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Differential Service at Brothers Tire

Posted August 19, 2018 07:25 AM

Here at AutoNetTV, we have national viewers, like your neighbors in Kannapolis, who write to us with questions or feedback. One common question we're asked is: "What is a differential and what does it do?" You may have been told by your Brothers Tire service advisor that your differential needs serviced, or it's seen it as an option up on the service menu. Differential service at Brothers Tire covers a lot of things, so let's first talk about what a differential does.

As you drive through a turn, your outside wheels and inside wheels turn at different speeds. Kind of like the cars going around a race track - the ones driving in the outside lanes have a greater distance to travel than the cars in the inside lanes. The differential is what allows the outside and inside drive wheels to rotate at slightly different speeds so that the tires don't hop or skip while taking corners, or lose traction in dirt or snow on Kannapolis area roads. Differentials have gears in them that transfer the power from the drive train to your wheels - which is why they're often referred to as gear boxes. The gears need to be very strong to do this work, and they need to be properly protected so that they'll last.

All vehicles in Kannapolis have some form of differential. If you have a front-wheel drive car, your differential is sometimes called a transaxle and is located in the front. If you have rear-wheel drive, the differential is in the back of the car. Kannapolis auto owners with a four-wheel drive vehicle have a differential in the front and the back - and in the middle as well. The center differential adjusts for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.

Differential fluid lubricates and cools the gears. Over time, the fluid can get dirty from bits of the gears grinding off. The additives that keep the fluid clean and protect the differential break down over time. So your vehicle manufacturer has scheduled intervals for you to have your differential fluid changed. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable Brothers Tire service advisor if you are not sure about your recommended schedule.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203



Drive Train Service in Kannapolis at Brothers Tire

Posted July 02, 2017 09:15 AM

The drive train in your vehicle includes all the components that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels. Those components differ depending on what type of vehicle you drive, namely, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The preventive maintenance your driveshaft needs will also differ by what type of vehicle you drive.

Let's start with front-wheel drive. In this vehicle, the transmission and the differential are combined in one component, known as the transaxle. The transaxle is connected to two half-shafts (axles), which are then connected to the wheels with a constant velocity (or CV) joint, which is protected by an airtight rubber boot.

Brothers Tire service for this type of driveline includes servicing the transaxle and inspecting the CV boot. If the boot is damaged, the CV joint will need to be inspected, and the boot will need to be replaced. If you hear a clicking noise in your wheel wells when you turn, you may have a damaged CV joint. A damaged CV joint should be replaced.

Rear-wheel drive vehicles generally have a transmission in the front of the car and the differential in the back. A driveshaft (it looks like a long tube) connects the transmission to the differential. Some vehicles may have a two-piece driveshaft, which are connected to the differential with universal joints or U-joints. Again, the differential is connected to two half-shafts that go out to the wheels.

Brothers Tire service on the drive train on a rear-wheel drive vehicle starts with servicing the differential. It will need its fluid drained and replaced regularly. The seals on the axles should also be inspected for wear or leaks. Leaking or damaged seals may mean the axle needs to be serviced as well. Also, U-joints can wear out. If you hear clunking or feel a jolt when you shift into drive or into reverse, it could indicate a driveline problem.

All-wheel drive vehicles provide power from the transmission to all of the wheels, instead of just to the front or rear. The advantage is that the vehicle can adapt to different driving conditions and transfer more power to the front or back wheels as needed. The disadvantages are that the driveline is more complicated, and the vehicle weighs slightly more.

Many all-wheel drive vehicles are based on a front-wheel drive set-up. They also have a differential in the rear and one in the center of the vehicle that allows power to transfer to the front and rear. A shaft runs from the transfer case to the center differential, and another from the center differential to the rear differential.

Servicing an all-wheel drive at Brothers Tire involves servicing ALL of the differentials and inspecting the joints and seals for wear, leaks or damage.

Four-wheel drive vehicles are rear-wheel drive vehicles that have an option to transfer power to the front wheels. In other words, they can be driven as either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles. These vehicles are specifically designed for the harsh driving conditions Kannapolis drivers encounter off-road. The driveline in a four-wheel drive vehicle is similar to that of an all-wheel drive vehicle. The center differential, however, is a transfer case. Maintenance requires servicing both of the differentials and the transfer case, as well as an inspection of the joints and seals.

Kannapolis auto owners would be wise to check with their owner's manual for recommendations on how often to service their vehicle drive train. It's also good auto advice to check with your friendly and knowledgeable Brothers Tire service advisor as well. You may live in an area in North Carolina where weather or driving conditions require more frequent servicing of the drive train.


Good car care at Brothers Tire in Kannapolis always includes taking care of your driveline. Without it, your vehicle becomes a very large paperweight.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203



Time for Differential Service at Brothers Tire?

