You probably hear about differentials in the context of automobiles, but did you know that they are also found on some brush mowers and other power equipment? A differential allows the wheels of a vehicle (or mower in this case) to turn at different speeds, independently of one another. Think about when you turn a corner with a wheeled vehicle — the wheels on the outside of the curve have to turn a lot faster than the wheels on the inside. In the absence of a differential, the outside wheels will often skid along the ground to keep up. This not only makes maneuvering the vehicle harder, but wreaks havoc with your tires. With a differential, each wheel can turn at the speed it needs to in order to cover the required distance, and steering becomes a whole lot easier.
So, what’s a locking differential?
A locking differential adds another level of versatility to the mix. A locking differential can be locked in so that the wheels do have to turn at the same speed, or locked out so that they turn independently, as described above. With power equipment, this is an important feature because each has its benefits on different types of terrain.
Why give a brush mower a locking differential?
With the differential locked in, a brush mower or walk-behind brush cutter has more traction. This makes it better for soft, muddy ground or on hills, but also makes turning corners more difficult. With the differential locked out, turning corners and avoiding obstacles is much easier on the operator, but you get slightly less traction. On the DR Field and Brush Mower, for example, locking the differential in and out is quick and easy and can be done right in the field, without tools, as you’re working. It’s an easy and effective way to make sure your machine is optimized for the terrain you’re tackling.
Have a DR? Here’s how to lock your differential in and out:
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