When you’re driving and turn a corner, you probably aren’t aware of all that’s going on with your wheels. The outside wheels have a longer distance to travel than the inside wheels, so there are gears that allow the wheels to go at different speeds when you turn.
That set of gears is called a differential. In front-wheel drive vehicles, it’s by the transmission and called a transaxle. Rear-wheel drive vehicles have the differential, naturally, on the rear axle. Many all-wheel and four-wheel drives add a center differential since power has to go to the front and rear wheels. (Some newer vehicles power wheels with electric motors, but that’s a whole different story.)
Time and distance traveled eventually can take their toll on the differential, and you may notice some noises you hadn’t heard when your vehicle was newer. Sometimes you’ll hear a whir that might change in pitch when you turn. You may hear clicking sounds when you’re moving. Others describe rumbling sounds coming from underneath during a turn. Another symptom of possible differential problems may be vibrations or shakes the faster you go.
All of these could be signs that you have problems with a differential. One common cause of differential problems is the gears aren’t getting enough lubrication.
These can all have serious effects on your driving. You may find it hard to turn, or your wheels may lock up. That could put you or drivers around you in a dangerous position.
It’s better to take care of differential problems before they get too serious. Bring in your vehicle so we can have a technician check yours out. They can see if there are any differential fluid leaks or failing gaskets. In some cases, we may recommend your differential fluid be replaced. And if there are any mechanical issues, some components may need to be replaced as well.
When your differential is maintained, you’ll be doing your vehicle a good turn.
Autotronics of St. Peter
111 Jefferson Avenue
St. Peter, MN 56082