Car Tech 101: Limited-slip differentials explained


Your car's drivetrain would be about as sophisticated as a garden cart if it didn't have some sort of differential. And increasingly, automakers are touting their use of the limited-slip variant. Brian Cooley shows you.


  1. Great explanation – “Some kind of technology…” And using the terms
    “torque” and “power” interchangeably? Quite a disappointment after the
    1930’s Chevy videos.

  2. Could somebody please explain the advantages and disadvantages of taking a
    low speed corner (perhaps 25mph), a medium speed corner (perhaps 50mph),
    and a high speed corner (perhaps 100mph) on high-friction flat pavement
    (like in a track) in a RWD car – while attempting to follow the racing line
    – using 5 different types of differentials: open, viscous, gear, clutch,
    and locked?

    • Limited slip differentials are active during acceleration and deceleration
      (1 way vs 1.5 way vs 2 way) For LSD your question would have to be
      something like how do these diff differ when accelerating and decelerating
      in and out of corners

  3. This is incorrect and an often repeated mistake. All of the power does not
    flow to the spinning wheels in an open differential. The spinning wheel
    merely limits the amount of torque that can be put down on the other side
    with grip. The power split is always 50/50.

  4. Which differential is the best for auto-x and track racing. Which will give
    the best handling and make attacking at a corner with higher speed?


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