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differential repairA differential repair on your vehicle isn’t one of the most common repairs you need done, but they should never be neglected. Your differential system is an exceptionally important part of your vehicle. Have you ever thought about how your vehicle turns so smoothly? Not many do, and it’s not as easy as it seems!

Car wheels spin at different speeds in various driving situations – such as when your vehicle is turning. Each wheel travels a different distance through a given turn, so inside wheels travel less than the outside wheels.

The Tire Differential Equation

The speed of your wheels turning equals the distance traveled, divided by the amount of time it takes to go that distance.

What this means is that the wheels which travel a shorter distance also need to travel at a lower speed. And, front wheels travel a different distance than rear wheels. Doesn’t sound so easy anymore does it? It IS a lot to comprehend, but when you think about it, it makes sense that a vehicle’s wheel differential needs to be calibrated correctly our else you are definitely going to notice it.

Differential Repair

We won’t go into all the scientific intricacies about this system; unless you are a mathematician or an engineer, your eyes will start rolling back in your head! However, consider this – just the term “differential” can help you understand the purpose of a vehicle’s differential system. It distributes different speeds to individual wheels, especially during a turn.

If your rear differential is not working properly, you’ll likely hear some noise coming from your rear tires. The rear differential is made up of many gears with teeth entwined with each other. The effectiveness of its function is dependent on how precise these gears are arranged and oriented relative to each other.  Sometimes, they may just lack some lubrication within the mechanism or it could be that the arrangement of your gears has gotten out of place. That’s usually when you’ll hear rear differential noise.

Sounds to Listen For

So, what does a faulty differential system sound like? Gear whining, bearing noise or a clunking sound are common. The noise is concerning enough to most drivers to realize something isn’t right. You’ll want to see your local auto repair shop for a differential repair as soon as you can.

When drivers ignore the symptoms of a differential problem, it can turn into some major, costly repairs. Without the differential system, your wheels would just lock together. Turning on them would require a LOT of force, making turning difficult and hard on your vehicle. In fact, one tire would have to slip and since that is not typical, nor is it easy, it would take a lot of force.

Your vehicle is an investment that needs to be maintained. Just like other fluids or components, your differential system needs to be maintained and monitored. It’s recommended that the fluid and lubrication should be serviced every 30K miles or so. By knowing what to look for or listen for, you can help keep your vehicle running –  and turning  –  smoothly.