Apr 15 2016

Is It the Differential?

carsIf trying to contribute to a conversation about a car’s differential just causes you to scratch your head in bewilderment, you definitely aren’t alone! Car experts have long been trying to help drivers understand the inner workings of a car’s differential, but it isn’t nearly as commonly known as the brakes or exhaust. Here is a brief summary of everything you should know to finally join in on that differentials conversation. Defining the Differential Each part of a car serves a very important and specific purpose. A car’s differential, for example, maintains three rather significant responsibilities. First, the differential directs the engine’s power to the wheels to keep your car moving along down the road. Second, it is the final gear reduction to slow the transmission’s rotations. And finally, the differential allows the wheels to spin at different speeds, which is how the term “differential”in other words, differentlygot its name. So, Why Do You Need a Differential? The three purposes of the differential make it critical to your car’s ability to drive safely. Every time you turn your car around a corner or make a u-turn, each wheel travels a different distance and thus must spin at a different speed to keep the car moving evenly. The inside wheels travel a shorter distance than the outer wheels, which means that they must travel as a lower speed than the outer wheels. Without a differential, your car’s wheels would be essentially locked together and forced to work in completely synchrony, making turns just about impossible without a tire slipping. When Were Differentials Created? Believe it or not, the first differential concepts have been discovered to date back to 30 BC in China. The first modern differentials were used as gears in a clock in 1720, and the idea was then utilized in 1827 by a French watchmaker to patent the first modern automotive differential. Since 1827, many inventors have refined and improved the differential gear, and a number of patents exist for different types of differentials.