Your car's differential is the system responsible for dividing the engine's torque, allowing each of the outputs to spin at different speeds. There are three types of differentials: all-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, and rear-wheel drive. The wheels of your vehicle may sometimes move different distances and even spin with different speeds, which is exactly why a system is needed that can allow each individual wheel to spin at different speeds. This device also provides the reduction of the final gear, which slows the transmission's rotation speed before it is transferred to the wheels.
Tools needed to inspect the differential
If you want to try and fix your differential by yourself, you should know that it is not a task as simple as replacing a wheel. In order to pull this off successfully, you must possess the right tools, such as: calipers, bearing pullers, rubber mallet, a micrometer, pry bar, as well as socket wrenches. You will also need to get the vehicle off the ground in order to be able to work on the differential itself, which is usually found near the center rear axle of the car. Lifting the car is an easy task, assuming that anyone who's willing to work on their car themselves has a car jack handy.
Taking apart the differential and finding the issue
Once you have lifted your car off the ground, you should be able to spot the differential in the center of the rear axle. Find the oil seal and open it, draining away the oil in order to avoid any leakages. Once that is done, disconnect the car's drive shaft, and remove the axles as well as the differential's cover. Next, you should seek to remove the differential's carrier caps by using a pry bar and then look into removing the pinion bearings.
Once you have followed the above steps, your differential as well as the rear axle should be fully dismantled. At this point, you can carefully inspect each gear, seal, or bearing, in order to determine where lies the problem. Notice any chips or worn out bearings? If so, take it with you to the nearest parts shop and buy a replacement. Put everything back together following the same steps you did taking it apart, but backwards, and see if the issue still persists.
If it does, you should consider putting away your tools and taking your car to a professional auto shop. The mechanics are highly experienced in differential repair.