Why You Need to Look after Your Car's Rear Differential Carefully
If you have a rear-wheel-drive car, then it'll be equipped with a sophisticated differential. This is contained within the back axle and allows you to drive around a corner without too much drama. Many people overlook this important component when it comes to maintenance, but it has to deal with a tremendous amount of wear and tear, so you need to pay close attention. What does the differential do, and what do you need to look out for in particular?
Differential at Work
When a car goes around a given corner, the wheel on the outside travels a greater distance than the wheel on the inside. Without a differential, the vehicle would be very difficult to drive and would effectively "jump" instead of roll. Engineers have added a differential to the back axle, complete with a crown wheel, pinion, rings and spider gears. They work together to allow one half-shaft to turn independently of the other when in motion. Some are even more sophisticated and designed to be 'limited slip' so that they can cope with tricky conditions just as well.
With all of that hardware in play, degradation is inevitable. Many parts are interacting with each other under strain, and it's very important to add high-quality oil to the mix.
Even so, tiny specks of metal will inevitably wear away over time and will be held within the oil in suspension. You need to remove this residue by changing the oil at regular intervals, or those shavings will invariably cause damage. When large accumulations find a way in between the gears, they could wear away at the surface and, in the long run, this could lead to breakage and complete failure.
When the axle casing is removed, and the oil is drawn out, it's crucial to inspect the interior of the casing and look at the crown wheel and pinion assembly. These areas may be coated with shavings, and this will need to be cleaned off before any fresh oil can be reinserted. Check the back of the drain plug, and outer casing as well as some of these areas are magnetic and designed to attract shavings. Clean any residue from here just to be safe.
Trusting the Experts
This can be a very messy job. You should take your vehicle in for a major service instead. Speak with a mechanic for more information.