Power produced from the engine travels through the gearbox to the differential. The power travels as torque through the differential and out to the driving wheels. A differential is a gearing system which allows the two wheels, on the opposite sides of the car, to move at different speeds as the car goes around corners. It’s a pretty smart piece of engineering, really. For a more in-depth description of a differential, make sure you look at this glossary’s term for: differential.
What a limited slip differential adds to the basic differential and the overall motor vehicle dynamics is greater controlled measure of traction across a larger range of driving conditions. Ultimately, a limited slip differential mechanism will direct the torque flow along the axle to the driving wheel that has greater traction. Without a limited slip differential, an unrestricted differential will always receive the power from the engine and give this power, as “torque”, to the driving wheel that has the least traction. The maximum level of forward velocity (or rearward when moving backwards) is lost when a driving wheel loses traction. The vehicle’s speed slows down until traction is regained, or worse, the vehicle becomes stuck and won’t go anywhere.
The limited slip differential was designed so that should one driving wheel attempt to rotate appreciably faster than the other (e.g. when one wheel is spinning in mud), the limited slip differential would engage to reduce the difference in rotating speeds of the driving wheels. Maximum levels of traction can be attained, and progress can continue safely and with minimal interruption as a result.
Needless to say, many motor vehicle manufacturers feature a limited slip differential in their model line-ups.We hope that helps answer the question ‘What is What is Limited Slip Differential?’!
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