If you've noticed a howling noise when you decelerate while driving down the highway, it may signal a problem with a drive train component. You may also notice other noises when putting the car in gear or while turning or accelerating. These and other issues may be signs that there is a problem with your differential. The differential is a critical component of your drive train ,and if there is a problem, then your car is at risk of becoming inoperable until the problem is corrected.
What does a differential do?
Most cars have at least one differential depending on the type of drive train. Front-wheel drive cars usually have one that's inside the transaxle case, rear-wheel drive cars have one in the back of the car between the two rear wheels, and four-wheel drive cars may have three: one in the back, one in the front and one in the middle of the car. The job of the differential is to compensate for variables in the speed and distance of the drive wheels during turns. Without it, the car would be very difficult to turn and the wheels would probably skid or skip.
How can you tell if a differential is bad?
Most people first notice a loud howl, rattle or roar when they're decelerating. The direction the noise is coming from depends on the drive train of your car. If your car is front-wheel drive, it will likely be coming from the front driver's side; for rear-wheel drive, you will hear it in the back; and four-wheel drive vehicles will make the noise from either front or back or in the center. You may also hear a clunk when your car is put into gear and/or a rumble around turns. Your vehicle may also feel sluggish while accelerating, and some people have said that they've felt a strange vibration as well.
What causes a differential to go bad and how can it be fixed?
Differentials can wear down as the car ages, but one reason why one can suddenly go bad is that it ran "dry" or lost all the fluid in the differential case. This is usually due to an unnoticed leak that should have been checked as a part of routine maintenance. Rear differentials often have a small fill hole where you can check the fluid. Most front-wheel drive vehicles share the same fluid that is in the transmission. If it has been determined that the differential is the cause of the noises and other problems, the only way to fix it is to replace the gears in the housing or to replace the entire unit. With front-wheel drive vehicles, this may mean a transmission overhaul is required.
For more information and help with repair, contact a local auto service, such as Integrity Transmission & Auto Service Center.Share
19 April 2016
After trying in vain to fix my car for a few months, I realized that I needed to hire a professional. I was tired of dealing with repairs that I was unfamiliar with, and I knew that I needed to get some help. I started looking around for a great auto mechanic, and even though one business was more expensive than others, I decided to work with them. They worked hard to fix my car, and I was really pleased with how great of a job they did. This blog is all about investing in proper auto service so that you don't have to deal with problems in the future.