Diagnosing Your Differential

Differential Diagnosis

Your automobile’s differential and axle system are very important. It works to transmit torque and rotation through the car’s shaft. This gives the wheels the ability to move at different speeds, a feature that is important for traction when driving. A failing differential may cause you to feel vibration, hear strange noises or see fluid leaking from your car, all while negatively impacting your vehicle’s performance.

The first thing you should do to check for a problem is to listen for noise in your gears. The noise will normally be heard when you first put your car into drive after it has been idle for a period of time. The sound will resemble a rattling or clanking noise and comes from the universal joints. The joints are used to connect the transmission to the differential. Once it is worn down, it will cause it to work harder. Additionally, the gears will wear down. In order to diagnose the problem, you will need to take your automobile to a professional technician, as it requires special equipment.

The second thing you will need to check into in order to make a proper diagnosis is to listen for grinding gears when you reach high speeds. The noise will sound like humming or the same clanking that was mentioned above. This could mean that the gears are becoming stripped or worn. This will make for things to feel awkward when they are spinning in the drive shaft. The noise may sound worse during a quick acceleration or if you have to brake unexpectedly.

Differential GearsVibration and fluid leakage are other factors that will need to be looked at. Worn or ripped universal joints could cause vibration that will be felt in the drive shaft and engine block by way of the automobile’s transmission. The vibration will most likely be felt through the vehicle’s floor when driving at high speeds. A leak or crack in the vehicle’s seals may also cause vibration which will cause the differential to fail. Though less noticeable, fluid may pool under the car in the front or rear once it has been sitting overnight.

If you feel you may have problems with the differential or axle in your vehicle, you will want to seek a professional. Driving with these issues or a bad axle can cause more serious problems or even an accident. And remember, Rocky Mountain Driveline is your local leader for rebuilt differentials. Call or stop in today!

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