How Differential Works?

The power from the engine is transferred to the ring gear through a pinion gear. The ring gear is connected to a spider gear, which is at the heart of the differential system. The spider gear is free to rotate in two different ways, one along with the ring gear and two on its own axis.

The spider gear meshes with two side gears, so power from the engine flows from the pinion to the left and right wheels. Let’s consider some cases.

The vehicle moves straight: In this case, spider gear rotates along with the ring gear but it does not rotate on its own axis. Spider gear will push and make the side gears turn, and both will turn at the same speed.

The vehicle is taking a turn: Spider gear plays an important role here. Along with the rotation of the ring gear, it rotates on its own axis. So the spider gear is having a combined rotation.

When properly meshed side gear should have the same peripheral velocity as that of the spider gear. When the spider gear is spinning as well as rotating, peripheral velocity as the left side of spider gear is the sum of spinning and rotational velocities.

But on the right side, it is a difference between the two. Or left side gear will have higher speed compared to the right side gear. This is how the differential manages to turn the left and right wheels at different speeds.