Here’s what you need to know about car differentials and how to fix them
When it comes to standard automotive transmissions, many vehicle owners couldn’t tell you the first thing about what’s under the hood of their vehicle. However, this component of your vehicle plays a huge role in how your car, well, rolls. Even for well-informed car owners, understanding the transmission on a deeper level alludes them. So, when we say differential, most of you probably wear confused looks all over your face. The differential is a component of your vehicle’s transmission, and it also has a big job. Read on below for details about your car’s differential, what it does, how it works and what you can do to prevent problems!
What is a differential?
The transmission takes the power created in the engine and transfers it to the wheels. Imagine if all the wheels spun at the same right, all of the time – it would be difficult to control your car. The job of the differential is to allow the wheels to spin at different rates, which helps ensure smooth handling and easy speed control. Now, after hearing that, you can imagine why differential problems could be a huge issue right? Of course, you can, but how do you know there’s a problem? That’s coming up next!
What are the common problems?
There are a number of things that could tip you off to a differential problem. While this may not be your issue, you should still see a qualified mechanic if you notice any of the following symptoms of a bad differential on your transmission.
•Transmission Fluid Low – While this may not be reason enough to call your mechanic when coupled with other symptoms it’s a pretty telling sign that something is wrong.
• Whining Noise – This could be an indicator that your differential has problems. It’s one of the most common signs, and it’s characterized by a howl or whine sound that increases in volume as the speed of the vehicle increases. It’s mainly caused by a lack of lubrication.
• Transmission Slips – This symptom is when the vehicle slips in and out of gear without touching the shifter. It’s mostly caused by low oil levels.
• Burning Smell – The burning smell has to do with leaking oil. Without proper lubrication, the components cause the metal to burn oil at a higher temperature, hence the burning smell.
What can I do?
If you notice these symptoms, the best thing that you can do is to call a qualified mechanic to do a thorough inspection and diagnosis. They’ll be able to find the problem and let you know how to best fix it.