The drivetrain serves two functions: it transfers power evenly from the engine to all drive wheels and it varies the amount of torque. The drivetrain may include the differential, a transfer case (in four-wheel and all-wheel drive cars) and the transmission (see Transmission Services).
The differential is a special gear box located between the drive wheels of your vehicle. It allows the drive wheels to turn at different speeds, as they must when turning a corner. Over time, high operating temperatures can cause the lubricating fluid in the differential to break down, developing a gummy texture that doesn’t properly lubricate the gears. Replacing the fluid can help you avoid premature wear on the gears in the differential, and can even help reduce wear on drive-wheel tires.
The old differential fluid is removed and replaced with new lubricating fluid based on your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. Learn more about Differential Service in How Cars Work.
The transfer case is a special gear box found in four-wheel and all-wheel-drive vehicles. It sends drive power from the engine to the front and rear axles. In all-wheel-drive vehicles, the transfer case helps to shift power from one axle to another.