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Diff Repairs: Diagnosing the Different Sounds

Typically, motorists will not pay much attention to their vehicle's differential, as this component is quite durable. Therefore, you may have a significant number of years with your vehicle without having to consider diff repairs. However, this does not mean that the differential cannot acquire damage. If you have purchased a second hand vehicle or if you have an older car, then you may begin to experience problems with this component.

Luckily, having an ear out for signs of a malfunctioning differential would enable you to seek mechanical repairs post haste and have the problem rectified before it becomes exacerbated. Below are some of the different sounds to be wary of that would be indicative of impending diff repairs.

Rattling noises

If you begin to hear noises that sound like a stick has been stuck in between the spokes of a spinning wheel, chances are you will require diff repairs. These types of noises will typically be audible when you are decelerating your vehicle until you come to a stop. The rattling will come about when there is excessive clearance by your vehicle due to the wearing down of your differential gear.

However, it can also be caused if there is a damaged tooth in either your ring gear or your pinion gear. If the damage is minor, an auto mechanic can fix it by simply cleaning and resurfacing the damaged tooth. Conversely, if the damage is extensive, you may to get the entire differential gear replaced.

Clunking noises

Another sound that would indicate your diff has been compromised is if you begin to hear clunking noises. There is a wide assortment of reasons why these clunking noises come about. Some of the more common causes include when the transmission is in drive, if you have engaged it in reverse or if you apply the throttle. Clunking noises will also come about if your vehicle has insufficient lubrication, leading to friction between the components.

You may also hear clunking noises in the event that there are worn down gear parts or if the spider hears in your diff have broken down. If you notice that the clunking noises occur after driving a few feet rather than exclusively when navigating corners, chances are that you are contending with a ring gear that has broken. Any broken components in your diff gear should be addressed post haste as this could lead to your diff freezing while you are driving, causing you to lose control of your vehicle.