Posted March 15, 2017 07:34 AM

Hello Kannapolis - let's talk differentials. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, your differential is on the back axle. With front-wheel drive cars, the differential is up front. All-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicles have three differentials - front, rear and in the middle. So you see, you've got a differential (or two or three) and it needs service now and then.

What does your vehicle differential do? Well, it compensates for the differences in speed between your outer and inner wheels in a turn. Using the dimensions of a typical car, let's compare the distance the wheels travel from the start of a turn through to the completion of the turn.

The inside wheel travels about 12.6 feet/3.8 meters. How much farther does the outside wheel travel? About 18.8 feet/5.7 meters – over 6 feet/1.9 meters more. This means the outer tire has to rotate 9 times in the same amount of time that the inner tire has to rotate only 6 times - so the outer tire has to spin faster in order to keep up. The differential makes this possible.

The gears in the differential are cooled and lubricated by differential fluid. It's this fluid that needs to be serviced. Small bits of the gears break off and are suspended in the differential fluid. The dirtier the fluid, the faster the gears wear.

So your Brothers Tire technician drains the old fluid out and replaces it with fresh fluid. Some differentials also need a special additive that is put in at this time.

So when should you have your vehicle differential serviced? Intervals vary from vehicle to vehicle – and may be as short as 15,000 miles/24,000 km – so check your vehicle owner's manual or ask us at Brothers Tire. If you frequently drive with heavy loads, tow a trailer or drive in hot North Carolina conditions, you may need to change differential fluid more often. Servicing your differential on schedule at Brothers Tire can save a pricey replacement down the road.

Give us a call.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203



Vive la Differential at Brothers Tire in Kannapolis

Posted December 01, 2016 07:47 AM

There are a lot of drivers in Kannapolis who are due for a differential service, but had never heard of a differential before. With front-wheel drive being so common in North Carolina these days, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Kannapolis folks don't even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don't need to be serviced for years, so it's understandable that it's not something on the top of your mind. It's not uncommon for people in Kannapolis to not know they have a differential, let alone know that it needs service.

To better understand what a differential does, think about a track at any North Carolina high school. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That's to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.

The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside vehicle wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

It's a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars weigh between 3,000 and 6,000 pounds (1,400 and 2,800 kg) – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.

That's a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool. The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that break down over time. So manufacturers recommend intervals for when to replace your differential fluid.

Your knowledgeable Brothers Tire service technician will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. He'll then replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.

Your Brothers Tire service advisor can look up the vehicle manufacturer's recommended service interval or you can check your owner's manual.

At Brothers Tire, we've been providing quality automotive service for our valued Kannapolis customers since . If you need to schedule differential maintenance, or any other automotive service, give us a call at (704) 933-2203.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203



Drive Train - What You Need to Know in Kannapolis

Posted December 02, 2015 12:00 PM



One Kannapolis automotive service issue that doesn't get much attention is driveline service. Drivelines don't get talked about very much around Kannapolis, but they're very important. First let's define what the driveline is:

Taking a small step back, the power plant is comprised of the engine and transmission. The driveline starts there and includes all of the components that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels.

That's not really a lot of components, but they handle the full force of the engine. Without the driveline you're not moving. So Kannapolis residents need to take good care of it. The driveline components differ depending on whether your vehicle has front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, all wheel drive or four wheel drive. For purposes of our discussion, we're going to have to oversimplify a bit.

If you are ready to have your drive train looked at, give us a call at (704) 933-2203.

Let's start with front wheel drive. The point where the transmission stops and the driveline begins is a little blurred with front wheel drive because the transaxle houses both the transmission function and the differential function. The half shafts that send power to each front wheel come out of the transaxle. The shaft is connected to the wheel by a constant velocity, or CV, joint. The CV joint is protected from dirt and water by an airtight, flexible rubber boot.

So, Brothers Tire driveline service would include properly servicing the transaxle and inspecting the cv boot to see if it's torn or loose. If it is, it needs to be replaced and the CV joint inspected for damage. Repairs may be in order. Besides visual damage to the airtight CV boot, you might hear a clicking noise when turning. Recommended maintenance for the transaxle and CV joints will be spelled out in your owner's manual, or check with your friendly and knowledgeable Brothers Tire service advisor.

On to rear wheel drive. The driveline for a rear wheel drive vehicle starts with the driveshaft – that long tube that connects the transmission with the differential on the rear axle. Some vehicles in Kannapolis have a two piece drive shaft. The shafts are connected to the transmission and the differential with big universal joints. Most Kannapolis residents have probably heard the term 'u-joints.' These joints can wear out, just like the CV joints in front wheel drive vehicles. You may hear some clunking or feel a jolt when shifting into drive or reverse – if you do, get your driveline inspected at Brothers Tire in Kannapolis.

