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The Moving Parts of a Vehicle

By Product Expert | Posted in How does it work? on Thursday, October 1st, 2019 at 11:22 PM
Various Vehicle Parts

What is a differential and how does it work?

Have you ever given much thought about what it takes for your vehicle to go around a corner? Power has to get to your tires, and they have to move at different speeds so that one tires does not slip. However, both tires are on an axle. So how does this work? Introducing the differential. What is a differential and how does it work? In short, it is the reason why when you go around a corner the outside tire is able to spin faster than the inside tire. Keep reading to learn more. 

How does a differential work?

Basically, two wheels are on two different axles that are connected. This is great when traveling straight. But what happens when you have to turn a corner? Simply put, the differential is made up of various gears that get power from the engine and allows the wheels to spin at different speeds to make a turn.

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Differential of TruckThe types of differentials

There are three types of differentials. They are open, limited-slip, and torque-vectoring.


This is the oldest differential. It is used in most vehicles. There is a set of gears that get power from the engine. These gears engage with another gear which sends power to the axles through a final set of gears. Whew! That is a lot of gears! These final gears allow the inside tire to spin slower than the outside tire and therefore you can make your turn. Have you ever found yourself slipping around a corner? That is because one wheel slipped and the engine is sending too much power to that one tire that does not have enough traction.


This is essentially the same as the open. There is one major difference that comes into play when a wheel slips. There is a clutch device that is part of this differential and it locks the left and right axles together when a wheel slips. This way, one tire will not be getting to much power from the engine. Limited-Slip is typically found on high-performance vehicles.


There is a lot more technology involved in this differential. Basically, there are sensors that collect information and as a result, power is sent to each individual tire.

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