Differential and transfer cases are essential for your car to function properly. These parts are in charge of distributing the power your transmission makes to the axles, which are responsible for making the wheels of your car turn. Obviously, this function is extremely necessary.
Depending on the issue you’re experiencing, you may need to have a mechanic repair or rebuild your transfer case or differential. These common signs can clue you in that it’s time to have the differential or drive train in your front-wheel, rear-wheel, four-wheel, or all-wheel-drive vehicle checked out by a specialist:
- A howling noise while decelerating (that wasn’t present while you were accelerating) often means that there’s a loose pinion or bearing in your differential.
- A howl accompanied by a whir or rumble while accelerating at any speed tells you that a worn rear pinion bearing or worn gear set is responsible.
- A howl, without the whir or rumble, while accelerating is a sign that your gear set has worn down due to lack of lubrication or overloading.
- Banging, crunching, or popping sounds while turning let you know that there are badly worn or broken spider gears in your car’s differential.
- Rumbling or clicking that worsens during hard turns is a sign that your steering wheel bearings have gone bad.
- A clicking noise while decelerating from a low speed (20 MPH or less) to a complete stop generally means that your carrier case or side gear bores are worn out.
- Clunking while pressing on the gas pedal can be caused by worn U-joints, worn spider gears, worn axle splines, excessive gear backlash, loose yoke splines, or worn slip yoke splines.
- A driveline that is squeaking or grinding at any speed is a sign of worn or damaged U-joints.
- A cyclic vibration that varies in intensity, becoming more severe at a specific speed range and during deceleration, is a tell-tale sign that the pinion angle is too low and is not parallel with the front yoke on the driveshaft.
You should always remember that, when it comes to repairing your transmission, it’s a job best left to experienced professionals. These common signs might be able to help you pinpoint the source of the problem, but there’s always the chance that you missed something.