Differential Repair and Maintenance.

When you take a corner in your car, the outside wheels have a slightly longer distance to go than the inside wheels. That means that the outside wheels have to turn a bit faster that the inside. The piece of mechanical wizardry that makes this possible is call the differential.

The differential allows the drive wheels to rotate at different speeds in turns without the wheel binding or hopping. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is on the rear axle. You've see that bulge in the middle of the axle when you're behind a truck - that's the differential.

If you have a front-wheel drive vehicle, the differential function is handled by the transaxle. Of course, all-wheel drive vehicles have differentials on both axles. They also have a center differential or a transfer case between the front and rear axles to compensate for speed differences between the front and rear.

Because all the power of the engine is transferred through the various differentials, you can imagine that they are very strong and are built to last a long time. That's why it's important to keep your differential properly lubricated. Differential fluid cools and protects the gears.

With low fluid, the differential will run too hot and wear prematurely. Fresh fluid will extend the life of your differential. At A-1 Auto Repair we will check differential fluid level and top it off if necessary as well as the u-joint which connect our drive shaft to the differential and may recommend service. Some u-joints can be lubricated as part of a routine lube, oil, filter service.   Check your vehicles maintenance schedule for recommended differential service or ask your ASE certified A-1 Auto Repair Technician.

Now, of course differentials eventually wear out and need to be replaced. You might notice a strange noise from your axle area as one of the first warning sign. When the differential shows signs of failing, it's important to repair it. If its left too long and it freezes up when you're driving you could loose control of your vehicle and other parts like the axle, driveshaft and transmission could be damaged.

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