Differentials defined: A differential is the way manufacturers get your vehicle’s tires/wheels to rotate perpendicular to the rotation of the engine or driveshaft. The engine spins clockwise at an angle from front to back. Then it has to spin left to right to power the wheels down the road. This is where the differential steps in. The differential is designed to transfer the twisting power to the wheels by using a ring and pinion gear set up to transfer the power perpendicularly. There are also side gears or spider gears that allow the wheels to turn at different speeds when you’re turning corners. Differentials balance the speed of the outside (most active) wheels by decreasing (by equal amounts) the speed of the inside wheels. (At times, one wheel can even rotate backward; e.g., when making very tight turns.) (Are your eyes crossing yet? If not, you might be a mechanic!)
Symptoms of a Deficient Differential
(usually seen on vehicles with 150,000+ miles on them)
Banging or clunking while turning corners
Clunking sounds as your vehicle begins to move and/or when stepping on and off the gas pedal
Howl or whine when accelerating at any speed
Rumbling or whirring when traveling faster than 20 mph
Rumbling while turning
Steady vibrations that increase the faster you go
Symptoms get worse when coasting
Whirring noise when decelerating at any speed
As you can see, the differentials in your vehicle play a vital role in the way your vehicle’s wheels behave. When differentials begin to deteriorate and malfunction, you’ll notice definite signs that all is not well with your wheels. When you do, don’t delay. The longer you wait for differential repair, the more costly it can be to get you back on the road.
Here at Chuck’s Auto Repair our AAA-approved for total car care, ASE-certified master mechanics know the ins and outs of differential repair. We can diagnose and determine what you will need to make sure your next road trip will be free of differential difficulties. So give us a call now if your vehicle is experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above: 206-526-1069. Then come to either of our convenient North Seattle or Shoreline locations so we can solve your problem.
Incredibly friendly and helpful staff, reasonable prices and thorough job with repairing my failing differential. The devil is in the details, and they get gold stars.