What You Need to Know About Your Differential

Every car, truck, van, and SUV on the road has a differential, yet few drivers know exactly what it is.

What you need to know about your differentialThe differential, sometimes referred to as the “rear end,” is a critical part of your car. The purpose of the differential is to send the engine’s power to the wheels and to allow them to turn at different speeds. When your steer your car into a turn, for example, the inside wheels actually rotate at a slightly slower speed and travel a shorter distance than the outer wheels. If your car has front-wheel drive the differential will be between the front wheels, and likewise for rear-wheel drive. If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, there will be a differential between the rear wheels, and another located roughly under the center of the vehicle.

The differential system’s gears turn at a high rate of speed along with the wheels, and carry much of your vehicle’s weight. Because of this, the gears need constant lubrication to continue working smoothly. Within your differential system there are about three quarts of oil, yet there is no filter to keep it it clean. Over the years, this oil is likely to become contaminated and/or lose it’s lubricating power due to the intensely hot conditions of your car’s inner workings. Consequently, the oil in your differential must be checked periodically and changed roughly every 30,000 miles, or as suggested by your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Many drivers overlook differential service purely because they aren’t aware of the effects a bad differential can have on their vehicle and their driving experience. Without the proper replacement of this oil, your car’s differential will eventually start to fail, resulting in poor performance, noise, and wear and corrosion of the gears inside of the system. It’s important not to neglect these issues, because your car’s differential can cost a pretty penny to repair, so make sure to stay on top of it. Additionally, taking good care of your differential can actually help extend the life of your tires, which means you can save money in the long run.

If you’re handy under the hood, you may be interested in how you can change your differential oil on your own, and while it’s possible, the system can be difficult to reach. So, if you’re in need of differential service, bring your vehicle down to Grease Monkey. We’ll drain the old fluid and replace it with quality differential oil, at a price you can afford, to keep your car running at peak performance.

Come see us today, no appointment necessary, or call 360-666-1533 for maintenance advice.