Differential Repair in kearny mesa, San Diego

Auto Differential Repair & Replacement  

Driving around corners requires more complex mechanics than a simple turn of the steering wheel. The inside wheels have a shorter distance to travel around a corner than the outside wheels, which means the outside wheels have to turn faster to keep pace. The auto component that compensates for this difference is called a differential.

The terms “rear-wheel drive,” “four-wheel drive,” and “all-wheel drive” relate to how the wheels on your car are powered and where the differential is located:

  • Rear-wheel drive cars, which are the most common, have a single differential mounted on the rear axle.

  • Four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles have a front differential on the front axle and a rear differential on the rear axle.

The differential allows your vehicle to turn smoothly and accurately, making it an important device that enhances both the safety and the pleasure of driving. At Ruffner Transmission, we offer a full spectrum of services for domestic and foreign vehicles, including auto differential repair and replacement. 

Differential fluid

Differentials are made up of several gears and bearings that need lubricant to ensure smooth, seamless functionality. Over time, high operating temperatures can cause the differential fluid to break down and develop a “gummy” texture that can’t properly lubricate the gears. Low fluid levels can cause metal parts to grind against each other and lead to untimely wear. Most manufacturers recommend changing the differential fluid in your car every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Changing the differential fluid is a messy, complex job that also requires proper disposal.

We can help. When you bring your car to Ruffner Transmissions for a differential inspection, we’ll check your fluid level and add fresh differential fluid if necessary.  We’ll make sure your differential is properly lubricated with clean fluid so the gears can function the way they’re supposed to. 

Differential problems, symptoms & diagnosis

Like many other components of your car, you probably won’t know your differential needs your attention until it begins to cause unusual sounds. If your car is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, it could mean something is wrong with your differential:

  • Continuous clunking 

  • Banging or skipping sensation when turning a corner

  • Howling during acceleration

  • Clunking during rapid deceleration

  • Whirring during acceleration or deceleration around 10 mph

  • Low-pitched rumbling at all speeds over 20 mph

If you notice any of the above warning signs, please visit a repair shop right away. A failing differential can result not only in damage to the axle, driveshaft, or transmission but if it freezes up, it could also cause you to lose control of your car. At Ruffner Transmission, we can diagnose the symptoms and repair or replace your differential before the problem spreads or affects your safety.