With front-wheel drive being so common these days in Auburn, Washington, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most folks in Auburn, Washington don't even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don't need to be serviced for years, so it's understandable that it's not something on the top of mind for our Auburn customers. So it's not uncommon for people to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.
Call Dave's Valley Auto Clinic at 253-850-1538 for information about differential service, or stop by our Auburn, Washington auto center at 4725 Auburn Way N. Auburn 98002.
To better understand what a differential does, think about our local Auburn high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That's to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.
The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.
It's a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars in the Auburn, Washington area weigh between three and six thousand pounds – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.
That's a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool.
The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that breakdown over time. So manufacturers recommend intervals for replacing your differential fluid.
Your Auburn, Washington technician at Dave's Valley Auto Clinic will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. Then he'll replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.
Your Dave's Valley Auto Clinic service advisor can look up the manufacturer's recommended service interval or you can check your owner's manual. Give us a call at 253-850-1538 for more information about your differential service.
Posted in the Drive Train category
Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know what a differential is – you will in a moment. That fact is that if you drive a car anywhere in Auburn Washington, you have a differential. Whether your vehicle is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, you have a differential. You might even have two or three.
As you might guess from the name, a differential’s job is to compensate for differences. Specifically the differences in wheel speed when turning. For instance, imagine taking a corner near your Auburn Washington home. Your inside wheel has a shorter distance to travel than the outside wheel as you go around the corner. That means that your outside wheel has to turn faster to keep pace with the inside wheel.
The differential allows the wheels to turn at different speeds while still providing power. Without a differential, our tires would scrub and hop along the pavement during turns.
You’ve probably noticed the big bugle in the middle of the rear axle when you’re behind a truck. That’s the differential. Rear-wheel drive vehicles have a differential in back. Most four-wheel drive trucks and SUVs will also have a similar differential on the front axle. Front-wheel drive vehicles’ differential is called a transaxle because it combines the differential and transmission in one unit. An all-wheel drive vehicle will have a differential or transfer case that adjusts for speed differences between the front and rear drive wheels.
It can seem a little complicated. But you can see that all of the engine’s power is routed through your differentials. They’re strong enough to handle the work, but they need to be properly lubricated in order to stay strong. So from time to time, you need to have your differential serviced. The used fluid is drained and replaced with clean fluid. Some differentials also require special additives to be installed.
Get your differential serviced at our Auburn Washington service center:
Dave's Valley Auto Clinic
4725 Auburn Way N. Auburn
Auburn, Washington 98002
The rule of thumb for the time and mileage interval for servicing your differential, can vary greatly by vehicle. A front-wheel drive vehicle’s transaxle will need servicing more frequently than the rear differential on a pick-up truck, so check with your Auburn Washington service advisor or your owner’s manual for recommendations.
How and where you drive will have an impact as well. If you drive on dirt roads or through streams around Auburn Washington, you’ll need to service the differential much sooner than if you always stay on the pavement.
Posted in the Drive Train category
Here at AutoNetTV, we have viewers, like you, from all across the country who write to us with questions or feedback. One common question we're asked is: What is a differential and what does it do? You may have been told your differential needs service, or seen it as an option up on the service menu. Differential service covers a lot of things, so let's first talk about what a differential does.
As you drive through a turn, your outside wheels and inside wheels turn at different speeds. Kind of like the cars going around a race track - the ones driving in the outside lanes have a greater distance to travel than the cars in the inside lanes. The differential is what allows the outside and inside drive wheels to rotate at slightly different speeds so that the tires don't hop or skip while taking corners, or lose traction in dirt or snow. Differentials have gears in them that transfer the power from the drive train to your wheels - which is why they're often referred to as gear boxes. The gears need to be very strong to do this work, and they need to be properly protected so that they'll last.
All vehicles have some form of differential. If you have a front-wheel drive car, your differential is often called a transaxle and is located in the front. If you have rear-wheel drive, the differential is in the back of the car. If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you will have a differential in the front and the back - and in the middle as well. The center differential adjusts for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.
Differential fluid lubricates and cools the gears. Over time, the fluid can get dirty from bits of the gears grinding off. The additives that keep the fluid clean and protect the differential break down over time. So your vehicle manufacturer has scheduled intervals for you to have your differential fluid changed.
Differentials are hard working mechanisms, and, along with the gears in a manual transmission, need to be serviced regularly with high-quality, replacement fluid. Your Auburn automotive service advisor can give you more information as to when your next differential service is recommended. You can also ask if they have a record of when the service was last completed.
As with most service intervals, if you are driving under more severe conditions, you will want to service your differential more frequently. "Severe service" conditions are defined in most owners' manuals, and include: frequent starts and stops, short trips, cold weather, hot weather and towing. All these conditions add to the stress of the vehicle and its parts. Also, off-roading in Washington can be especially hard on differentials, especially if you cross streams. Proper service will extend the life of your gears and keep them running more smoothly. If you have never had your differential checked, visit http://davesvalleyautoclinic.com/contact.php for more information.
Posted in the Drive Train category