Why Do Limited-Slip Differentials Make Such A Big Difference?


This complex piece of technology has only one job but makes a world of difference.

The words of the late, great, and gone too soon Robin Williams fit perfectly when trying to break down mechanical concepts that we know make a difference in our cars but can't quite wrap our heads around it. When playing the role of Sean in Goodwill Hunting, Williams says, "I teach this shit, I didn't say I know how to do it." Yeah buddy, we can relate. Especially when it comes to complex systems like the limited-slip differential.

On the specs sheet of our most favorite of cars, we love to spot the LSD listed as a feature because it helps deal with the corners more quickly. But how exactly does it work? Thankfully Autocar has a mini series explaining car components and covers everything, from A to Z, of the car world.

Like many cutting-edge pieces of car tech, the LSD was first developed for Formula 1 racing where its benefits were quickly realized and applied where they could be used best. Its basic job is to help the car put down power during a corner to avoid having too much or too little power going to the inside or outside wheel. The added traction helps in many vehicular arenas, from the off-road course to the race track, simply because it allows for the most efficient use of power. Whether electric or mechanical, pay attention to how these work for the next time someone questions your gearhead credentials.

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