Can A Bad Differential Cause Transmission Problems?

Differentials are necessary and useful, but always a question arises can a bad differential cause transmission problems? Yes, a bad differential will definitely damage your transmission. The differential is one of the most sensitive parts of a car. It gets toe to toe with the transmission to get the car moving.

Sometimes differentials can get faulty and cause the whole transmission to fail. But before your differential gets damaged, you will see some symptoms. For instance, you will get a clashing metal sound, which eventually gets loud. We will discuss the reasons transmissions can get faulty due to bad differentials and their fixes. So stay tuned.

Can A Bad Differential Cause Transmission Problems?

If you ever take a turn on the corner with your car you will see that the turning side wheel is turning more than the other one. This happened due to the differential. The outer side wheel generally travels more distance than the inner one.

The differential mainly creates a difference in torque between the two wheels. If the differential didn’t exist, it would spin around in a circle. The torque is distributed through the pair of axles, and here comes the transmission.

So, if somehow the differential gets damaged, it also damages the transmission. And then the transmission fault symptoms occur. That’s why the differential and transmission problem symptoms are the same

How Does A Transmission Gets Damaged Due To A Bad Differential?

Now let’s discuss how can a bad differential damage your transmission. We guessed that you already got the idea about differentials. So you can also guess what happens if a differential gets damaged.

When a differential gets damaged, the transmission can’t deliver torque to the shafts properly. Also, cohesive friction occurs, which causes the metals to corrode. This cohesive friction eventually affects the gears of the transmission. In this way, a bad differential can damage your transmission. It can also make change your transmission and gearbox.

One of the biggest questions arises. How does a differential get damaged? The condition of a differential mainly depends on how the user is using their car. Rough driving affects the differential and causes it to wear off. Too much stress causes proportional stress to the transmission and differential too.

Driving at high speed for a long time mainly causes this stress. And also, driving cars off-road that are not meant for off-road can cause this stress. Due to this, the differential gets heated up and starts to get dysfunctional. Again too much spinning of the vehicle can also cause the differentials to fall off. In general, we can say that a bad driver is the main reason behind your differential failing.

Symptoms Of A Bad Differential

The symptoms of a bad differential are obvious, and you can identify them easily. Here in this section, we will discuss more on the symptoms of a bad differential along with the fix to the problems.

Steering Difficulty

It’s one of the obvious symptoms of a bad differential. You already know the reason behind this symptom. We already told you that all the turning you do with your vehicle is done through your differential. So obviously, if your differential gets faulty, it will affect the locomotion of your vehicle.

You will notice stiffness when you are turning your car on a corner. And the stiffness is quite distinct. Also, with the stiffness, you will hear some unusual noises. If you see any kind of symptoms like this, then immediately take your vehicle to the nearest mechanic. And tell them to check if the problem is coming from the transmission or the differential.

Excess Oil Consumption

Excess oil consumption is also one of the reasons behind a faulty differential. You know that for torque distribution, the engine needs to produce that power. And that power will come through the consumption of oil.

So basically, when the differential gets damaged, it can’t create proper torque distribution. So a difference is created, which consumes more oil.

Check your oil tank constantly and keep notes if you have any sort of suspicion. If the results are not normal, check if your driving experience has changed with the car.

If your differential is faulty, you won’t be able to drive comfortably. If these symptoms persist, then take it to the mechanic and check your differential and transmission.

Unusual Noises

Noises are the best symptom to identify any sort of car problem. The same goes for the differential. If your differential is faulty, then it will produce some weird noises. We told you that due to faulty differential, cohesive friction occurs. And obviously, the friction causes heat and noise. The heat damages your transmission, and the noise damages your sanity

You will get a howling sound and clinking of gears. That mainly happens if proper lubrication is not applied to the gears. So they dry out and cause friction. And ultimately, the friction causes annoying noises.

First, find out from where the sound is originating. If the sound is originating from the rear shaft, then be sure that it’s because of the differential. Quickly take it to the mechanic.

A Helpful Tutorial You May Need!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does rear differential affect transmission?

Yes, a bad rear differential can affect your transmission. And it mainly happens due to rough driving.

Is differential part of transmission?

The differential is mainly the part of the axle which is connected to the transmission.

What happens when you drive with a bad differential?

If you drive for a long time, it will completely damage your transmission and your gearbox.


Do we hope that you got your answer to the question- can a bad differential cause transmission problems? Yes, a differential can not only affect your transmission but your engine too. When the engine takes too much stress, it also causes stress on the differential and the transmission. In this way, bad differential symptoms are the same as transmission problem symptoms.

We gave you everything you need to know about the keyword. We may have missed something on the flow of information. You can let us know about them. Until then, goodbye.

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Ronald Berit

Our chief editor, working 24/7 to ensure the precise and only quality data regarding different trucks.He is mastered with the ins and outs of cargo to off-road trucks of Dodge, Ford, Chevy, Toyota, GMC and more. This truck geek graduatedwitha Bachelor of automobile engineeringdegree and practiced through his own automotive parts repair center.

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