Vehicle manufacturers have invested a lot of money and effort into making the car that you drive as quiet as possible. To do this, they have paid a lot of attention to aerodynamics and soundproofing, while also fitting exhaust systems that adequately muffle the noise. Therefore, you're able to conduct a normal conversation with your companion when driving down the road, but also become aware of unusual noises rather quickly. If something at the rear of the car has caught your attention, what could this be and why is it important for you to take action now?
Zeroing in on the Differential
While a noise from the back of the car could be associated with suspension issues, it's likely to be related to the differential. This is one of the most important components of the car, but also one of the most hard-working. A number of different mechanical noises could emanate according to what's going wrong.
Deciphering the Noise
When you are accelerating the car, do you notice a whining or grinding noise? Typically, this means that the teeth that are part of the various cog mechanisms are engaging incorrectly, or at the wrong angle. The noise may get worse when you take your foot off the accelerator, which indicates a more advanced version of the same problem.
The axle shafts that connect the wheels to the differential can sometimes wear out, which will in turn develop a knocking or clicking sound. It is possible, however, that such a noise only appears when you're going around a corner. Bearings within the differential casing could be wearing out and the problem is exacerbated when the unit is under pressure., Alternatively, you may find that the outer bearings contained within the road wheels are the culprit, which is somewhat simpler to fix.
Why Do These Problems Arise?
When you consider how hard the differential has to work, it's not surprising that things start to fail over time. Remember, this part of the car is converting energy created by the engine into forward motion. This energy has to be "stepped down" and turned through ninety degrees, all of which requires very precisely engineered tolerances and metalwork that's under constant pressure.
What to Do Next?
Any type of noise emanating from the differential is potentially problematic and you should book the vehicle in to your service centre as soon as possible. With an eye to the future, understand just how crucial the diff lubricant is and ensure that it is checked or replaced periodically to safeguard all components.