Differentials & Traction Control

A differential is a mechanical device that allows a vehicle to negotiate turns while maintaining power to both the left and right wheels of the drive axle. Without a differential a vehicle would tend to drive straight. The outside tire(s) would hop and skid in turns, resulting in tire wear and vehicle instability.

  • They allow the wheels to turn independently of each other.
  • To “turn” the drive shaft power 90 degrees.
  • To act as the final powertrain gear reduction.
  • To help control traction (if so equipped).

Types of differentials

  • Open (standard) differential: the original solution to a universal problem
  • Limited slip differential (LSD): getting some power to the other wheel
  • Locking differential: can transfer 100% of power to both drive wheels equally