What is a Limited-Slip Differential and How does it work?

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Limited-Slip Differential:

A limited-slip differential (LSD) is a computer that’s attached to a vehicle’s drive axle. It prevents traction loss and optimizes power distribution when needed. During normal operation, the wheels are allowed to spin at different rates. But when one wheel requires extra power or traction, it can transfer torque to its wheel.


How does it work:

To understand how an LSD works, it helps to match it to other differential types. An open differential allows wheels to spin independently of every other. A locked differential keeps them spinning together at an identical rate. A limited-slip differential is sort of a marriage of the 2.

In normal driving conditions, and LSD allows the vehicle to control as an open differential. When more grip for one wheel is required, it functions more sort of a locked differential. By adding pressure to the side of the axle with less grip, the wheels are closer to being locked together (though typically not 100% locked). This implies they won’t be able to spin at drastically different rates. In turn, this enables the wheel with more traction to place torque right down to the bottom.

The limited-slip differential changes the balance of power to the 2 drive wheels, limiting wheel slip. When driving, this may allow cornering without the loss of control and further wear caused by a slipping tire.

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