Do You Know What Takes Place within Your Car’s Rear Axle?

When people think about maintaining their car or truck, they usually focus on the "front end." After all, this is where most of the mechanical action takes place, and they understand the importance of engine and gearbox maintenance. But if you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, you should certainly pay attention to the back end too. What can happen if you neglect this area as time goes by?

The Final Drive

Although you may not realise it, a lot of action takes place within your vehicle's rear axle before your car will be able to move a centimetre. To begin with, the driving force produced by the engine has to be turned through 90° before it can reach those back wheels. In addition, the mechanism within the rear axle also needs to vary the speed of each wheel based on the vehicle's direction. For example, when negotiating a right-hand turn, the left rear wheel will cover a greater distance than the right rear wheel. That wheel will also have to spin at a different speed compared to the other one – and all of this magic has to be taken care of by a trick differential.

Slipping Differential

Engineers have designed a mechanism that relies on cogwheels turning at varying speeds and in different directions to allow parts of the differential to "slip" in relation to the others. Without this technique, your car would drag one tyre along the road surface when moving in the opposite direction, or the entire vehicle would shudder and bounce rather than move along its course with ease.

What You Need to Do

As you can see, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes at the rear of your vehicle. You need to make sure that your differential is always in good condition and, crucially, is well lubricated by a specialist product. This fluid is as important as your engine oil and must be replaced at manufacturer-recommended intervals. If you don't, or if you allow the fluid to run too low, the differential will heat up. Certain parts will begin to break down, and you may start to hear a lot of noise from within the axle casing. Catastrophic damage can ensue if you let things go too far, so make sure that you take care of business whenever needed.

Don't Forget

So, remember that in a rear-wheel-drive car, a lot of activity takes place underneath the boot as well. Remember to schedule a service visit to take care of this area too.

For more information on car servicing, contact a professional near you.