Q: Differential noise

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Hi, I have a Ford f150 and I noticed a grinding coming from the rear differential. Is it safe to keep on using the truck or there is some risk of accident due to this? For example if the vehicle stalls while running. I asked and someone said that there would not be any traction but I would not lose control. Is there risk of damaging more parts by running the vehicle without repair? Thanks

My car has 38000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

You first want to be sure it is really the differential failing as rear axle wheel bearings can also fail and make similar noises. If it is the differential, unfortunately the only option is to remove it and rebuild it. If you intend to rebuild what you have, every day that you continue driving the truck with a defective differential adds to the risk that it won’t be rebuildable and/or will need additional parts due to accumulating and expanding damage. Were the differential to seize the consequences (to life and limb) range from non-existent if the seizure occurs in a parking lot to catastrophic if the failure occurs at high speed on a roadway where there is limited opportunity for roll off to a safe area well outside of a travel lane. If you want the noise evaluated, particularly just in case it turns out to be wheel bearings, request a vehicle noise diagnostic. If you already have confirmed that you need a new differential/rear axle, YourMechanic professionals in certain locales can assist with that. Please simply inquire based on your locale. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic.

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