Monday, February 19, 2024

Differential defective – an overview of the typical causes of problems!

Reading time 4 Min.

Differential defective – an overview of the typical causes of problems!

The differential gear - better known as the differential - has the important job of ensuring that the wheels are on one axle at different speeds can rotate. The detail makes cornering much easier. It is common for the differential in front-wheel drive vehicles directly to the gearbox is linked. However, there are separate differentials for all four-wheel drive enthusiasts. And if your car gets the thrust from the rear, i.e. has rear-wheel drive, then you will typically find the differential on the rear axle.

Is the differential defective?

Differential defective – an overview of the typical causes of problems!

But as with everything in life, a differential can sometimes fail. Below we have compiled the most important findings and information about possible signs, causes and the associated costs of a defective differential.

Do you recognize any of these symptoms?

  • Your car is having a hard time getting going.
  • The front wheels spin - especially on slippery surfaces such as wet or snowy roads.
  • Vibrations while driving: A worn or damaged diff can cause vibrations in the vehicle, especially at certain speeds or when accelerating.
  • Difficulty steering: If the differential is not working properly, you may experience problems with steering, especially when cornering. The car may feel unsettled or unsafe.
  • Strong heating in the area of ​​the differential: Excessive heating can be a sign of insufficient lubrication or internal friction in the differential
  • An unpleasant one greets you “Clacking”, “Humming” or “Grinding noises” from the subfloor.
  • Oily puddles are where you just parked.
  • Tire wear: A bad differential can cause the wheels to be loaded unevenly, resulting in uneven wear.
  • And last but not least: Metallic chips in the oil – nothing should actually glitter!

By the way: Do you have one? Haldex coupling in your car? Then you could easily confuse differential damage with a problem with this clutch, since both are often located in the same housing.

What are the classic culprits for differential damage?

Differential defective – an overview of the typical causes of problems!

Old oil or neglecting regular oil changes can cause damage to the differential. Then there is the problem that maybe not enough oil exists because there is a leak somewhere. Of course you also have to use the simple one wear consider it – nothing lasts forever. And then there are the cases of overload, possibly due to Tuning ambitions. Not to be forgotten either repairs, which may not have been carried out quite as carefully in the past. If you suspect that something is wrong with your differential, the following diagnostic methods should be used:

  • An test drive often says more than a thousand words.
  • A visual check of the differential.
  • Check the oil for unwanted metal particles.

Out with the old and in with the new?

If the suspicion is confirmed, then the old differential must be removed and a new one (or at least a regenerated one) pure. If you choose a new part, it can be between 1.500 and 8.000 euros costs, depending on the car model and the spare parts manufacturer. Well-known manufacturers are, for example ZF and borgwarner. Alternatively, tested used parts are available, which are particularly useful for cars with high mileage or a low market value. These hit around 500 to 2.800 EUR to book.

Finally, some good news: If there are no spare parts for your model on the market, a specialist company could repair the differential. The repair time varies depending on the model. Working hours can range from 1 to 8 hours. For older vehicles like this BMW E36 It's usually quicker than with modern SUVs like this Listen Q7 or a Mercedes GLE. If you want to extend the life of the differential, change the differential oil regularly, even if it is declared as a “long-life filling”. Also avoid extreme stress, such as drifting.

The following note is essential: For safety reasons, tuningblog recommends all repair, inspection and maintenance work exclusively to be carried out in a specialist workshop! Although our information is summarized to the best of our knowledge and belief, we cannot assume any liability for the content. All information is therefore "without guarantee".

That wasn't it yet!

In our Auto Repair Category you will find advice and instructions on common vehicle defects, repairs and the installation of accessories/tuning parts.

thematically relevant posts

More safety and comfort: retrofitting headrests – this is what you should know

Differential defective – an overview of the typical causes of problems!

Haldex Coupling Problems: Causes, Repairs and Costs

Differential defective – an overview of the typical causes of problems! - the tuning magazine

About Thomas Wachsmuth

Thomas Wachsmuth - He has been an integral part of since 2013. His passion for cars is so intense that he invests every available penny in them. While he dreams of a BMW E31 850CSI and a Hennessey 6x6 Ford F-150, he currently drives a rather inconspicuous BMW 540i (G31/LCI). His collection of books, magazines and brochures on the subject of car tuning has now reached such proportions that he himself has become a walking reference work for the tuning scene.  More about Thomas

Leave a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked with * marked