A differential is a complex mechanical device that is used to deliver power and torque from an engine to drive wheels. It also makes it possible to rotate left and right drive wheels at different speeds to ensure sharp steering when cornering.
Being a link that connects the transmission to the drive wheels, your differential does an important job for the vehicle. If it fails to operate as required, you’ll experience a number of problems. Here are just to name a few of them:
Rattling or whining noises
Worn-out gear teeth or bad bearings can cause a variety of noises running the gamut from rattling to whining.
Moving parts inside the differential are lubricated with fluid. If its seals get damaged or wear out, this will cause fluid leaks.
Poor bearings or worn-out moving parts inside the differential can lead to excessive vibration and shuddering, especially when cornering.
Your wheels don’t turn
This is the worst-case scenario meaning your differential has failed completely. It doesn’t rotate the driveshafts, so your vehicle can’t move.
Your differential is a complex arrangement of parts. That’s why a proper diagnosis should be done prior to its replacement or repairing. In some cases, worn-out tires or bad driveshafts can provide symptoms similar to a bad differential.
In nine out of ten cases a bad differential can be rebuilt or remanufactured, however, if it breaks down, it may require a replacement. Whichever happens, you should leave it to a professional.