You rely on your car to provide you with reliable transportation and excitement while you are behind the wheel. If your vehicle is a model that features rear-wheel drive, then differential problems could put a damper on the function and performance of your vehicle. Identifying rear differential problems can be tricky for drivers with little automotive repair experience.
Fortunately, there are some tell-tale signs that you can be keeping an ear out for as you monitor your rear differential over the life of your vehicle.
1. Listen for regular clunking.
One of the most obvious signs that your vehicle rear differential is in need of repair is a regular clunking. A regular clunking noise will occur every few feet as you drive down the road, keeping time with the turning of your rear drive axle. The clunking is caused by a broken pinion gear.
Your vehicle's rear differential is made up of many smaller parts, with the pinion gear being one of them. The pinion gear is a small, round gear that is responsible for helping to regulate the movement of your rear differential while your vehicle is in motion. When the gear breaks, clunking sounds will ensue.
Be sure to get your car to a mechanic for repairs as quickly as possible when you begin hearing regular clunking noises while driving.
2. Listen for vibrations that increases with speed.
In order to perform correctly, your vehicle's rear differential needs to be in proper alignment. Being involved in an auto accident, running over the curb, or other abnormal driving activities could cause the rear differential to become slightly askew.
While you likely won't notice a differential alignment problem at slower speeds, you will notice an increased vibration as your vehicle begins to accelerate. As the differential rotates faster and faster with your vehicle's increased speed, any alignment problems will be magnified.
Have an experienced mechanic check your rear differential if vibrations are becoming noticeable at higher speeds.
3. Listen for rumbling while turning.
You should never hear audible sounds while turning the wheel of your vehicle. If you do start to hear a rumbling sound coming from the rear of your vehicle when turning to the right or left, your differential might have bad wheel bearings.
The wheel bearings fit between your vehicle's tires and the rear axle itself. This important bearing helps manage friction between the wheel and the axle. Once the bearings go bad, you run the risk of having your tire fall off while driving. Your mechanic will be able to determine if the rumbling sound you hear while turning is caused by bad wheel bearings. Contact a company, like Vonkattengell Transmission Service , for more help.