What is are the different types of differentials?

March 8th, 2021 by

Differential types and what they do 

Whether you have brought your vehicle into Carl Black of Hiram and had your differential mentioned or you heard about them from somewhere else, they are an important component of the vehicle and how it handles on the road. There are four types of differentials. Keep reading to learn more about each of these differentials. 

First of all, what is a differential? 

If you have no idea what a differential does, it essentially takes power from your engine and sends it to your wheels. From there, the differential manages how the energy is used. There are four common differentials used between vehicles – open, locking, limited-slip and torque-vectoring. 

Here are the four types of differentials: 

  • Open differential – This type of differential is often found in family sedans and economy cars. It splits the engine torque into two energy outputs to allow the wheels to rotate at different speeds. If one tire loses traction, the other will lose power to maintain traction. 
  • Locking differential – Sometimes also known as a welded differential, this differential connects the wheels so they spin at the same speed. This typically makes turning a little more difficult. Vehicles that use this type are full-size trucks and Jeep Wranglers. 
  • Limited-slip differential – Offering the best of both worlds, the limited-slip differential operates as an open differential until slippage occurs, then the differential will automatically lock. This type is found in vehicles like the Nissan 370Z and Mazda MX-5 Miata. 
  • Torque-vectoring – Used by the BMW X5 M or Lexus RC F, the torque-vectoring differential uses additional gear trains to send a specific amount of torque to each wheel for added control on turns. 

close up view of a differential

Read more tips and tricks: How can I buy a car with my tax refund? 

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