quiet differential whine

Have you ever experienced a differential whine in your vehicle that won’t go away? The kind of noise that constantly nags at you, ruining your drive.

We can understand how frustrating and bothersome this can be. If your vehicle makes a strange noise when turning or accelerating, you must look at the differentials. Once you understand those parts of the vehicle, it will be easy to quiet the differential whine.

Differential is located between the engine and the wheels which allows your vehicle to turn effectively. As they allow the tires to move and accelerate they should be ideally quiet but some factors will lead to the noisy differential whine.

In this guide, I will walk you through some of the factors that will lead to noisy differential whine followed by ways to quiet differential whine stick with me to quiet differential whine in vehicles.

What Causes A Differential Whine 

Automotive faulty parts will be better to replace with the new and most of us prefer that but differential will cost anywhere around $1500-$4000. So fixing the issue and then replacing it is the best thing to go with.

This will help us to figure out the issue with that in mind, let’s discuss the things that might be causing one of your differential to whine.

Worn rings and pinion gears would trigger the particular noise. Those components could also cause more rhythmic clicking, clunking, or banging noises. On the other hand, if the sound you hear could be characterized as whirring, the issue is more likely with the pinion or carrier bearings.

Another common cause of differential whine would have something to do with gear lubricant. To function smoothly and effectively inside of the differential needs to be submerged with oil.

If the gasket is damaged enough to let the fluid drain from the chamber the gear will have a hard time turning smoothly. On the other hand, if you have driven off the road the oil might have mixed with the water resulting in a strange sound.

How To Quiet Differential Whine

You can optimize the performance of the differential right from your garage without taking the car to a professional. You can easily swap out the fluid if you don’t have any prior experience fixing the car. Without further delay let’s get into it.

1. Lift The Car

The first thing you need to do is elevate the vehicle you need to lift the car at least two feet from the ground so you can get under it. You can lift it onto some jack stand or ramp that part will be up to you.

Before you start fixing the noisy differential whine you need to get some tools ready.

Torque wrench 

Oil drain pan 

Clean rags

Flat pry bar or screwdriver 

Brake cleaner can

Utility knife or gasket scraper

Differential oil

Utility gloves

Flexible tubing or a lubrimatic fluid pump 

After getting all the things at your place you need to start fixing the noisy differential whine.

2. Lose The Fill Plug

Before fixing the noisy differential whine you need to figure out where the fill plug is located and depending on the differential you are working on the access point would be just above the differential or on the cover. Once you find it you need to try and open it.

If you’re not able to open the fill plug with the spray and torque wrench you shouldn’t try to drain the differential yourself. Instead, you should take your car towed to the mechanic as you shouldn’t drain the chamber only to find out you can’t fill it back.

It is better to take the vehicle to the mechanic to open the fill plug and drain the chamber.

3. Drain The Chamber

After your fill plug is working you need to start removing the bolts that are holding the differential cover in place. As you’ll see the part is positioned vertically. 

If the bolts are the only thing standing between your drain pan and the diff fluid you should start getting the bottom ones off first. As you work your way up keep the topmost bolt in don’t go further than loosening it. That prevents the cover from dropping into the drain pan along with the elements of the differential.

Now the cover won’t pop up or start leaking even after most of the bolts are taken out. The old gasket and oil have created a seal around the edge of the cover. In this case, you’ll need a slim tool like a screwdriver or a prybar to get that off.

After the seal is removed the fluid should pour out without an issue. Initially when the liquid is out you’ll be able to take the cover completely off.

4. Clean Differential Cover

Now you can let the differential fluid drain into the pan while you clean the cover. To clean a thick layer of oil coating the inside of the lid use a paper towel or fabric rags. Ensure you don’t leave any debris inside the lid.

If you have any issues getting the diff fluid off the cover you can hit it with a brake cleaner it will be easy to clean only thing you need is patience and rags at your place.

As you get the oil off the cover you may notice some black residue around the rim that is a mixture of oil and an old gasket that prevented the fluid from leaking out of the differential before you put a new one in its place you’ll need to scrap the residue thoroughly with a utility knife, scraper or a scotch brite pad.

This can be achieved with a wire brush as long as you don’t scratch the surface too hard. Grooves in the metal could prevent the differential from closing properly even with a new gasket.

5. Clean The Differential 

Now it’s time to clean the inside of the differential chamber you need to start by scraping the dirt of the previous gasket from the rim. Try to cover the inside of the differential with rags. It should prevent any debris from getting into the gears.

After the old gasket is taken off the rim you can take the rag off the gears. Keep in mind that the debris may have landed on the rag ends up inside the chamber. Once you’re done with that take a brake cleaner to clean the oily residue from the gears and the rim. Use another clean rag to wipe away the dirt.

If the inside is clean and looks good you can put the new gasket on the differential cover and bilt it back. Don’t fully tighten the bolts as you go around the cover. You’ll need some wiggle while you’ll get them all in. Once all the bolts are in place you can tighten the bolts.

By this inside if you suspect something wrong with internal components, now would be the time to get expert help otherwise you can move to replacing the differential oil.

6. Replace The Oil

Now it’s time to go back to the fill plug you loosened before you took off the differential cover. After you take it off, you’ll use a length of tubing or a fluid pump to get the differential oil from the bottle to the fill hole.

You’ll need to keep pouring until the liquid starts coming out through the hole. Since the fluid is fairly viscous transferring from one point to the next might take time. Two and a half jugs of oil but that will depend on the capacity of the differential you’re working on.

When you see the differential coming from the fill hole you can simply put the plug back. Finally, you are ready to take the test drive of your car.

7. Take Your Vehicle For Test Drive

Unless something is wrong with the internal parts of your differentials, replacing the lubricant should eliminate any disturbing noises. You need to take your car for a ride before you appreciate yourself.

You need to take the vehicle for a quick ride to test the efficacy of the treatment. You need to push your car well for above 20 miles per hour and check if that action prompts any noises. While you are driving you should take a few turns as well. Additionally opening and closing the window will help you understand the noise.

Most of the vehicles already make all sorts of noise while on the road. If you want to eliminate the differential noise, you should make the car quieter in general. If you have noisy lifters or loud exhaust you won’t be able to hear the differential noise.

Final Thoughts On Quiet Differential Whine 

Addressing and fixing the differential noise is essential for a smooth, quiet driving experience. By following the tips in this article you’ll be able to diagnose and resolve the differential noise issues effectively. This will not only save you from the annoyance of the whining noise but also ensure optimal performance of your car.

Proactive maintenance plays a crucial role in preventing differential whine and other related problems. Regularly maintaining your vehicle including proper lubrication and timely inspection can detect potential issues before they become major problems. By identifying any potential transmission problems promptly you can avoid costly automotive repairs in the long run.

A well-maintained car will help you drive peacefully without the whining noise and provide comfort on the roads. It is essential to keep a check on your car after every long run to maintain it in good condition.

If you like this don’t forget to share it with friends and family. Thank you for reading.

Related Articles:

How To Quiet Whining Noise In Fuel Pump

How To Fix Lifter Ticking Noise: Prevent Damage

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