The differential takes the power (torque) created by the engine and transmits it to the drive axle(s), which makes the wheels rotate. When making a turn, the differential also allows the outside wheel to rotate faster than the inside wheel.
Symptoms of Wear or Failure
- Clunking when you accelerate or shift between drive and reverse
- High-pitched howling type of noise
- Abnormal noise when turning
- Drag when coasting down the road
Related Repair Advice
- The differential contains gears and bearings that are lubricated by oil. Like all oils and fluids in a vehicle, it should be changed as recommended by the manufacturer, or more frequently if you use your vehicle to tow or carry heavy loads.
- The correct fluid type should always be used when servicing the differential
- Depending on the drivetrain, a vehicle can have up to three differentials. A 2WD system has one; a 4WD system has two; and an AWD system has three.