Does your Auto Differential need work? : KC Martin Transmissions OFFICIAL Blog

Does your Auto Differential need work?

by KC Martin Transmissions on 10/16/12

Auto differentials are very specialized repair, but our shop is (both of our shops, in fact are) very experienced in repairing and servicing your car's differential system. If you need help with your automobile differential, bring your vehicle by, so that we can take a look and give you an accurate estimate!

What is the differential?  Well, it's the differential that transmits the power to the wheels while allowing outside and inside drive wheels to rotate at different speeds (This is the one that earned the differential its name.) Differentials have gears in them that transfer the power from the drive train to your wheels -- which is why they're often referred to as "gear boxes". These gears are very strong, but they need to be properly protected so that they'll last.

On the non-driven wheels on your car -- the front wheels on a rear-wheel drive car, the back wheels on a front-wheel drive car -- no differential is needed. There is no connection between those wheels, so they spin independently. But the driven wheels are linked together so that a single engine and transmission can turn both wheels.

If your differential starts to fail, your car could experience some "skipping", due to the wheels moving at misaligned speeds while turning. If this ever happens to you and your car, it becomes quite clear that this is a system in your vehicle that is very necessary for a smooth ride.

If you have a front-wheel drive car, your differential is often called a "transaxle" and is located in the front. If you have rear-wheel drive, the differential is toward the back of the car. If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you will have a differential in the front and the back -- and in the middle as well. The center differential adjusts for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels---pretty intricate stuff! There is plenty to diagnose and test when working on these.

Differential fluid lubricates and cools the gears. Over time, the fluid can get dirty from bits of the gears grinding off. The additives that keep the fluid clean and protect the differential break down over time, so your vehicle manufacturer has scheduled intervals for you to have your differential fluid changed.

If you are sensing any difficulty with your vehicle's handling, we can check it out for you. There are different types of differentials.  We can work on all of them at KC Martin Transmissions. If you even think that your differential might be an issue for your car, please bring it by ASAP. OR, if your manual suggests this type of service, schedule your appointement today!

Comments (3)

1. Kody Loveless said on 7/8/16 - 05:40AM
Thanks for the tips. I have had my car for about 10 years and I bought it used. I had no clue that my diff needed to have oil added or changed in it. Heck, I did not even realize that they used fluids of any kind. I thought they were a sealed component. I will have to have my looked at to make sure it is in good working order. http://www.precisionautomatictrans.com.au/differentials
2. Jack Mulligan said on 8/25/16 - 11:38AM
I had never gotten an explanation as to what the differential does, but now that I know, I'm surprised it's not a more prominent maintenance subject. I usually get routine maintenance done whenever I get my oil changed, but I'm not sure I've ever had the differential checked. I'll put that on the list for my next mechanic visit. http://www.gearboxexpress.com.au/services/differentials
3. Townsville Gearbox Reconditioning said on 12/14/16 - 03:02AM
Thanks for the great tips.


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