What does a routine automobile checkup include? You may think of the engine and transmission oil, tires, suspension, etc. This checkup should also include servicing the differential, which 90% of car owners overlook. Find out why differential service is so important, even if neglected.
What Is the Differential?
The term ‘differential’ applies to a component of rear-wheel-drive vehicles. During a right turn, the rear left wheel covers a greater distance than the rear right wheel. The differential is what allows both wheels to spin at different speeds. Without the differential, the rear left wheel would bind and skitter during the turn.
What Causes Differential Failure?
The differential requires oil much like the engine and transmission. Eventually, heat causes the oil to breakdown, turning it into sludge. Most car models require a differential oil change every 50,000 miles. Neglecting the change causes the differential’s gears to seize and lock up.
During a vehicle maintenance visit, ask the technician whether the service includes a look at the differential. The oil for this component could be wearing thin.
Signs of Differential Failure
The most common sign is a whining or clunking sound. The noise occurs when the gears grind against one another because the oil has dried out. You may also hear what some people describe as a howling noise during acceleration. This may indicate that the gears are out of alignment. Other drivers report a whirring and rumbling sound at speeds over 20 mph. This may be a sign of worn pinion bearings.
Of course, noises can indicate a range of other problems. With differentials, though, the noise especially manifests during acceleration and deceleration.
Bring Your Car Over for Differential Servicing
Bring your rear-wheel-drive car to Chuck’s Auto Repair. The fluids for the differentials may be due for a change. Do not neglect differential service especially if you hear grinding noise while speeding up or slowing down.
Differential Maintenance and Checkup
Serving motorists in the greater Seattle area