Why a Limited Slip Differential Should Be a Top Priority for New Car Buyers

Published Date: 11th Mar 2023

Image of a Car Wheel SpinningWhen you're in the market for a new car, you'll encounter a lot of technical jargon and acronyms that can be confusing, especially if you're not an automotive enthusiast. One of the terms you might encounter is "limited slip differential" (LSD), and it's important to understand what it is and how it can affect your driving experience before making a purchase.

So, what is a limited-slip differential?

In simplest terms, a limited-slip differential is a type of differential that allows torque to be distributed more evenly between the wheels of a vehicle. A differential is a mechanism that allows the wheels on either side of an axle to rotate at different speeds, which is necessary when turning corners or navigating uneven terrain. An open differential, which is the most common type of differential found in most cars, allows one wheel to spin freely when it loses traction, which can result in loss of control and reduced performance.

A limited-slip differential, on the other hand, uses a series of clutches, gears, or other mechanisms to limit the amount of slip between the wheels, distributing power to the wheel with more traction. This improves stability, acceleration, and handling, especially when one wheel loses traction, such as when driving on wet or icy roads, gravel, or sand.

Why should you care about limited slip differentials when buying a new car?

While an open differential is sufficient for most everyday driving scenarios, a limited slip differential can make a significant difference in performance, safety, and driving experience, especially if you're an avid driver or plan to use your vehicle for off-road or high-performance purposes. Here are some reasons why you should consider a limited-slip differential when buying a new car:

Improved traction and stability

Image of a Tarmac RoadOne of the main benefits of a limited-slip differential is improved traction and stability, which can make a big difference in driving safety and performance. When one wheel loses traction, the LSD can transfer power to the other, providing better grip and reducing the risk of skidding or spinning out of control. This is especially important in slippery or uneven road conditions, such as snow, rain, mud, or gravel.

Better acceleration and handling

A limited-slip differential can also improve acceleration and handling, especially in high-performance or racing scenarios. By distributing power more evenly between the wheels, the LSD can improve grip and traction, allowing faster acceleration, smoother cornering, and better overall performance. This is why LSDs are commonly found in sports cars, muscle cars, and other performance vehicles.

Off-road capability

A limited-slip differential can be a game-changer if you plan to use your vehicle for off-road adventures. Off-road terrain can be unpredictable and challenging, with loose sand, rocks, mud, and steep inclines. A limited-slip differential can provide better traction and stability in these scenarios, allowing you to tackle obstacles and navigate rough terrain with more confidence and control.

Personal preference

Finally, some drivers prefer the feel and handling of a limited-slip differential over an open differential. LSDs can provide a more engaging and responsive driving experience with better feedback and control. If you're someone who enjoys driving and values performance, a limited-slip differential might be worth considering.

In conclusion, while a limited-slip differential might not be a crucial factor for everyone when buying a new car, it's worth understanding what it is and how it can affect your driving experience. If you value performance, safety, or off-road capability, a limited slip differential can make a big difference in how your car handles and performs. Be sure to do your research and consider your needs and preferences before making a decision.

When buying a new car from UK Car Discount, you should consider the safety advantages of a limited-slip differential in improving your driving experience.