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Differential Diagnosis And Repair Services

a mechanic works on differential diagnosis and repair servicesOne of the most important but least known systems of your car, truck, or SUV is its differential system. For many, they don’t realize there is an issue with their differential until it’s too late. Fortunately, the expert technicians at Lockett’s Auto Care provide differential diagnosis and repair services that can ensure your vehicle continues to run smoothly.

What Is a Vehicle’s Differential?

The differential assembly uses a conventional ring and pinion gear transmitting the driving force of the engine to the wheels. The differential allows the wheels to turn at different speeds while preventing tire scuffing and premature wear on internal axle components. 

A vehicle’s differential can be part of the front or rear axle assembly. Sometimes, it can be both. There are three types of differentials:

  • Open Differential: This is the most common differential for a variety of vehicles. But, because it doesn’t control slippage, it’s not used for off-road vehicles or performance vehicles.
  • Limited-Slip Differential: While similar to the open differential, this is designed with an integrated clutch system allowing the left and right axles to lock when traction is lost.  
  • Torque-Vectoring Differential: The latest in differential technology, this uses sensors to read the steering system, engine components, and road surface to adjust accordingly.

Regardless of the type of differential your vehicle has, they require attention to ensure optimal performance and longevity from your vehicle.

How Do I Know My Vehicle Needs Differential Diagnosis and Repair Services?

There are several ways to recognize when your car, truck, or SUV may need differential diagnosis and repair. Usually, these signs involve irregular or unpleasant noise. If you hear the following, then it’s likely your differential needs attention:

  • Noisy When Coasting
  • Intermittent Noise
  • Constant Noise
  • Noise on Turns

Customers also report feeling vibration while driving or fluid leaking when parked. Our differential diagnosis and repair services at Lockett’s Auto Care includes:

  • Gasket Replacement: Differentials have a rubber or silicone seal that deteriorates over time. This is what leads to oil leaks. This repair requires the cover to be removed, cleaned and the new gasket to be put in place and sealed.
  • Pinion Seal Replacement: This seal sits around the yoke and also wears down over time. 
  • Side Seal Replacement: Two side seals prevent the differential oil from leaking onto your breaks. For this, the entire axle assembly is removed so worn-out seals can be replaced.

The non-leak repairs may include:

  • Bearing Replacement: There are side bearings and a pinion bearing which also deteriorate over time. This is usually the source of the noises and vibrations experienced.
  • Gear Replacement: Chipped and worn down teeth on your differential gears cause harsh noises as well when they have deteriorated. 
  • Complete Replacement: This requires you to have the rear differential replaced completely.

When you hear the noises mentioned above, you can trust that our technicians will diagnose the issue with your differential and recommend the necessary repairs.

Differential FAQs

Problems with your wheel bearings and axle can cause a vehicle’s tires to not spin while in drive.

Typically sudden braking can cause ties to lock. Also, damage to wheel cylinders and wheel bearings can cause locking.


Our team of experienced technicians can guide you through what your vehicle needs to maintain and repair its differential. We offer several other repair services in conjunction with our differential diagnosis and repair services, such as:

  • Electrical
  • Drivetrain
  • Cooling system
  • Brakes
  • Engine
  • Emissions
  • Clutch

These are just some of our services. Whatever issue you are facing with your car, truck, or SUV, we can give you an honest, thorough assessment with the fairest pricing around. Don’t put off routine maintenance. Reach out to us today at 410.744.4328.