Mercedes-Benz is a German automotive brand headquartered in Germany. Founded in 1926, Mercedes quickly made a name for themselves by producing exceptional vehicles with top-of-the-line parts and comfortable interiors. While the manufacturing process of these German automobiles has many rigorous steps, mistakes happen. These vehicles are subject to part failure just like any other car brand, especially when it comes to the differential system.
The Mercedes Differential System
All automobiles with 4-wheels are manufactured with a differential system. This system is designed to keep your vehicle stable and consistent while driving, specifically while making turns and curves.
The differential system is the main power source for communication between the engine to the wheels helping them to rotate differently at the same time. It is important to understand that no two differential systems are the same, even among the same brand of vehicle.
The Mercedes differential system is made up of many parts including:
- pinion gears
- an axle shaft
- ring gears
- side gears
- a flange
What is differential fluid?
Differential fluid is important in the continuation of a properly functioning differential system. This fluid reduces the amount of friction among the moving parts, specifically the gears, allowing them to rotate without causing damage.
When a differential fluid leak occurs, the gears begin grinding together from a lack of lubrication. This is accompanied by a whining or grinding sound audible to drivers.
Common Reasons Behind Differential Leaks in Your Mercedes
The differential system is made up of many parts including several gaskets and seals. When these parts begin to wear down, deteriorate, or experience damage they are no longer able to do their job properly resulting in differential fluid leaking out.
- Differential gasket: The differential gasket is responsible for sealing off around the differential housing unit. This part is typically made using a durable silicone or rubber material designed to withstand the weather and extreme temperature Over time, the differential gasket experiences normal wear leading to the deterioration of the gasket itself. When this occurs, the differential fluid is able to freely leak out to other areas of the vehicle.
- Differential pinion seal: Towards the front of the differential system, a yoke attaches to the driveshaft. The yoke is accompanied by a rubber seal to ensure the differential fluid is able to flow through the proper areas allowing for adequate gear lubrication. Over time, the seal becomes worn down and damaged leading to a fluid leak.
- Differential side seals: The side seals located within the differential system are responsible for preventing differential fluid from leaking out onto the brakes. These seals are manufactured using durable rubber. While this part is designed to last it is still subject to normal wear or damage resulting in a leak of differential fluid.
Common Warning Signs of Differential Problems
If your Mercedes-Benz is experiencing a differential fluid leak, there are a few tell-tale signs that will alert drivers to a problem including:
- dirty gear oil
- vibrations as you speed up
- Strange noises such as whining or grinding
A differential fluid leak is not something to ignore. When this type of leak goes untreated it can lead to damage to wheel bearings, suspension problems, misaligned wheels, and premature tire wear. Mercedes prides themselves in manufacturing their vehicles with “lifetime” differential fluid. While they might say this fluid is designed to last as long as your vehicle, as your gears grind, small metal shavings are left behind in the differential fluid making it dirty and less effective. You would not expect engine oil to last a lifetime, so why would the differential fluid?
The Benz Shop for the Longevity of Your Mercedes
At The Benz Shop, we offer affordable dealer alternative services to Mercedes-Benz drivers in and near Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Chandler, and Paradise Valley, AZ.
Our service technicians all have graduated from the Universal Technical Institute (UTI), have extensive factory training, and Luxury Motor Vehicle (LMV) training. We focus specifically on Mercedes vehicles and Sprinter vans in order to provide our customers with the most up-to-date standards available. Our team uses factory-grade tools and equipment to diagnose, service, and repair all vehicles. In doing so, we are able to offer dealer quality services at a fraction of the cost. Call us today to schedule a convenient appointment.
* Mercedes-Benz Car image credit goes to: kurmyshov.