Could be your differential is slipping.
One component that all modern cars and trucks have in common is the differential. It’s called that because one of its duties is to allow a vehicle to turn smoothly by allowing the wheels on one side to travel at a different speed than those on the other side. That’s needed because the inside wheels on a turn travel a shorter distance than do those on the outside of the vehicle.
While that sounds superficially simple, a differential gets much more complex from there. First, the differential isn’t located in the same place on all vehicles. Front wheel drives have them between the front wheels; rear wheel drives, between the rear wheels; and all wheel drives have three (one each between the front and rear wheels and one in the center of the drive train). And, as auto.howstuffworks.com points out, there are many types of differentials – open, locking and limited slip are just three.
Considering the theme here seems to be differences, it’s likely no surprise that differentials also act differently when things start to go wrong. A front differential that’s going bad could cause excess noise coming from the front of your vehicle or even a loud clunking sound when you shift gears from drive to reverse and back again. Problems with the rear differential can include leaks, vibrations, or noisy gears while turning and while idling.
The lesson is to bring your vehicle to Terry’s Car Care whenever you hear strange noises. We can efficiently track down the cause and get it fixed.
One more thing about differentials: They all need to be maintained and, if they are surrounded by fluid, it needs to be checked and changed. That’s especially true if you’re hard on your car – frequent towing, driving into the water to launch your boat and so on. Terry’s is the place to make sure your differential is well cared for.
What happens if you don’t maintain your differential? Or if it breaks while you’re driving from Madison to Milwaukee to see the Brewers? Well, you’re probably going to miss the game. And, what’s worse, you’re probably going to be stuck in the middle of the road. Because when a differential goes, the drive train simply stops. And so does your vehicle. Wherever it is.