If you don’t know what a differential is, you will by the end of this post. Whether your vehicle is front wheel, rear wheel, or all-wheel drive, it likely has a differential.

The differential compensates for the speed differences between the wheels on either side of the vehicle while turning. A good example is while taking a turn near your home in High Point, Nc; the outside wheels have to travel a greater distance to keep up with the inside wheels. The differential allows the wheels to rotate at different speeds while providing power to the vehicle. Without the differential, your tires would scrub or drag while turning.

What is Differential Service in Auto Repair?

Differential repair service with Tire Max technicians will include draining the old fluid from your differential and refilling it with new, clean differential fluid according to your manufacturer’s specifications. The differential components, such as gear and shafts, will also be inspected for wear and tear along with fluid change.

How Important is Differential Repair Service to Your Vehicle?

The differential uses thicker oil than most other parts in your vehicle, and as a result, it does not need to be changed as often as your motor oil. However, changing the oil in the differential is as important as oil change service because, over time, the differential fluid will break down and become contaminated. When this happens, it will no longer be able to lubricate and cool the differential components properly, leading to premature wear and tear.

Most manufacturers recommend servicing your differential every 30,000 to 35000 miles or so. However, where you drive will critically impact how often the differential needs to be serviced. If you frequently drive in dusty or sandy conditions, you will need to service your differential more often than someone who drives only on paved roads. Our technicians can guide you on the best time to service your differential based on your driving habits.

Also, since a differential repair service is not performed as often as other auto services, some people may forget about it. That’s why Tire Max auto repair experts suggest having the differential service along with tire rotation so that you do not miss performing this essential maintenance service on a timely basis.

Signs That Your Differential May Need Service:

To maintain the longevity and safety of your vehicle, it is vital to be aware of the signs that may indicate your differential needs service. 

Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • Leaking Fluid: If you see red, brown, or black fluid leaking from under your car at one of the axles, it is likely differential fluid.
  • Grinding or Whining Noises: If you hear grinding or whining noises from the axle area, it could be a sign that the gears in your differential are not adequately lubricated.
  • Vibrations: If you feel vibrations while driving, especially while turning, it may indicate that the differential is not functioning correctly.
  • Odor: If you notice a burning smell coming from the axle area, it may be a sign of overheating due to low fluid levels.

If you notice any of these signs, it is essential to have your vehicle inspected by a professional auto repair mechanic near me as soon as possible.

Can You Drive With a Bad Differential?

Technically, you can drive with a bad differential, but it is not recommended. Driving with a bad differential will only worsen the problem and lead to expensive repairs. It can also be dangerous as it can cause the vehicle to lose control, especially while making turns.

A differential will not just fail overnight. If you keep a watch on the indications listed above and follow the recommended maintenance schedule, you can avoid replacing the differential altogether. However, if you do find yourself in need of a differential repair or replacement, our team of expert mechanics at Tire Max can help.

Schedule an appointment with us today to have your differential inspected. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have and help keep your vehicle running safely and smoothly.