Every car with four wheels has a mechanism called the differential. The differential plays an important role in vehicle stabilization and consistency, which is why it can be both disappointing and dangerous to experience differential failure. In a Mercedes, the differential is one component that is known to wear prematurely or experience malfunctioning well before the service interval. Therefore, if you’re a Mercedes driver, it’s helpful to know why these issues come up and how you can hopefully prevent them in the future. In this article, we’ll go over how to detect differential issues, what could be causing the differential to fail, and what you can do to address it.
Differentials: all cars have them, but no two are alike
Differentials are never the same across various vehicle designs, including even between different models of the same car brand. A car’s differential is the main component that communicates power coming from the engine to the car’s wheels to help them rotate. Furthermore, the differential is also responsible for allowing wheels to rotate differently at the same time – this allows the vehicle to be able to maneuver properly around corners and turns.
Now that you know how important the differential is, and how unique yours is, it’s important to understand the different components that commonly make up the differential that can corrode, wear, and fail over time. Most differentials are composed of the following parts:
- Pinion gears
- Axle shafts
- Ring gears and side gears
- A flange
As a part of ongoing vehicle care for your Mercedes, it’s important to have these parts serviced at the proper intervals to maintain your vehicle’s performance.
What causes differential failure?
As we said before, the parts that make up the differential can wear prematurely in some Mercedes cars and pose a threat to the vehicle’s stability and consistency. Gears can corrode and grind down, which often soils the differential fluid and creates more friction between the gears, causing the differential to degrade quickly. Additionally, gear oil or differential fluid can sometimes leak, causing gears to grind together. As you can see, it’s not only important to perform frequent inspections of the differential components but to keep the differential fluid clean and full at all times.
Ways to address the problem
It’s important to diagnose differential failure quickly, otherwise, it can lead to other problems, such as misaligned wheels, premature tire wear, suspension problems, and can damage other parts such as wheel bearings over time. Here are some suggestions on how to address the issue before it creates a chain reaction of part failure and repair needs:
- Find a reliable, reputable Mercedes specialist near you
- Stay on top of routine oil changes for your differential gears – these service intervals will differ depending on the type of Mercedes you drive
- Ensure that your Mercedes shop uses the proper synthetic gear oil recommended by the manufacturer
- Use only OEM (original equipment manufacturer) replacement parts for repairs
- Adjust your driving habits (try to take those turns a little slower!)
Detecting differential issues
Even though it’s best to try to avoid differential failure, sometimes it happens despite our best efforts. In the event that your differential begins to fail, there are some warning signs to look for so that you can catch the problem as soon as possible before even more damage occurs:
- Noticeably dirty gear oil
- Tire wear patterns are uneven
- Poor vehicle handling, especially while turning
- Vehicle vibration as it gains speed
- Odd noises coming from your car, like whining, humming, or grinding
There are a lot of things that can go wrong with your car’s differential, which is why it’s an essential part of ongoing care for your Mercedes-Benz vehicle. Here at Pete’s Auto Repair, Mercedes drivers from the areas of Nob Hill, Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, and San Francisco, CA, trust our expertise and consistency above other repair shops in the area – it helps that we never recommend services unless they’re necessary for your car’s longevity and performance. To learn more about our shop’s expertise working with Mercedes-Benz vehicles, please feel free to look over our website or contact one of our specialists directly. If you think your differential in your Mercedes is on its way out, please get in touch with us sooner than later – your safety and satisfaction are important to us.
* Mercedes Benz G500 image credit goes to: contrastaddict.