Your driveline is responsible for taking your engine’s torque and transferring it to your wheels. This is typically done using a series of driveshafts and differentials. These components need to be maintained on a routine basis because replacing them altogether can be extremely expensive. One of the major component types in your driveline are your differentials. Your differentials take power from your driveshaft and transfer it to your drive axles. Here at Integrity Fleet Services, we offer an extensive selection of driveline repair and maintenance services.
Do I need to maintain my differential?
Yes. Differentials are responsible for transferring power to your wheels. Without them, you’ll have no way of moving. Also, your differential is directly connected to your drivetrain, meaning if it’s damaged your entire drivetrain is put at risk. Differential maintenance is fairly straightforward. As long as it has good lubricant, and it’s not leaking, you only have to drain and fill it once every hundred or so thousand miles (be sure to check with your manufacturer as this is just an average). Common repairs include differential plate sealing and replacement.
What type of differential do I have?
There are three major types of heavy-duty differential. The first and most common type is an open differential. Open differentials operate by the path of least resistance. This means the power will always take the easiest route. For example, if you’re on a construction site, driving over uneven terrain, let’s say one of your drive wheels lifts into the air. This wheel will be prioritized power-wise because there’s no resistance. Unfortunately, this also means you might be stuck!
Locking differentials counteract the path of least resistance. Generally, they’re manually activated, but can also be activated on an automatic basis. This type of differential ensures there is 50% of the power going to each drive wheel at the same time. Although this is great for offroading, it should never be used on dry roads. When turning, the inner wheel spins less than the outer wheel, hence the need for open differentials.
Limited Slip Differential
A limited-slip differential locks power to both wheels but allows for slippage. This ensures all of your drive wheels have power when on uneven terrain, but also protects your driveline from damage. Locking differentials can sometimes cause what’s called “metal soup”. Too much strain and the locking differential gears may melt.