Details About Differentials

What are they, and what does it mean when they need to be replaced?

What do differentials do, exactly?

A differential set of gears allows you to go around a corner without your wheels skipping. Meaning, the way the gears turn on a curve keeps your wheels on the ground.

The differential has a set of gears inside of another set of gears that allows one wheel to spin faster while the other one’s going slower as you take a corner or sharp curve. They help you to smoothly go around the corners and provide power to turn the wheels from the driveline.

How do you know when a differential is going bad? 

Sometimes we can tell by the color of the fluid, it will start to change. We may also notice small flecks of metal around a magnet that is usually mounted on the inside. 

For you, the driver or passenger, you’ll hear a noise coming from the wheels that sounds like a “whir-whir-whir-whir”.

Awareness is what will help you

Some people will get used to the new noise instead of bringing their car in to be looked at. Then, they’ll continue to drive the car and tune out the noise it’s making.

When a technician gets in the car with them to do a little road test, the tech will be able to hear the differential problem immediately.

How expensive is differential repair?

Differentials, for the most part, are fairly maintenance free as long as you’re changing fluids regularly. We see a lot of service work on differentials, but not a lot of repairs. Service has to do more with maintaining your fluids and making sure there are no leaks.

Expense for differential repair can increase if you have a noise coming from the tire areas. It will get even higher if you ignore or tune out those noises. If you go too long, then you may end up doing damage to the gears… and when you do damage to the gears, then it gets very expensive. 

When you discover a fairly new noise and bring it in, we can get in there and just replace the bearings, rebuild it, and put it back together. It’s not horrible. The point here is not to let it go for too long. It’s an important part of the vehicle and it affects many other parts and systems in your car.

Your safety on the road is so important. We want to be the team that takes care of your car.

Schedule your next service with us today.

Our Reviews

Tom's Automotive Service
Reviewed from Google

4.7 out of 5 stars

Denny and Jim
Denny and Jim

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 month ago

I got a flat tire across the street from Tom's Automotive. Although they don't repair tires, they immediately sent over a technician to change my tire. They also filled it with air so I could make it safely to a tire shop, all free of charge. Thanks Adam and the friendly staff at Tom's Automotive for your great service!

Bethany Manahan
Bethany Manahan

5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 months ago

My bosses were the ones that recommended me to see Tom's when I had my 'check engine' light on some time last year. They were very helpful, and kindly, turned the light off as there wasn't anything particularly wrong with my car. However, recently, my car was being looked at by them (as I've had other things happen to my car), and the staff helped me walk through the process of either furthering the fix or getting rid of my car. As someone who doesn't know anything about cars (oh boy), they really did a great job of explaining things to me. Thanks!

TJ Rawlinson
TJ Rawlinson

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 month ago

I had a great experience with Tom's. We had a good dialog, lots of great communication, and I am happy with the work done. Prices were as expected and no work was done that didn't need to be. I will be going back as needed.

Michael Mizell
Michael Mizell

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 month ago

I always take both my company vehicle and personal vehicles directly over to Tom's whenever I need issues taken care of...except for that one time I had to change a headlight in my Yukon. After struggling with trying to figure out how to take it out, I watched a YouTube video and followed all the steps. It turns out that you cannot simply take the headlight casing out, but you need to take the grill off first, then take the wheel well liner off (which I successfully completed) and then there is a hidden screw that needs to be removed. You cannot see this screw because it is tucked away behind the frame, and a standard socket wrench head is too large and will not work to remove. Feeling defeated, I called Tracy. He said to come on by and they took the screws out for me and helped replacing the headlight. I told him I wanted to at least pay something for the service but he refused to accept anything. These guys have always been good to me, and I appreciate their hard work and honesty.

Kt McVeigh
Kt McVeigh

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 month ago

They were very professional and helpful at all times - even when I didn't have time to use their services before I headed out of town, Casey spoke with me on the phone for upwards of 15 minutes to figure out what was wrong with my car, so I could get help elsewhere. Really stand-up place!