Rear Differential (Rear End) Problems

posted by Marks33527 @ 9:54 AM
January 24, 2012

What are the most common rear differential problems and how can they be dealt with? Read to find out all about it.

One of the most important car parts, yet very less known, is the rear differential. It plays a big role in the functioning of the automobile. In this article, my aim is to specify the function of a rear differential and identify the major rear differential problems that a car owner may have to deal with.

Understanding any car problem requires you to know is a differential work and know about its basic mechanism. Before I delve into rear differential problems, let me briefly describe the role played by a rear differential. One of the most fundamental things that you need to grasp is generation and distribution of torque. Let us see the role played by a rear differential in the overall automobile mechanism.

Function of a Rear Differential

What drives a car is the torque generated in the car’s engine. This is common knowledge but very few people can explain how that torque is transmitted into the rotational movement of wheels. Let me provide a brief overview, which will also explain rear differential function.

Engine torque drives the crankshaft, which is conveyed to the drive shaft, via transmission and it ultimately reaches the wheels through the rear differential. The rear differential is made of gears and it works to control the speed of wheel rotation. When turning, wheel speeds need to differ and this is made possible by the rear differential mechanism. Whenever you make a smooth turn, your rear differential comes into play.

Modern cars come with many types of built in rear differential mechanisms. The most common ones are limited slip differentials or a locking differential which allows for a rear differential to lock. You must have noticed a pumpkin-shaped mechanism between the rear car wheels. That is where the differential is located.

Common Rear Differential Problems

After that brief overview of rear differential function let me discuss some of the most common rear differential problems that may crop up.

Rear Differential Noise
One of the most common differential problems is noise, resulting from friction between internal gears of the rear differential mechanism. This noise is more of a growling kind and becomes louder when you bank into a turn. The reason for noise may be a drop in the differential’s lubricant levels. If left unchecked, this problem can grow, ultimately resulting in a complete breakdown and major car repair. So at the slightest inkling of rear differential noise, it is best to get the mechanism checked out from a mechanic like Kings Transmission Repair. The inner mechanism of a rear differential is just too complex for most people to handle on their own. That’s why, it is best to leave rear differential problems for professionals to solve.

Rear Differential Leak
Another common rear differential problem, which often goes un-noticed is leaking of lubricant. As discussed in the previous point, if lubricant levels drop down, then friction between gears increase. Over a period of time, this may lead to major wear and tear in the gears. That’s why you need to keep an eye on rear differential leak if it ever occurs. If the lubricant level has dropped down substantially, noise may occur. You must immediately correct the leak and replenish the oil level to normal, to prevent any further wear and tear.

Hope this brief guide on rear differential problems was a helpful read. If you include rear differential maintenance into your monthly car maintenance schedule, then problems will rarely arise. At the slightest doubt of problems with the rear differential, it is best to get your car to a service center for checkup. Ignoring the signs of a bad rear differential may ultimately cost you a lot in car repairs.

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