How to Tell If Spider Gears Are Bad

by Michael E Carpenter
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Spider gears are responsible for the rear wheels of a vehicle to turn at different speeds, which allows for making turns smooth instead of in a jerking motion. The gears are part of the differential which is attached to the drive shaft of the vehicle. There are many signs of a spider gear beginning to age and requiring replacement. If you are not familiar in working with vehicle differentials, contact a trusted auto repair store to have the gears inspected.

Step 1

Listen for "chatter" from the axle while driving. The sound can either be a grinding or popping noise. These sounds are most pronounced during turns when the spider gears are turning the axles at different speeds. As the gears get more worn this may also be present while driving straight.

Step 2

Inspect the inside of the differential for metal shavings. While there will be a fine dust of metal which is common, larger pieces may indicate the spider gears are falling apart. If left unchecked or unreplaced, the gears may destroy the differential completely.

Step 3

Inspect to see if the pinion is still rotating on the axle if the tire is not spinning while powered by the vehicle. The spider gears and possibly the entire differential will need to be replaced immediately as the damaged gears made the differential immobile.

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