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Differentials, Assemblies & Parts

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The differential is a fundamental component within a vehicle's drivetrain, tasked with a crucial role: allowing the wheels on an axle to rotate at different speeds while maintaining power from the engine. This function is paramount for vehicles to maneuver smoothly, especially during turns, where the outside wheel must travel a greater distance than the inside wheel.


How does a differential work?


The differential receives power from the transmission or drivetrain via the driveshaft. This power is transmitted to the differential's input shaft. Inside the differential housing, the input shaft is connected to a set of gears, typically called the ring gear. This ring gear is connected to smaller gears, called pinion gears or spider gears. As the input shaft rotates, it turns the ring gear, which in turn rotates the pinion gears. The pinion gears are attached to axle shafts that extend out to the wheels. The rotation of the pinion gears causes the axle shafts to rotate. When the vehicle is moving straight ahead, both wheels rotate at the same speed. However, during a turn, the outside wheel needs to travel a greater distance than the inside wheel. The differential allows this by allowing the wheels to rotate at different speeds while still receiving power from the engine.

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