What is Lapping and Why is it Useful for Your Car?

Most of us know the basics of our favourite automotive, but once an expert brings out the jargon dictionary and starts rifling through it for explanations, the THIS WAY TO EXPLANATION sign gets lost in a bunch of mumbo jumbo none of us understand. Lapping can refer to many things, a couple of dirty and unrelated to your reliable sedan, and the others are relevant by degrees; lapping, as in hot laps, or lapping, represented by the automotive differential. An automotive what-what? It’s this obscure practice that we’ll be tackling, driving into the details full throttle. Ready to go? Expand your vehicle vocabulary.

What Is Lapping?

Quite simply, automotive lapping is a maintenance or repair procedure that runs two gear surfaces together by rigging up a crown-wheel and pinion on a lapping machine, simulating the movement of a differential. The gears are lubricated by carborundum abrasive powder and oil. The operator assesses the wear pattern, setting the machine to respond and reduce the inconsistencies in contact points. It’s an intensive process, these differences must be fixed by maintaining the correct angles on gear profile, repairing the affected contacted area. The result? The worn edges are grounded down, engineering a smooth gear change.

Why Would I Lap My Gears?

It’s difficult to pin-point a moment or a series of events that indicate it’s time to make an appointment with a local diff lapping expert, so make sure to ask your mechanic during a maintenance check. With that cautionary note out of the way, there are a few reasons why your gears might need a bit of extra TLC. Let’s start with basic breaks and disrepair or incorrect assembly. That sounds reasonable, so let’s move onto you driving habits? How hard are you on your gears? Do you drive in challenging conditions and neglect to treat your car for dust and dirt build up? Are you driving an old reliable? There’s no right or wrong answers here, but wear and tear will beat your diff into submission at least once in your ownership round.

Can All Gear Types Be Lapped?

So can all gear types be lapped? Certainly, but not every service provider has the ability to lap every variation. You might need to shop around. How do you pick a reputable business? An expert lapping service will be able to repair hypoid and spiral bevel gears, maintaining a variety of mountings. Lapping can only take place your chosen operator discerns that the process will benefit the gear set, restoring it to working order – though there are desperate cases and broken teeth can be re-attached, if a gearset is beyond repair, it’s beyond repair. No amount of money or automotive massage will change that. Best idea? Cut your losses, invest in a new gearset or trade up to a fresh ride, complete with a safety certificate.

Do you have any stories of lappings gone right or wrong? Any recommendations you’d like to share with your fellow internet readers? Let us know in the comments and stay safe on the roads this summer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *