Rear Differentials and How They Work

August 30, 2021 9:14 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Rear differentials allow your vehicle to take corners without much trouble. A set of gears make up your rear differential and allow your wheels to turn at different speeds by transmitting engine power to the wheels. The differential can be found beside your vehicle’s transmission, as well as between the rear wheels. These devices work differently depending on the exact type of differential you have. Read on to learn more about rear differentials and how regular car maintenance can help keep them working properly.

The different types of rear differentials

There are three main types of rear differentials, with the most common being an open differential. With an open differential, each tire on your vehicle can turn independently. While these differentials are simple, they often have trouble on slippery surfaces. That’s why most newer vehicles should feature traction and electronic stability control. Some manufacturers also offer limited slip differentials and locking differentials, which can help maintain better control.

The next type of differential is the locking rear differential. This differential, when activated, keeps both your front and back wheels from spinning freely. By doing so, locking rear differentials can help prevent spinning out or losing traction. Locking differentials are often helpful when driving off-road, on uneven ground or on a racetrack. They also come in two different options: manual and automatic.

The last main type of rear differential is the limited-slip rear differential. This differential features the best parts of the other two. Limited-slip rear differentials help improve traction by limiting the amount of slip while still allowing for some slip. By allowing some slip, limited-slip rear differentials help promote longer tire life.

Signs of a bad rear differential

There are several signs that could signal a problem with your rear differential. Difficulty handling your vehicle during a turn, for example, is a major sign of rear differential issues. Once a differential starts to wear out, your vehicle will have trouble properly making turns. This is because, without a working differential, your wheels can’t properly adjust their speeds. Another common sign of a bad rear differential is major tire damage. That’s why it’s good to routinely check your tires for excessive wear and tear.

The sound of grinding gears might also signal a rear differential issue. This noise will usually get louder during acceleration if the problem is with your differential. Other common signs of a bad rear differential include whining sounds and vibrations.

Repairing a bad rear differential

If you’re having issues with your rear differential, it’s best to speak with a mechanic right away. Putting off the issue for too long could result in major damage and expensive repair bills. Not only that, but driving with a faulty rear differential is extremely dangerous and can make it very difficult for your vehicle to take turns. Avoid all this by speaking with a reputable car maintenance and auto repair provider in your area.

Contact Gabriel’s Automotive & Towing for all your auto repair, maintenance and towing needs. We even offer complimentary shuttle service and loaner vehicles when necessary. Reach out today to schedule an appointment.

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