Types of Differentials

From open to torque-vectoring, different types of differentials offer a range of benefits and advantages. Depending on your vehicle, from compact city cars to large off-road 4WDs, you’re likely to need a certain type of differential.

At WA Diff Centre, our diff specialists provide expert diff parts, repairs and services in Perth. Want to learn more about diffs? Read on to find out more about the different types of differentials and what they do.

Open Differentials

Frequently found in vehicles that don’t require off-road or heavy duty abilities – including family sedans, economy cars and minivans – open differentials split engine torque into two outputs, allowing each to rotate at different speeds.

When one tyre loses traction, the opposing one also experiences a torque reduction. This can result in your car being stuck with one tyre spinning while the other fails to deliver enough torque to move your vehicle. With modern vehicles, advanced traction control systems compensate by applying the brakes to the slipping wheel – acting as a reaction torque.

Sophisticated and modern open differentials are generally more effective and efficient in regaining control.

Locking Differentials

Found frequently in Jeep Wranglers, Mercedes-Benz G-class vehicles and as optional on full-size trucks, locking differentials allow for connected wheels to always spin at the same speed. Ideal for off-road vehicles, locking differentials allow torque to continue to flow to wheels with higher traction.

Limited-Slip Differentials

Limited-slip differentials combine elements of open and locking differentials, working as open while beginning to lock as slipping occurs. Lock ups can be triggered by fluid, a complex gear train or a clutch pack. As reactive differentials, they only begin to lock up after wheel slips have occurred.

You’ll often find limited-slip differentials in the Mazda MX-5 Miata (clutch type), Nissan 370Z with the Sport package (viscous) and the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ (helical gears).

Electronically Controlled Limited-Slip Differentials

Offering rheostatic control between open and fully locked behaviours, electronically controlled limited-slip differentials make hundreds of adjustments per second. Responsive to a computer sensor, the differential reacts according to precise and real-time conditions.

Electronically controlled limited-slip differentials are frequently found in vehicles like the Chevrolet Corvette with Z51 package, BMW M3 and M4, Cadillac ATS-V and CTS-V and the Ferrari 488GTB.

Torque-Vectoring Differentials

Found in the Audi S4, S5 and S6, BMW X5 M and X6 M and the Lexus RC F, torque-vectoring differentials fine-tune the torque delivered to each wheel. Using additional gear trains to overdrive half-shafts, torque-vectoring differentials work to slow or quicken rotation in corners. Heavy, complex and expensive, they can sometimes eat away at your fuel efficiency.

Diff Parts and Repairs in Perth

At WA Diff Centre, we specialise in providing diff repairs, reconditioning and general advice. Offering fast and responsive services, our professionals are generally able to repair your diff on the very same day. With up to two years warranty on services, you can count on our workmanship and expertise.

Contact our diff specialists for quality diff parts and repairs today. Call (08) 9417 9930.

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