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Axle & Drivetrain System | Axle & Drivetrain Information Parts | Video of Axle & Drivetrain

The rear differential transmits torque from the transmission to the rear wheels of the vehicle. The rear differential normally consists of a pinion gear, a ring gear, two spider gears and two side gears. The two side gears are connected to the axles which drive the rear gears. When the vehicle is traveling in a straight line, the pinion gear transfers power to the rear gear which then transfers power to the side gears. When the vehicle is cornering, the wheel on the inside of the corner is traveling a shorter distance and therefore needs to be able to turn slower than the wheel on the outside of the circle. When this happens, the spider gears rotate and allow the side gears to travel at different speeds.

When the spider gears become worn, the side gears and spider gears do not create a tight mesh and can skip over each other. This usually makes a loud popping noise when cornering.

Bearings inside the differential support the shafts to which the gears are connected. If a bearing becomes worn, it can cause the gears to mesh improperly. This usually creates a humming noise from the rear of the vehicle and can cause premature wear on the gears.

Differentials are enclosed in a metal housing that is filled with fluid that allows the gears to be lubricated and cooled. Multiple seals keep oil from leaking out around the rotating shafts of the differential. If a seal begins to leak and the fluid level becomes low enough, the gears will not receive sufficient lubrication and damage can occur.

Axle & Drivetrain Information - Houston's Premier Auto Repair Facility