The differential on the rear axle sends power out to each rear wheel through half shafts in the axle. The differential fluid needs to be drained periodically and replaced with clean fluid. When the seal on the end of the axle is damaged or leaks, the axle will need to be serviced. The routine maintenance item here is differential service. Be sure to check your owner's manual or Kannapolis service advisor for intervals.

Now let's go on to all wheel drive. Remember that the difference between all wheel drive and four wheel drive is that an all wheel drive vehicle is essentially providing power to all of the wheels all of the time. The vehicle may be able to shift more of the power to the front or to the back depending on where you need traction. All wheel drive vehicles are designed to work well on dry pavement. Even some high-end sports cars from makers like Lamborghini and Porsche have all wheel drive.

Some all wheel drive vehicles are designed to work well off-road in Kannapolis, but all hard-core rock crawlers are four wheel drive. These guys thrive in mud, sand, rocks and hills – but they don't work well on dry pavement when they're in four wheel drive. So they have the option to shift to rear wheel drive only on dry pavement.

Most all-wheel drive vehicles are very similar to front wheel drive when it comes to the front end. They also have a center differential that transfers power to the rear differential. Connecting it all is a shaft from the transaxle to the center differential and another from the center differential to the rear differential. So all of the normal front wheel drive service is recommended as well as service to the center and rear differentials.

Four wheel drive can be thought of as a rear wheel drive vehicle that can also send power to the front axle. There's a transfer case in the middle of the vehicle that can be shifted to send power through a drive shaft to a differential on the front axle. So Kannapolis residents need differential service for the front and rear differentials and for the transfer case as well.

The bottom line for Kannapolis residents is that the maintenance schedules are in your owner's manual. Your Kannapolis service advisor can answer any questions you've got. If this is the first time you've heard some of this stuff – it's time to ask someone at Brothers Tire if any of it needs to be done now.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203



What Is a Differential and Do You Have One?

Posted March 12, 2013 12:00 PM

With front-wheel drive being so common these days in Kannapolis, North Carolina, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Kannapolis drivers don't even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don't need to be serviced for years, so it's understandable that it's not something on the top of Kannapolis customers' minds. It's not uncommon for drivers to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.

Call Brothers Tire in Kannapolis at (704) 933-2203 for information about differential service, or stop by our Kannapolis, North Carolina, auto center at 1216 N Main St, 28081.

To better understand what a differential does, think about our local Kannapolis high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That's to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.

The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

It's a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars in the Kannapolis, North Carolina area weigh between 3,000 and 6,000 pounds (1,400 and 2,800 kg) – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.

That's a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool.

The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that break down over time. So vehicle manufacturers recommend intervals for replacing your differential fluid.

The professionals at Brothers Tire will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. Then they’ll replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.

Your Brothers Tire service advisor can look up the vehicle manufacture's recommended service interval or you can check your owner's manual. Give us a call at (704) 933-2203 for more information about your differential service.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203



Differential Service in Kannapolis, North Carolina - What You Need to Know

Posted June 13, 2012 12:00 PM

Scratching your head? Don't worry, if you don't know what a differential is – you will in a moment. That fact is that if you drive a car anywhere in Kannapolis, North Carolina, you have a differential. Whether your vehicle is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, you have a differential. Some Kannapolis vehicles might even have two or three.

Not surprisingly, a differential's job is to compensate for differences; specifically, they're the differences in wheel speed when turning. For instance, imagine taking a corner near your Kannapolis, North Carolina, home. Your inside wheel has a shorter distance to travel than the outside wheel as you turn the corner. That means that your outside wheel has to turn faster to keep pace with the inside wheel.

The differential allows the wheels to turn at different speeds while still providing power to your vehicle. Without a differential, Kannapolis residents' tires would scrub and hop along the pavement during turns like the early cars.

Ever noticed the big bulge in the middle of the rear axle on trucks? That's the differential. Rear-wheel drive vehicles have a differential in back. Most four-wheel drive trucks and SUVs will also have a similar differential on the front axle. A front-wheel drive vehicle's differential is called a transaxle because it combines the differential and transmission in one unit. An all-wheel drive vehicle will have a differential or transfer case that adjusts for speed differences between the front and rear drive wheels.

It can seem a little complex to some Kannapolis drivers - but you can see that all of the engine's power is routed through your differentials. They're strong enough to handle the work, but- we've said it before - they need to be properly lubricated in order to stay strong. So from time to time, you need to schedule a differential service in Kannapolis at Brothers Tire. The used fluid is drained and replaced with clean fluid. Some advise certain differentials to have special additives installed.

Get your differential serviced at Brothers Tire in Kannapolis.

Brothers Tire
1216 N Main St
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081
(704) 933-2203