The Differential Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Usually, differentials are where a car's power makes its last stop before spinning the wheels. They also enable those wheels to rotate at different speeds. Find out how well your wheels are spinning with the differential quiz.

What does the differential split?

By splitting the engine torque two ways, the differential allows each output to spin at a different speed.


How many differentials do all-wheel-drive vehicles need?

All-wheel-drive vehicles need a differential between each set of drive wheels as well as between the front and back wheels -- a total of three differentials.


What type of differential always applies the same amount of torque to each wheel?

Open differentials, the simplest type, apply the same amount of torque to each wheel.


When might an open differential be a problem?

Driving cars off-road or on ice can be difficult with an open differential.


When a wheel slips, what type of differential allows more torque to be transferred to the non-slipping wheel?

Limited slip differentials use various mechanisms to allow normal differential action when going around turns.


A locking differential is useful for what type of vehicle?

Useful for serious off-road vehicles, the locking differential has a switch that can be activated to make both wheels spin at the same speed.


What does viscous coupling usually link in a vehicle?

Viscous coupling is often found in all-wheel-drive vehicles and is commonly used to link the back wheels to the front wheels so that when one set of wheels starts to slip, torque will be transferred to the other set.


Distance traveled divided by the time it takes to travel that distance equals:

Since speed is equal to the distance traveled divided by the time it takes to go that distance, the wheels that travel a shorter distance travel at a lower speed. Also note that the front wheels travel a different distance than the rear wheels.


Which of the following is one of the jobs of the differential?

Along with aiming the engine power at the wheels, the differential acts as the vehicle's final gear reduction and allows the wheels to rotate at different speeds.


Why do part-time four-wheel-drive systems have a hard time turning on concrete when the four-wheel-drive is engaged?

The front and rear wheels of a part-time four-wheel-drive don't have a differential between them; instead, they're locked together and forced to turn at the same average speed.


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