Your vehicle’s driveshaft is a primary component of your vehicle’s drive train that helps it drive. In this month’s blog post, we explain what a driveshaft is, what can go wrong with it, and how to recognize the symptoms of driveshaft issues. We also consider if it makes sense to repair or replace the driveshaft when it has failed.
What is a Driveshaft?
A vehicle driveshaft is a component that transfers torque and rotation from the engine to the wheels. It is also known as a propeller shaft or a Cardan shaft. Depending on the type of vehicle, the driveshaft may connect the transmission to the differential, or the differential to the wheels.
The main function of the driveshaft is to transmit the torque of the engine from the differential or gearbox to the vehicle wheels. It also compensates for any changes in angle or length caused by suspension or steering movements.
What Can Go Wrong With a Driveshaft?
A driveshaft can fail due to various reasons, such as:
- Wear and tear of the universal joints, bearings, yokes, or splines
- Damage from road debris, corrosion, or impact
- Misalignment or imbalance of the shaft or its components
- Excessive torque or speed that exceeds the capacity of the shaft or its components
Symptoms of Driveshaft Issues
When your driveshaft has problems, or is failing, you may experience some or all of the symptoms below:
- Vibrations or shuddering from under the vehicle
- Clunking, rattling, or squeaking noises from under the vehicle
- Difficulty turning or steering
- Loss of power or acceleration
- Leaking of transmission fluid or differential oil
Repair or Replace?
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should have your driveshaft inspected by a service professional as soon as possible. Depending on the extent and location of the damage, you may need to repair or replace some or all the driveshaft components. Repairing a driveshaft may involve replacing worn or damaged parts, lubricating joints and bearings, balancing and aligning the shaft, or welding cracks or holes. Replacing a driveshaft may involve installing a new or remanufactured shaft or its sections.
The cost of repairing or replacing a driveshaft can vary depending on the type and model of your vehicle, the availability and quality of parts, and the labor charges. According to some estimates, repairing a driveshaft can cost between $200 and $400, while replacing a driveshaft can cost close to $1000. However, these are only rough figures and may not reflect your specific situation.
The decision to repair or replace your driveshaft depends on several factors, such as:
- The severity and frequency of the symptoms
- The age and condition of your vehicle
- The warranty and service history of your vehicle
- The expected lifespan and performance of your driveshaft
- The budget and preference of you as the owner
In general, it is advisable to repair your driveshaft if:
- The damage is minor and localized
- The repair cost is significantly lower than the replacement cost
- The repair can restore the original function and quality of your driveshaft
On the other hand, it is advisable to replace your driveshaft if:
- The damage is extensive and widespread
- The repair cost is close to or higher than the replacement cost
- The repair cannot guarantee the safety and reliability of your driveshaft
A vehicle driveshaft is an important component that transfers torque and rotation from the engine to the wheels. It can fail due to various reasons, such as wear and tear, damage, misalignment, or excessive torque. If you notice any symptoms of a bad or failing driveshaft, you should have it checked by a service professional as soon as possible.
Depending on your situation, you may need to repair or replace some or all of your driveshaft components. By doing so, you can ensure optimal performance and safety of your vehicle. If you would like to have your driveshaft inspected, contact the service professionals at Best Western Transmissions.