The differential is a gearbox located between the drive wheels on your vehicle. Most four-wheel drive vehicles have both a front and rear differential. They work with your transmission to deliver power from your engine to the axle that turns your wheels. Lube-It makes sure that yours are working smoothly for more power and efficiency.
When you drive around corners, your outside wheels go a slightly longer distance than the inside wheels. That means that the outside wheels have to turn a little faster than the inside. The piece of machinery that makes it happen is called the differential.
It allows the drive wheels to rotate at different speeds without binding or hopping. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is on the rear axle. When you're behind trucks, you'll probably see a bulge in the middle of the axle – that's the differential.
On front-wheel drive vehicles, these functions are handled by the transaxle. All-wheel drive vehicles have differentials on both axles. They also have a center differential, or transfer case, between the front and rear axles to make up for front and rear speed differences.
The oldest type of differential is a widely used but simple, rugged design. The powered pinion gear and ring gear mesh together and transmit power to both axles through a second set of gears. The only weakness is that when a slippage happens, power is directed to the wheel with the least grip.
Limited Slip And Torque Vectoring
A clutch system in the differential helps overcome slippage. The clutch locks the left and right-side axles together when wheel slippage occurs.
Torque vectoring is the most recent and greatest type of differential. Its design uses a full array of sensors to determine which wheel or wheels should be getting the most power. The electronic controls and clutch direct it there. Unfortunately, differentials will eventually wear out and need replacement.
A strange noise coming from your axle area is an early sign of trouble. When the differential is in danger of failing, it's important to repair it. Leaving it too long may cause it to freeze up while driving, and that could cause you to lose control of your vehicle and damage other parts including the axle, driveshaft, or transmission.
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