drive-train-system A driveshaft is the cylindrical shaft that transmits the torque from the engine to the wheels. They are most commonly found on rear wheel drive vehicles, and connect the rear of the transmission to the driveshaft. As the output shaft of the transmission rotates it spins the driveshaft, which then turns the differential ring gear to rotate the wheels.

It’s most common to find drive-shaft u-joints on rear wheel drive automobiles. You may also find them driving the front wheels on 4×4 trucks and some all wheel drive car models. In the norm, a drive shaft will begin to fail gradually, rather than just ceasing to work in a single instance.

There are various signs and symptoms of drive shaft problems.

Vibrations or Shaking
Damage to the drive shaft will cause a vehicle to shake or tremble, and this vibration will only get worse the faster a vehicle is moving. While vibrations in a vehicle can also occur as a result of a tire problem, tire issues usually become manifest during acceleration.

It could feel like your entire car is shaking, or just a certain portion could be vibrating because of drive shaft problems. A typical area that shakes a lot is the floorboards. A specific sign that the drive shaft is causing problems instead of another part of the car is when the car vibrates while moving or while it’s not moving. The vibration may get a lot worse when you drive at faster speeds.

Noise
Your drive shaft will often emit a variety of noises if in poor condition, and again these sounds will grow louder when you are traveling at a higher speed. In fact, very fast driving may actually result in a noisy drive shaft becoming totally silent. In this case the problem frequently lies within the joint behind the drive shaft and U-joint.

Problems Handling
Your vehicle’s wheels won’t necessarily move properly if the drive shaft is damaged. This will often become especially apparent when you are cornering in a vehicle, and you may feel resistance when you’re trying to carry out a turn on the road as well.

Because tight maneuvering is vital when you’re parking a deficient drive shaft can become very apparent here. Getting into a tight space is already difficult, but if the wheels on your vehicle don’t seem to be responding as they should, it could be the case that your drive shaft is at fault.

Visible Wear & Tear
A road test is just the first step in confirming a problem with the drive-shaft. It’s easier to examine the parts with the vehicle up on a lift. When you inspect the universal, if you see grease leaking out of the end caps, it’s a sure sign of a problem.

With the vehicle raised in the air and the transmission placed in neutral you can usually grab the drive shaft and rotate it to spin the rear wheels. Moving it a half turns up and back in either direction is a good way to inspect for looseness or free play. It should have no noticeable play when moving up and back as described.

u-joint

Could it be the Universal Joint?
Universal joints (U-Joint) are components of the driveshaft assembly fitted to most rear-wheel drive trucks, four-wheel drive trucks and SUVs, or off-road vehicles. U-joints, which are found in pairs on the driveshaft, handle the misalignment between the transmission and the rear axle, all the while transferring power to move the vehicle. This allows each end of the driveshaft, and its associated universal joint, to bend with each rotation of the drive shaft in order to handle the misalignment.

One of the most common symptoms of developing u-joint problems is hearing a clunk while shifting the transmission into gear. A badly damaged universal joint will make a racket when shifting from reverse to drive.

Although this clunk can be caused by other problems it may be a sign of excessive clearance in the u-joints. When a drive shaft flexible joint is on its way out it might make a squeak sound at lower speeds.

Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Centers Help Keep You On the Road
A faulty or bad drive shaft can be dangerous and should be replaced as soon as possible. If a problem is found early enough, the repair costs could potentially be lower.

Our certified technicians at Sierra Car Care are equipped to complete a full range of auto repairs to keep your car in top running condition. We pride ourselves on providing preventative maintenance Reno, NV auto repair services including oil changes, brake replacement and many other Reno, NV auto repair services at affordable prices.

For auto repair and tires give us a call at (775) 525-2420 or contact us online to get a free quote.

 

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