Differential Solutions and Gear Oil

Quality gear oil and subsequent differential maintenance can save your customers from extremely costly repairs and unexpected side-of-the-road events. K.T. Automotive Products offers lab-tested and field-proven solutions that allow our partners to educate their customers and offer these services with confidence.

Differential System Explained

All vehicles have some form of differential:

  • Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) – often called a transaxle is located in the transmission.
  • Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) – the differential is in the back of the car.
  • Four-Wheel Drive (4WD) – there is a differential in the front, in the middle (transfer case), and in the back.

Types of Differntials:

  • Open Differential
    • Advantages – inexpensive and lightweight.
    • Disadvantages – engine power travels the path of least resistance. In the case where one wheel has less traction than the other, the engine’s power will go to the wheel with the least traction.
  • Limited Slip Differntial (LSD)
    • Advantages – Limits the amount of independence between the two axles; power sent to the wheel with the least traction is limited so the wheel with the most traction receives continuous power in order to get the car moving.
    • Disadvantage – the amount of power delivered to the wheel with the most traction is also limited.
  • Locking Differential
    • Advantages – allows the driver to lock the two axles together when needed; both axles receive equal power so that the wheel with the most traction receives power; often used for heavy-duty (HD) off-road and low torque situations.
    • Disadvantages – has to be unlocked to allow for differential wheel speeds while turning. If the axles are locked while turning, handling is negatively impacted.

Differentials contain fluid to lubricate and cool the gears.

When a vehicle is traveling straight, the left and right axles turn at the same speed. When a vehicle is turning, each of its wheels turns along a different path. Because each path is a different light – each wheel has to have the ability to rotate at a different speed.

Inside wheels travel a shorter distance than the outside wheels and front wheels travel a different distance than rear wheels. The wheels that travel a shorter distance also travel at a slower speed. Your differential allows for that difference in rotational speed. It also:

  • Distributes the engine power to the wheels.
  • Acts as the final gear reduction in the vehicle, slowing the rotational speed of the transmission one final time before it hits the wheels.

The Problem

Fluid Failure can be caused by:

  • Oxidation – fluid reacts chemically with the air.
  • Contamination – from dirt, water, and more.
  • Additive depletion.
  • Increased gear wear from metal build-up.
  • Reduced heat transfer from fluid foaming.
  • Reduced lubrication from the thinning fluid.

This can lead to overall Differential Failure:

  • Worn gears.
  • Noisy differential.
  • Overheating.
  • Loss of lubrication leads to component failure.

All system surfaces & components including the housing, pinion gear, ring gear, side gear, spider gear, shaft, and more. The most common deposit sources are grit (dust & dirt) coming from the road, water (condensation, seepage through vent hole), and metal shavings due to gear wear.

Transfer Case – the transfer case is a gearbox that splits the power between the front and rear axles on 4-wheel-drive vehicles. In all-wheel-drive vehicles (AWD), the transfer case helps to shift power from one axle to another, depending upon traction conditions.

Lubricating gear oil helps to keep the gears cool, clean, and turning smoothly. That said, gear oil additives break down over time in all gearboxes at different intervals. Replacing this fluid at the recommended intervals can help prevent premature wear and damage caused by contaminated or broken-down gear oil.

The Solution

We offer a wide range of gear oil options to offer your customer. Most manufacturers do recommend intervals for replacing differential fluid. Usually, it needs to be changed anywhere from 12,000 miles to 50,000 miles depending on the type of vehicle and the driving conditions.

Severe driving will warrant more frequent differential services. Severe is typically defined in the owner’s manual and includes: frequent starts and stops, short trips, cold weather, hot weather, and towing.

Four-Wheel Drive (4WD) will need special attention because of the loads they sometimes carry and the conditions they are commonly subjected to.

With Wynn’s Gear and Differential Oil Solutions, you will be able to:

  • Extend the life of the differential.
  • Replace depleted fluid and minimize differential fluid foaming.
  • Minimize the effects of oxidation deterioration.
  • Reduce wear and differential gear flaking.
  • Protect against rust and corrosion.
  • Protect against system failure.
  • Maintain vehicle warranty requirements.

This is possible because Wynn’s solutions will:

  • Protect gears from wear under high temperatures and high load conditions.
  • Excellent anti-wear and extreme-pressure properties.
  • Provide you with volume options to ensure flexibility for servicing a variety of differentials.
  • Maintain fluidity and stability at low temperatures.
  • Provide excellent synchronizer performance in manual transmissions.
  • Are compatible with yellow metals such as bronze, brass, and copper.
  • Compatible with elastomer materials.
  • Eliminate chatter.
  • Protect clutch surfaces.
  • Compatible with most mineral and synthetic gear oils.
  • Quiet the gear and bearing noise.
  • Improve extreme pressure (EP) and anti-scoring resistance.
  • Reduce wear and friction in the gearbox, differential, and bearings.
  • Maintain vehicle warranty requirements.
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