How Does A Differential Work?

How Does A Differential Work?

There are multiple types of differentials and they all function differently, were going to talk about the most common differential which is called an open differential. Simply put the differential takes the power coming from the engine and splits it between the two wheels it is turning. The rear drive line attaches to either the back of the transmission or the transfer case depending on if its 4WD or not, as the engine transfers power through the transmission and into the drive line forcing it to rotate, the gears that are inside the differential housing, in turn rotating the axles which are attached to the tires allowing you to move forward and backward. Much like an engine these gears are suspended in a special gear oil that should be regularly changed.

How Often Should I Service My Differentials?

Most manufacturers have different service intervals for each fluid, and most recommend having the differentials serviced every 50,000 miles. For the best results and optimal performance we recommend servicing differentials every 30,000 miles. The fluid that is used for these systems is a much heavier fluid and is also susceptible to contamination due to the constant wear that is happening to the gears inside the differential. Keeping them serviced more regularly keeps that wear to a minimum resulting in longer vehicle life and reliability.

How do you service the differential?

Most differentials have a cover that is removable from the back side of it that allows you to drain the fluid. Once the cover is removed and the fluid is drained from the differential case the cover is cleaned as well as the covers mating surface on the differential case. RTV sealer is then used to coat the differential cover and is then installed back onto the differential case, and the differential is then refilled with gear oil. After fluid is filled the vehicle is test driven and then fluid level is rechecked to ensure the differential has the right amount of fluid.

At Dickerson Automotive we use high quality gear oils and our technicians take special care during service to inspect the whole system and ensure that it is working properly. When was the last time you had your differentials serviced? Give us a call today!