auto technician working under car

Differential & Transfer Case Service

WHY DO DIFFERENTIALS MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

We perform services on front and rear differentials as well as transfer cases. Why? Well, to make sure your car’s turning system is working, silly!

The differential and transfer case, as well as the CV joints, boots, and axles, are all part of the drivetrain on your vehicle. This collection of parts works together to transfer power from the transmission on to the wheels. This might all seem as clear as mud, so here's a quick rundown on the role the differential and transfer case play in your car.

What Is A Differential And Transfer Case?

The differential is a mechanical component located on the axle that allows your left and right wheels to rotate at different speeds. When your car turns, the outer wheel has to turn faster than the inner wheel because the length of the paths they take is different.

Now let's step it up a notch. If a vehicle has a differential on both the front and rear axles, it needs a transfer case to direct power separately to each of the differentials. In other words, the transfer case does for differentials what differentials do for the wheels.

Do You Have A Front Or Rear Differential?

How do you know if your car has a differential on the front, the rear, or both? This depends on how the wheels of your vehicle are powered. If your car is front-wheel drive, it will have only a front differential, and vice versa for rear-wheel drive vehicles. All-wheel drive vehicles contain both a front and rear differential.

Do Differentials and Transfer Cases Require Regular Maintenance?

Differentials and transfer cases are filled with fluid to lubricate their internal components and dissipate heat. If this fluid becomes compromised by foreign particles, excessive heat, pressure, or even water, this can cause damage. When these parts become impaired, the gears inside can lock up (not good), causing the wheels to seize up (really not good).

You should have your differential and transfer case fluid checked every 30,000 miles, or when you experience any of the symptoms below. Changing these fluids is a messy job, but your local Brakes Plus is here to help – we never mind getting our hands dirty!

Symptoms & Noises To Look Out For:

  • A howling sound when accelerating

  • A whirring noise when decelerating

  • A clicking or clunking sound at regular intervals

  • Banging or rumbling noises when turning a corner

  • Fluid leaking under the vehicle's axles

  • The smell of burning oil

  • Vibration that increases with acceleration

  • Front or rear wheels seizing up

What’s Included In A Differential Or Transfer Case Service?

  • Check for leaks and damage

  • Drain old fluid

  • Fill with appropriate new fluid type

  • Reseal differential cover (when applicable)

If you are experiencing any of the orchestral phenomenons or other signs we listed above, you either already have a problem, or you’re about to have one. Schedule an appointment for a Brakes Plus expert to take a look at your differential and transfer case!