Auto servicing for mums

Some Common Problems With Your Car's Differential System and Drive Train

A differential system is what allows your car's tires to spin at different speeds without slowing down the car or making it difficult to turn. Without a differential system, the wheels would need to be on casters so they could spin freely and separately when you turn, like a shopping cart, but this type of system could not support your car and might allow it to skid and slide every time you turn the wheel.

The differential system is a set of bearings and gears that allow the wheels to then spin independently of each other while still being connected through the drive train or steering system. If you're having some trouble with steering or controlling your car, it could be a problem in the differential system. Note a few of these common problems so you can know what to expect by way of repairs.

Banging or crunching when turning

The gears of the differential system need to fit the gears to which your car's tires are connected. When these gears are worn or not fitted any longer, you will often hear a banging or crunching as the teeth move out of position and hit the gears themselves. This often happens when you turn, as this is when the differential system is most likely to be affected. Very often you simply need to have these gears replaced.

Vibration that increase as you accelerate

Vibration in your car can be caused by a number of factors, but it's often the tires that are not working together that causes your car to shake or vibrate. The driveshaft of your car takes power from the engine and transfers it to the tires and when a driveshaft is worn or out of balance, one tire may not be getting adequate power. In turn, it may not be spinning as quickly as the other tires and it begins to vibrate. The faster you go, the more noticeable this vibration. The driveshaft may need replacing in this case.


If you hear loud squealing and especially as you accelerate from idling or make a turn, this often means the bearings of the driveshaft and differential are worn. These bearings are rounded pieces that allow these parts of the driveshaft and differential to spin at different speeds. When they're worn, they'll squeal as they try to spin and turn. Very often the bearings simply need replacing as they cannot usually be repaired.