Your vehicle’s differential is an important part of your car, truck or SUV. Its role is to compensate for the difference in speeds between the inside vehicle wheel and the outside wheel when you make a turn.
Differentials are found on front wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles.
Don’t Forget About Your Differential
All the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars weigh between 3,000 and 6,000 pounds and trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.
Although your differential does not have to be serviced frequently, it is important that it is checked when specified in the manufacturer’s maintenance manual.
Over time the fluid designed to lubricate the gears and keep them cool will become dirty and worn down. At the stated intervals the differential fluid will be drained and replaced and the gears in the differential inspected for excessive wear.
Vehicles in dusty environments or that tow heavy loads will need to be checked more frequently.
Check Your Owner’s Service Manual
For most, the differential is not a part of the vehicle we know a great deal about or pay much attention to. The next time your car, truck or SUV is in for service, ask your service technician to check your owner’s manual to determine if it is time to look at your differential. Doing this will keep your vehicle running smoothly for years to come.