What is a differential?

By Product Expert | Posted in Parts & Accessories, Tips & Tricks on Friday, March 12th, 2021 at 5:29 pm
close up to a differential

Different types of differentials 

We all try to understand the basic components of our vehicles from the battery to the tires. One part of the vehicle you may not have heard much about is the differentials. These parts use power from the drivetrain in the engine to power how the wheels perform. There are four types of differentials used in the auto industry – open, locking, limited-slip and torque-vectoring. Keep reading to learn more about each of these types of differentials. 

Open differential 

Found in family sedans and economy cars, open differentials splits the engine torque into two outputs. This allows the wheels to turn at different speeds so if one tire loses traction, the other will lose power as well. 

Locking differential 

Locking differentials are typically found in most full-size trucks. It connects wheels so they always spin at the same speed which sometimes can make turning the vehicle difficult. 

Limited-slip differential 

Often found in sports vehicles like the Nissan 370Z, limited-slip differentials are a combination of open and locking differentials. Typically, they will act like an open differential but will automatically lock if any slipping occurs. 

Torque-vectoring differential 

The torque-vectoring differential uses additional gear trains which optimizes the torque delivered to each wheel and can slow or speed up the car’s rotation around a corner. Since the torque-vectoring differential is heavy and complex, it often results in a lower fuel economy. 

close up view of a differential

Read more tips and tricks: Tips to keep in mind when driving with children

Need your vehicle serviced? 

If your vehicle needs a service, no matter how big or small it is, we can help you at Glendale Nissan, located in Glendale Heights, IL. Schedule a service appointment by calling us or filling out a form from our website today! 

Read more tips: Will my car be okay to get washed when it’s cold outside? 

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