A Drive Shaft, also called a propeller shaft, connects a vehicle’s transmission to the differential. As far as propulsion systems go, the driveshaft has a pretty simple purpose: transmit torque between the engine/transmission system and the wheels.
Drive shaft rotation energy is transferred to the wheels through a gear system housed in the differential. Barring a catastrophic mechanical failure or excessive vibration, drive shafts require little maintenance or repair.
There are many part of a vehicle that can go wrong, remain unnoticed, and not cause any serious damage. However, the axle is not one of them. When this component goes, there can be serious damage that immediately begins to take place.
The repairs to correct such damage can cost thousands of dollars to correct, making it vital that every driver know how to recognize the signs of this failing part. This part is a major component of your vehicle, playing a vital role in steering, braking, and driving in general.
It does all of this by transferring the power of the engine from your transmission to to the drive train and wheels. Once this function fails, it requires immediate attention.
There are several simple ways to tell if your axle is damaged or broken. One clear indicator of a problem is when you hear a mechanical clunk or heavy sputter when you initially put the car into gear.
Another good indicator of this type of problem can be felt when the car is carefully driven down the road and turned to the left or to the right. Rumbling when turning or driving slowly in addition to vibrations when you begin to accelerate can indicate that an axle is wearing down or on the verge of braking.
Although, serious rumbles and mechanical noises felt when turning can also indicate problems with the CV axle or CV joint. These components work integrally with your drive wheels and axle as you turn to allow you to maintain power. When the CV axle and CV joint fail, the problem is just as serious, often resulting in a clicking noise when turning as well.
There are many reasons that this part of your vehicle can fail. In many instances, it is simply wear and tear that will do the damage. However, overloading the vehicle is a very common reason for this component to fail.
Other components in the car that are not up to par such as a bad carrier barrier bearing can cause problems. Additionally, a serious jolt on the road has the potential to cause problems.
The most important thing to remember in this regard is that you should immediately stop driving the car once this part is completely broken, and have repairs done right away. Failing to do this will lead to damage to the universal joint and complete immobility.