Common Issues With Differentials

A differential is a device that allows the wheels on your auto/automobile to rotate at variable speeds. This is a necessary function that engages when your vehicle makes a turn. Regular maintenance can prevent most issues. There are a few common differential issues that can cause your auto/automobile problems and may require repairs or maintenance work.


Rear differential leak.
Differential leaks often occur on high mileage auto/automobiles. Over time, the sealing surface of the differential can develop cuts that lead to fluid leaking out of the axles. To find the leak, you will need to look under the vehicle and raise it up with a jack. Before attempting to make repairs, be sure you are equipped with the proper tools. You will need a drain pan, a wrench and a can of rear differential fluid. Remove the bolts and drain the fluid into the pan. By replacing the fluid, you can more effectively monitor the leak. Replacing the differential fluid should be a regular part of your auto/automobile maintenance.

A damaged ring and pinion.
This typically happens with off road vehicles as a result of getting stuck in mud or other substances. The teeth of the differential have a tendency to break off. Additionally, parts of the differential can break as a result of spinning tires.

Noisy differential.
Noise coming from the differential is often a sign that something is wrong. However, there are a few different situations that can lead to a ring and pinion noise. If the ring and pinion was previously quiet and suddenly began making a loud noise, the gears are most likely wearing out. If the gears make noise during acceleration, you may be dealing with a lubrication issue. Another situation that may cause noise is when the pinion is spinning but the tires are stopped. A broken gear can immobilize the differential and cause a loud crunching sound. Regardless of the sound, if your differential makes noise, there is usually a reason. If you are uncomfortable performing repairs, seek a qualified mechanic to diagnose the problem.

A broken axle.
A broken axle is usually easy to diagnose. After the axle breaks off, you should be able to pull the axle out without removing any bolts. In some cases, the broken axle may fall out on its own.

A burned ring and pinion.
The ring and pinion on your vehicle can sometimes become too hot and parts of the surface teeth get burned off as a result. This is typically caused a lubrication failure. You did not put enough oil in the differential. It is important to perform regular differential maintenance to prevent these types of failures.

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