What is the Difference Between Rear Differential Noise and Wheel Bearing Noise?

For many people who aren’t that car savvy, knowing what sounds your car makes won’t necessarily help you to diagnose the problem.

Sometimes, there are easy ones like when your brakes squeal, you know they probably need replacing. Or how if your car makes a “thud” sound when you put it into drive, you quite likely need a new transmission (or servicing of it at the very least).

Bad wheel bearings

However, with so many noises coming from your car, how do you know what sounds your vehicle makes is alerting you to? And how would you differentiate from something like wheel bearing noise to rear differential noise?

Wheel Bearing Noise Vs. Rear Differential Noise

For those that don’t have a common knowledge of the mechanics of vehicles, discerning whether or not you are experiencing a noise from your wheel bearing or your rear differential can be difficult. However, it is not impossible if you know what to listen for.

Signs Your Wheel Bearing is Bad Are:

bad wheel bearing
  • A noise that usually comes from one specific side of your vehicle, because it is being caused by one of your axles. It will likely sound much louder on one side than the other.
  • A noise that will get louder, or at least more pronounced as you increase your speed.
  • You will likely hear a grinding, humming, clanking, or whirring noise coming from your wheel(s).
  • You may also notice a clicking sound when turning corners. More specifically, you’ll notice it on one side and when turning in one specific direction.
  • You may also notice that your vehicle pulls to one side when braking.
  • You could also experience a vibration in your steering wheel while braking.
  • Your tires will have uneven wear on them (so be sure to check them).

Signs Your Rear Differential Is Bad Are:

Bad rear differential
  • A prominent howling, grinding, humming, or whining noise coming from the rear end of your vehicle.
  • Weird vibrations felt throughout your vehicle, not just in the steering wheel or when braking.
  • If you hear a noise with a steady pitch or intensity while steering at any speed, it could indicate an issue with the meshing of gears inside the car’s differential.
  • One of the first signs you may notice (even before any noise) may be the loss of traction in your wheels, or a decrease in overall handling.
  • You may also notice that you are leaking differential fluid, or that it is low or dirtier than usual.
  • Increased tire wear (not necessarily uneven).

One of the biggest and most telling signs that your rear differential is bad is the distinct whining sound that usually accompanies a failing differential.

If you notice any combination of the above issues, get your vehicle checked out by a local professional to ensure you aren’t left stranded on the side of the road.

Symptoms Your Wheel Bearings Are Bad

Every mechanical issue that a vehicle has throws out some kind of sign or symptom. We’ve given you a few ideas what to listen for when you may have a problem with your wheel bearing or rear differential, but here are some more specific symptoms to watch our for if you suspect your wheel bearing(s) are bad.

Symptoms of a Bad Wheel Bearing:

  • Squealing
  • Grinding
  • A growling-like sound
  • Clicking (especially when turning)
  • Wheel wobbling
  • ABS light comes on
  • ABS failure
  • Vehicle pulling to one side.
wheel bearing replacement

In some cases, replacing a wheel bearing is relatively cheap, but it entirely depends on the type of vehicle that you drive, the availability of parts, and the labour costs of your local mechanic.

When choosing a local mechanic, choose experienced people who price their labour costs fairly, like our friends at Kartek Automotive Services. 

What Does Your Rear Differential Do?

rear differential failing

Basically, a rear differential is what really makes your vehicle move. This very vital component of your vehicle is responsible for transmitting engine power to your wheels.

The mechanism created by the rear differential essentially decides what speed and frequency the axle should turn, and what rate the wheels should move based off of the driveshaft, which tells the rear differential what way you are turning so it can optimize the speed of your wheels.

Despite what you may think, your vehicle’s wheels do not move at the exact same rate while driving. As you turn a corner, climb a hill, or traverse a bumpy dirt road, you wheels move at different speeds to give you the best control. For instance, if you are turning right, the inside vehicle will move slower than the outside wheel, as it has less ground to cover.

How to Fix Differential Noise

Fixing rear-differential

The main way to eliminate rear differential noise is by replacing the differential. This is a common problem and one that costs thousands of dollars to repair. In fact, many of the scrap vehicles we buy are coming to us because they need a rear differential replacement.

The average cost to replace a rear differential in British Columbia is between $1500 and $4000. When you consider the fact that some of the only other repairs that are relative in price are engine or transmissions replacements, that should tell you how vital the rear differential is.

Other options beside replacing the differential include:

  • Adding a muffler to dampen the noise the rear differential is emitting
  • Try replacing the differential fluid (if you don’t in fact need a new differential)
  • Try replacing a pinion or a side seal (again, if you don’t need a new differential)
  • Rebuild the differential

In some cases, rebuilding the differential can be cheaper than replacing it. However, when your doing this kind of work on an aging vehicle, it is hardly practical to sink so much money into such a major repair.

If you have a scrap vehicle that needs a rear differential replacement, but don’t feel that it’s worth putting in the money to keep it on the road, call our scrap car removal team today. We always pay MORE cash for scrap cars that need a rear differential repair or replacement.

Cash for Cars with Mechanical Issues

cash for cars with mechanical issues

As the Lower Mainland’s top scrap car buying company, we pride ourselves on making the process of scrapping a car quick and easy. All while paying MORE cash for scrap cars than anyone else in Metro Vancouver or the Fraser Valley.

We love buying cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans than have major mechanical issues, electrical problems, or even collision damage. If you’ve experience collision damage due to a failed wheel bearing or rear differential, give us a call. We will offer you MORE cash for your collision damaged car than any other scrap car removal company in the Lower Mainland.

No matter how expensive of a repair your vehicle needs, we’ll buy it. We always have a huge demand for vehicles in any condition, with any ailment. Plus, we always pay MORE!

How Much Cash Can I Get for My Scrap Car?

scrap car removal

We make our instant cash offers based off of real time metal weight data, the overall condition of your vehicle, and any valuable parts or components that your vehicle may have. That’s why it’s important that we get all the details from your before making you a firm offer on your car.

Provide our scrap car removal team with the make, model, year, condition, and location of your vehicle. If you have added aftermarket parts or enhancements to your car, let us know that as well. Then, we will make you an instant cash offer right ov er the phone or through text.

If you accept our offer, we’ll arrange for our free towing service to come collect your car that very day. If you require a specific day and time, we are MORE than happy to accommodate that also.

Contact Our Scrap Car Removal Specialists Today

scrap car removal vancovuer

If you’d like to be on your way to putting MORE cash back in your pocket and get rid of that junk car that has a lengthy list of mechanical issues, collision damage, or anything in between, call our scrap car removal team today.

We are happy to answer any questions that you have about our scrap car removal process. Also, we will provide you with an instant cash offer right over the phone, so you can decide what you want to do with your junk car.

If you want prompt, professional, and reliable scrap car removal in Metro Vancouver or the Fraser Valley, call More Cash For Scrap today. We always pay MORE!

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About the Author: scrapcar

Since 2005, we've specialized in turning our customer's scrap cars into quick cash. We buy vehicles in ANY condition and with ANY issues. We pay MORE cash for scrap cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans than any other scrap car removal company in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island. If you want MORE cash, same day free junk car towing, and a reliable scrap car buying service, you want More Cash For Scrap.