Diagnosing and Understanding Various Differential Noises

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Cars Are Fun to Drive and Maintain If you don't know how to drive or if you are afraid of opening up the hood of your car so you can tinker with the engine, you are in the right place. I started this blog because I don't want anyone to miss out on the fun of maintaining and driving their own auto. I am not a professional and I don't work in the automotive industry. However, for the past 10 years, I have been repairing and driving cars as I have travelled around Australia. I hope that the words I have written here will inspire you to get involved with your car.




Strange noise coming from your vehicle should be a red flag of an underlying problem. It should also be noted that these weird noises can be symptomatic of malfunctioning components that need special attention from a mechanic. What some motorists do not realise, though, is that the type of noise that is emanating form your vehicle could help you in diagnosing what the actual problem is. Below is a guide to diagnosing the various noises coming from your car.

Humming sounds

If your vehicle starts to emit humming sounds, chances are your vehicle has a ring and pinion gear that has been installed incorrectly. If these components are not installed properly, there will not be adequate contact with the gear teeth. In turn, this translates into the rapid wear of the gear teeth, which will inevitably lead to premature failure of the gear. In the beginning, this will manifest as humming noises. However, as the wear gets worse, it could develop into growling sounds. This should alert you that you need to replace your bearings as soon as possible, as they are worn out.

Sounds as you increase or decrease your speed

If you start to hear loud-pitched sounds whenever you are accelerating or decelerating, it is a telltale sign that there is excessive contact between the pinion teeth and the ring teeth in your gear. Driving your vehicle in this condition will degrade both the pinion gear as well as the ring gear, leading to the need for differential repairs. You should also be wary of any noises that emanate from your vehicle when you are coasting. These noises might mean that there is insufficient contact between the aforementioned gear teeth, causing a backlash to your differential.

Clicking sounds

Any clicking or knocking noises coming from the vehicle could be indicative of a number of things. Firstly, hearing these sounds as you drive might be indicative of worn-out splines. These are located on your axle shaft, and it could mean that the shaft has become defective. A second reason why your vehicle may start making clicking noises is if there are one or multiple teeth that are chipped on your differential's gears. For both situations, it is crucial to have these gears replaced post haste.

Screeching when you are turning your vehicle

One of the functions of your differential is to ensure you will be able to navigate your vehicle around corners. If you start to hear noises whenever you are performing this action, chances are your vehicle's axle has acquired some damage. 

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