Signs of A Failing Driveshaft
A drive shaft is a rod-like component that transmits torque from your vehicle’s engine to the wheels. It’s essentially the shaft that drives your vehicle. The driveshaft transmits torque at varying angles between driveline components. It’s important that the shaft assembly is flexible because drivetrain axles vibrate up and down and move laterally with braking and acceleration. The driveshaft assembly comprises of; the propeller shaft, universal joints, slip splines and yokes.
HOW DOES THE DRIVESHAFT WORK?
It’s important to note that front-wheel drive vehicles don’t have driven shafts. The transmission and axle are combined into a single unit called a transaxle. However, in four wheel and rear wheel drive vehicles the transmission and axle are separate units. Hence the driveshaft which transfers the turning motion of the transmission to the axle.
This component has a tubular design and is usually made from aluminum, steel or carbon fibre to ensure its both strong and lightweight.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DRIVETRAINS?
The type of vehicle you drive dictates what kind of drivetrain system is in your vehicle. There are different systems for rear-wheel drive, four-wheel drive and front-wheel drive vehicles.
REAR-WHEEL DRIVE (RWD)
In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the rear wheels deliver the power. A long driveshaft is connected to the transmission on one end and the differential on the other end by universal joints.
FOUR-WHEEL (4WD) OR ALL-WHEEL DRIVE (AWD)
On a typical four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle, there are two driveshaft’s. There is the same driveshaft that is on a rear-wheel drive car but there is also an additional front driveshaft that is connected to the front differential and the transfer case by u-joints.
FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE (FWD)
On a front-wheel drive vehicle, the front wheels provide the power. Instead of having a long driveshaft like on a rear-wheel vehicle, all the drivetrain components are in the front of the vehicle. Rather than using universal joints, this setup uses constant velocity (CV) joints.
SOME COMMON SIGNS OF A FAILING DRIVESHAFT
It’s important to note that the driveshaft by itself rarely fails. However, due to excessive stress and corrosion it will eventually exhibit signs of failure.
- INTENSE VIBRATIONS AND SHUDDERING
Vibrations and shuddering are the most common sign of a failing driveshaft. If the bushings or U-joint wear out, you can experience excessive driveshaft vibration. This may also result from the driveshaft not being bolted down properly or the unit being out of balance. A driveshaft that’s vibrating excessively can also cause the wearing of other drivetrain components.
- UNUSUAL NOISES
Unusual noises are another indicator of a worn drive shaft. If the bearings and bushings that support the driveshaft and U-joints fail or get worn they affect the driveshaft’s ability to rotate normally. When this happens, you will experience scraping, squeaking, clanking and rattling sounds.
- SHUDDERING DURING ACCELERATION
Are you experiencing a significant amount of shuddering as you accelerate from low speed or a stop position? This is another key sign of failing driveshaft components. A worn centre bearing or loose U-joint may cause this. You may also experience some strange sounds as your vehicle shudders. It’s important that you have this checked out as soon as possible.
- TURNING PROBLEMS
Problems with turning the vehicle is another likely sign of a bad driveshaft. A broken driveshaft can prevent wheels from turning properly, giving you trouble when trying to make turns. This issue limits your overall control of the car. You need any issues that prevent you from driving the car correctly addressed right away for safe driving and continued use of the vehicle.
Driveshaft’s are a core component of your vehicle’s drivetrain. Any issues with them greatly compromise the drivability and performance of your vehicle.
Addressing your driveshaft issues promptly is crucial. If you experience any of the mentioned signs or If you need driveshaft and other auto repair services, it’s imperative that schedule an appointment at workshop to have your vehicle inspected by professional technicians.