The Definitive Guide To Drive Shaft In 2021

  03 Sep 2021

The Definitive Guide To Drive Shaft In 2021

This is the ultimate guide to drive shaft in 2021 that answers all your questions about drive shafts. — on how a drive shaft works, how it is important to your car, the warning signs of a failing shaft, as well as its replacement tips.


According Wikipedia, a drive shaft (or known as the propeller shaft or prop shaft) is served as a ‘medium’ that used to connect other components in a drive train that cannot be connected directly and is important for transferring torque (a rotational power generated by the crankshaft) from the engine to all the drive wheels to get your car moving forward.

Therefore, it is crucial to have your cars equipped with a well-functioning drive shaft for vibration- and worry-free driving experience. So, if you are a car enthusiast, you’ll really enjoy the tips in this new guide. 

Let’s dive right in.


What Is A Drive Shaft

A drive shaft is essentially the shaft that drives your vehicle.

To put it in simple terms, it is a rod-like component that transfers power from the gearbox to the wheels in order to move your vehicle.


What Does A Drive Shaft Do?

In technical terms, drive shafts are used to transfer torque between vehicle components that are separated by a distance, since different components must be in different locations in a vehicle.

Driveshafts are used differently in different vehicles, it varies greatly for front-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive. Other vehicles like motorcycles, locomotives, and marine vessels also utilize drive shafts.

Let’s take a closer look on this video here by Autodata Training on how exactly a drive shaft works to transfer engine torque to the wheels, to drive your cars forward!


How To Spot A Failing Drive Shaft?

At most of the time, external influences such as impact damage and improper service are the only reason a drive shaft might suffer from improper balance.

Noises and vibrations are the main symptoms of a failing drive shaft. If your vehicle is experiencing these signs as below, you should get it checked ASAP at a mechanic.

1. Clicking or Squeaking Noise

Abnormal noise is a significant sign of a worn drive shaft. You can either hear a clicking, squeaking or grinding noises coming from underneath the vehicle when you are driving. While all of these could be because of the faulty bearings or bushings — that were supposed to be used to support the drive shaft and U-joints for normal operation. So, if they start to wear out, they could affect the drive shaft’s ability to rotate normally and you can expect the drive shaft to start making a lot of strange noises.

Sometimes, if you are hearing a squeaking noise at low speeds, it can be an indicator that your U-joints need some lubrication.

So, when you start noticing this warning sign, it means that you definitely need a drive shaft replacement or schedule an appointment with professional technicians.


2. Clunking Sounds

If you hear a loud clunking noise when you are turning your vehicle, accelerating or reversing, then this could mean another sign of drive shaft damage — that is usually produced by a worn u-joint. A bad U-joint can sometimes cause vibration at certain speeds, either coming from the center or rear of your vehicle.


Let’s take a closer look at how the above-mentioned noises would be of a bad drive shaft.


3. Intense Vibration When You’re Driving At High Speeds

An early and common sign that you may have a failing drive shaft is the uncomfortable vibration coming from underneath the vehicle every time you accelerate.


Let’s take a closer look at the vibration at speed of 60 km/h.


In most cases, the vibrations are mainly because of the coupling, bearing, bushing or U-joint begins to wear.

Driveshafts are finely balanced before installation to ensure that they do not vibrate. So, any sort of vibration is an indication that there is an issue. A broken drive shaft will not only cause vibrations that can be felt by the passengers, if it is left unattended, the situation can be deteriorated by having other components in a drive train being damaged.


4. Difficulty in Turning the Wheel

A bent drive shaft can prevent your wheels from turning properly, giving you trouble when trying to make turns, which will then limit your overall control of the vehicle, both during slow and high-speed drives.

Any issue that limits your turning ability needs to be addressed immediately to ensure a safe driving experience.


So, if you’re familiar with car parts, you can perform a visual inspection of the entire driveshaft to look for obvious problems, such as dents in the driveshaft tube. You can also check for undercoating or excessive mud as it can upset the balance of the drive shafts.


Replacement & Selection Tips

You can either consider replacing the drive shaft yourself or send it to professional mechanics for replacement. However, you do need to weigh up the pros and cons of getting help where necessary if you are to attempt any work yourself.

If you’re handy and want to give it a try, here’s a great video that will give you an idea of how to replace a broken shaft.


On the other hand, if you are looking to buy from local auto parts supplier and send to professional mechanics for the replacement, do make sure their shafts pass the following quality assurance tests, including:

• Material & mechanical performance inspection

• OEM carbon steel forging

• Heat treatment

• Dimension precision & measurement accuracy

Recommendations from local repair shops and experienced mechanics, as well as the after-sales warranty, are also one of the important factors that you need to consider before purchasing.


The Bottom Line

So, today we have discussed about what a drive shaft is, how it works, symptoms of a bad drive shaft, its replacement and selection tips. By now, you should be able to identify the signs of a faulty shaft and make sure you get it repaired as soon as possible before the situation worsens.

We hope you enjoy this guide! For more car care tips and advice, be sure to come back to Saiko blog soon.

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