discover that the fluid level is low, the next question is what do you top it off with?  Early model DB9’s even have an issue with the original fluid they used.   Read on to learn what the correct fluid is and what the issue was with early cars. Continue reading “Power Steering Fluid for an Aston Martin DB9”

Coolant for an Aston Martin DB9 V12

A long time ago choosing the correct coolant for a car used to be easy.  Water.  Then along came glycol based antifreeze like Prestone and it was still easy- put the green stuff in.  The situation today is considerably different with Blue, Green, Pink, Red and even Orange coolants.   Generally the colors indicate a different standard, but you can’t count on the color alone any more.

According to Aston Martin the coolant in V12 engines should be changed every Five (5) years as part of your annual service.  The question is – Changed with what?   Read on to learn more. Continue reading “Coolant for an Aston Martin DB9 V12”

Engine Oil for an Aston Martin DB9

Choosing the brand of Engine Oil appears to be a religious decision for some.  Not just Aston Martin owners, but with car enthusiasts everywhere.  From Mobil 1, to Motul, Castrol, Royal Purple, and even generic cheapo brands the forum discussions run the gamut hot and heavy.   I take a more pragmatic approach to it – What does Aston say is best for it?  In this article I’ll take you on a quick FACT based tour of the requirements for the V12 engine (note this is not the same for the V8’s in the Vantage).  If you want the short version to skip the reading, just use Mobil 1 0W-40 like Aston recommends.  Read on for the why…. Continue reading “Engine Oil for an Aston Martin DB9”

Adjusting the Windshield Washer Spray on an Aston Martin DB9

Not everything on an Aston Martin needs to be complicated. One of the simplest (and essential) tasks we can perform ourselves is to adjust the Windshield Washer Fluid Sprayers so they are properly aimed.   While often overlooked, this is a serious safety issue when you consider it.   Being able to wash off debris that splashes up and obscures your vision while driving  is a real necessity.  Checking this should be part of every annual maintenance event, but it can even be accomplished road side when you discover they aren’t working as needed on a trip.   Let me show you how. Continue reading “Adjusting the Windshield Washer Spray on an Aston Martin DB9”

Changing the Windscreen Washer Fluid Reservoir in an Aston Martin DB9

My DB9 would piddle washer fluid on my foot each time I’d top up the reservoir.   Kind of embarrassing [also reinforcing my Sweetie’s nick name for the car – Princess Piddles].  I knew she had the problem from the day I purchased her.  I saw the leak the first time I topped off the fluid, and in one of my earliest video’s I spotted a crack near the top of the plastic tank. As it turns out, a cracked tank is a very common issue with the DB9, Vantage and other Gaydon models. The leak was not catastrophic, it still held 90% of the fluid and certainly functioned, and I could have just left it this way indefinitely. But, you know me, I figured if it was a problem on my car, it might be a problem on yours, so covering how to change out the tank would help us all. Let me share a few of my tips as I show you how to tackle this yourself. Continue reading “Changing the Windscreen Washer Fluid Reservoir in an Aston Martin DB9”

Changing the Door Gas Struts in an Aston Martin DB9

I thought it was just another sign of getting older.  I was having a hard time getting out of my Aston Martin DB9.   I’d be seated in the car and it felt like I had to push the door open and hold it up while extricating myself from the car.  Turns out it wasn’t me, it was the Door Check Arm Gas Struts were getting weak.

The Swan Wing doors are one of the distinct features of the DB9.  The doors open ‘up’ at an angle of about 12 degrees, creating a Swan like look.  Unlike other road cars with normal horizontal doors, the DB9 requires Gas Struts to help open and hold open a door.

My car is 15 years old, and Gas Struts don’t perform well forever.  They have seals and begin to loose pressure very gradually (getting weaker).  You won’t notice it right away, but eventually the door may start to not hold itself open.  One day that Swan is going to bite you in the ass, and you’ll know its time to change them. Continue reading “Changing the Door Gas Struts in an Aston Martin DB9”

Changing the Hood Struts on an Aston Martin DB9

During my recent 1 year service I had the hood (bonnet) up while I was raising the car to get under her to drop the oil. There was a little wiggle/jiggle to the hood as the car went up. Then SLAM! The hood slammed shut unabated from full open. Holy crap – scared the jeebers out of me.

Other than raising my heart rate, this could have damaged a lot of things. The hood ‘stops’ are on the plastic front grill surround, it could easily have broken those off closing with such force. If I had left something sitting on the engine or slam panel (funnel, tools) it would have slammed hard against those and could have dented the hood (or my back!).

What’s going on here is that the two hydraulic gas struts that assist in lifting the hood, and keeping it open, are getting weak.  Eventually the seals begin to leak a bit and they no longer have the force they used to.  This is normal behavior as a car ages, and gets even worse as winter closes in. The good news is that replacing them is a fairly simple process and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Let me show you how. Continue reading “Changing the Hood Struts on an Aston Martin DB9”

Changing the Trunk Gas Struts in an Aston Martin DB9

SLAM! WTF?? The trunk (boot) lid on my 2005 DB9 was just hammering closed. It’s been like that somewhat from when I purchased it 7 years ago, but recently it wouldn’t even hold itself open any longer. At this point it changed from a nuisance to a hazard. Reaching in for something and the boot lid comes down on top of you. Continue reading “Changing the Trunk Gas Struts in an Aston Martin DB9”

Checking the Automatic Transmission Fluid Temperature in an Aston Martin DB9

Why the heck would you care what your Automatic Transmission Fluid temperature was in your DB9?   Most  DB9’s, DBS and Rapides between 2004 and 2014 were fitted with a 6-speed  ZF HP626 automatic transmission.  I’ve written an extensive article about the transmission here, and it also concludes that the transmission fluid should be changed at least every 8 years.   If you are going to change you transmission fluid (check out my video on how to do that here), or, merely want to check the level is correct (check this article), you need to do this when the fluid is between 30°C and 50°C with the engine running and idling.    Too cold or too hot, you’ll have an incorrect level.   Let me show you how you can check it properly. Continue reading “Checking the Automatic Transmission Fluid Temperature in an Aston Martin DB9”