The Differences Between Positraction & Limited Slip

by Mona Prestenbach
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Positraction and limited-slip are both types of automotive differentials. Differentials are located in the center of the front axle, center of the rear axle or, in some cases, both.


Differentials are designed to assist tires in turning at different speeds. When making a turn, one tire has to turn sharper than the other on the same axle to complete the turn. The differential compensates for the differences in the tire angle during the turn. This allows the tire to maintain power through the turn.


In a positraction differential, the unit senses which wheel has the greatest traction, when one tire is slipping or stuck, and sends power to that wheel. Power to the other wheel continues until equal control is returned to both tires. Positraction is beneficial when road conditions are wet or muddy.


The limited-slip differential is similar to the positraction differential, but allows the wheel with traction to have only a limited amount of greater power than the wheel that is slipping. This is beneficial in hard-corner turning. A limited-slip differential will prevent the tire with less traction from separately spinning.

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