Differentials are responsible for your vehicle’s capability to turn at different speeds. They provide better handling and torque efficiency. The differential is a key component of any vehicle’s drivetrain system since it connects the transmission to the wheels.
You will have some telltale signs if your differential is damaged or needs repair. These signs can appear subtle initially but worsen over time if ignored. It’s best to pay attention and handle any issues at their onset before they cultivate into costly differential repairs.
Here are five signs of a damaged or failing differential that need repair or to be inspected by a differential mechanic.
1. Vibration When Driving
Excess vibrations while driving are a common and telltale sign of differential failure. Differential problems can cause several kinds of vibrations. If you begin feeling vibrations from the driveshaft, which worsens as you begin to accelerate, this is one of the most typical signs that you need to have your differential repaired or, at minimum, looked at.
A worn-out differential gear can also cause vibrations in your vehicle. This is when the gear is worn down and becomes distorted over time. When this occurs, it causes vibrations that can be felt under the seat or in the floorboard. Taking your vehicle in as soon as you feel any vibration is essential, as they can quickly turn into costly repairs.
2. Whining When Accelerating
Another common sign that your differential needs to be looked at is if you begin hearing noise. If you hear a whining, humming, or grinding noise coming from where your differential is located, this is a signal your differential is not working correctly.
The location of your differential can be different depending on which type of vehicle you have, whether it be all-wheel, rear-wheel, or front-wheel drive. Several things can cause noise, the most prevalent being worn-out bearings. The bearings allow the gears in the differential to rotate smoothly and properly.
Sometimes, if you hear a whining sound, parts of your differential are not adequately lubricated. If there’s also leaking fluid from your vehicle, this indicates that there could be premature wear. As the components lose lubrication, the whining will worsen from the location of your differential.
Ensuring you get differential repair immediately is key to avoiding more expensive problems. It’s important not to neglect or ignore the noise, as it will only worsen as you continue driving.
3. Gear Grinding
When the differential wears down, the gears will start to grind. This goes along with the whining, as mentioned earlier. As you accelerate, the humming grinding nose will get progressively louder. If caught and treated early enough, all you may need is a simple fluid change.
Gear grinding and humming noises can often be confused with transmission problems since the driveshaft connects the differential and transmission. If there is a problem with one, it is likely to influence or damage the other. The complex internal gear system usually lets you know when something is malfunctioning.
4. Premature Tire Wear
Premature tire wear is usually a sign of a differential that needs repair. When the differential gears are not meshing properly, they can cause the tires to rotate at different speeds. This can cause the interior of your tire to wear down faster than the perimeter.
Uneven wear is usually most visible and apparent on the front tires. This is because the front tires handle the brunt of the work when turning corners. This is often referred to as cornering.
If you notice uneven tire wear, it doesn’t always mean it’s a failing differential. It can also be caused by improper alignment, over or under-inflated tires, or a worn suspension. The best way to diagnose it is by seeing a mechanic.
5. Poor Handling
A properly functioning differential ensures that your vehicle can corner the way it was intended. If you need a differential repair, it will be apparent in the cornering and handling. The vehicle may pull hard to one side or feel “loose” when turning corners. To further add on, the acceleration can additionally feel sluggish.
When a differential isn’t working properly, you will experience it when handling and controlling your vehicle. This needs to be checked as soon as possible since it can potentially lead to a loss of control and an accident.
Get The Best Differential Repair in Edmonton
Your differential is a crucial and key component of your vehicle’s drivetrain. Keeping it in good health and addressing any issues that arise over the years can help you avoid costly repairs. If you notice any of the signs above of needing a differential repair, bring your vehicle to Dot Transmissions.
With over 45 years of service and experience, you can rest assured that your vehicle is in the best hands with Dot Transmission technicians. Give us a call at 780-453-3516 today, or book an appointment online!