Most drivers understand the need for auto repairs to address issues with their brakes or air conditioner, but other important car parts will often get overlooked — such as the differential. Found in all modern vehicles, a differential splits engine torque so wheels can spin at different speeds when necessary. Here is a closer look at these important systems.
The Types of Differentials
There are several types of differentials found in modern vehicles. Open differentials are the most common and are found in two-wheel and four-wheel drive cars. These differentials transfer power to the wheel with the least traction during turns. However, these tires are more prone to slipping on ice. Newer torque-vectoring differentials offer a more advanced design backed by electronic controls.
Limited slip differentials use a clutch pack to limit slippage while still providing power to the drive wheels. Finally, locking differentials ensure that both wheels on the same axle have constant power. These locks can be turned on and off by the driver and are generally only used on off-road vehicles.
Caring for Your Car Differential
The differential doesn’t require too much care, but like many other components, it relies on fluid for steady performance. Differential oil should be changed every 30,000 to 50,000 miles, depending on the guidelines in your owner’s manual. Other components, such as carrier bearings, pinion bearings, and cornering gears, may wear out over time and need to be replaced. Failure to care for your differential will make it harder to turn safely. Addressing any differential auto repair problems sooner rather than later will help you avoid an accident.
Whether you need full-scale auto repairs or a standard oil change, you can count on Kalispell Alignment & Auto Repair in Kalispell, MT. With over 25 years of experience, their ASE-certified team backs all services with NAPA’s 24 month/24,000-mile warranty so you can have confidence in their work. To learn more about their services or to schedule a tuneup, visit them online or call (406) 755-0234.