What is a Differential?

Each vehicle has its own type of differential. In a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) vehicle, it’s located in the back between the two rear wheels. In a RWD configuration, the rear wheels are the power station that moves the vehicle forward. The wheels, however, are designed to rotate independently of one another.

When you turn a corner, you need the differential to keep the wheels in sync, so they don’t skid or slip. The inside wheels, they are the closest to the corner, only need to make a small arc to complete the turn. As such, they don’t require great speed. The wheels on the opposite side of the vehicle, the outside wheels, have to keep up the those on the inside, but they also need to make a wide arc to manage the turn. The gears inside the differential allow both wheels to manage the turn as they need.

Keeping the differential in good shape should be part of your routine maintenance programs. The oil in the housing is much thicker than engine oil, but it should be changed about every 30,000 miles. We’re here to answer your questions. Stop by Volvo Cars of Shreveport.

Categories: Service

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