What is the purpose of an automotive differential:

As the name suggests, the differential is a mechanical device that lets the outside wheel rotate faster than the inside wheel during a turn. The outside wheel has to cover more ground than the inside wheel, and the differential makes this possible. The differential is an integral mechanical part that is made up of sturdy gears equipped with ball bearings and immersed in an oil pan.

In a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, the differential is placed prominently between the rear wheels, whereas in a front-wheel-drive vehicle, it’s located in the transmission housing between the universal joints. In an all-wheel-drive vehicle, the front and rear differentials are connected through the transfer case. The differential synchronizes the four wheels on a vehicle.

What are the signs indicating a faulty differential?

A grinding or scraping noise coming from under the vehicle is the only indication of a problem, so it’s a good idea to get any such noises checked out at your local NAPA AUTOPRO shop.

Address a small problem before it becomes a major repair later. If you don’t take action when you hear an unusual noise, other parts like the axle, driveshaft and transmission could be damaged as well.

Depending on your needs, we have the right lubricant or differential related parts.

How often do you need to maintain a differential?

Because all the power of the engine is transferred to the various differentials, you can imagine that they are very strong, and are built to last a long time. That is why it is important to keep your differential properly lubricated.

Differential fluids cool and protect the gears. With low fluids, the differential will run too hot and will wear prematurely. Fresh fluids will extend the life of your differential.

Minimal maintenance is required, but a certified NAPA AUTOPRO technician can check the differential, detect and fix leaks, as well as change the lubricant according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Learn more about the differential from our NAPA AUTOPRO experts in the video below: