Your car’s driveshaft is responsible for transmitting engine torque to the wheels so the vehicle can move. If you start to have problems with the driveshaft, it can cause running problems. Learning the symptoms of a bad driveshaft will ensure that every ride is smooth and safe.
We discuss ways you can tell your driveshaft is damaged. We also look at the function, location, and cost of replacing a failed driveshaft. Let’s start with a quick look at the signs:
5 Bad Driveshaft Symptoms
The most common symptom of a bad driveshaft is vibration at high speeds or when accelerating. You may also notice various noises coming from the transmission.
The main symptoms of a bad or defective driveshaft include:
- clicking noises
- Squeaking, clicking, or knocking sounds
- Chills during acceleration
- Difficulty turning
Here is a more detailed list of the symptoms of a bad driveshaft:
When the driveshaft begins to fail, it is common to feel vibrations. Over time, this vibration could worsen.
Sometimes vibration is caused by faulty universal joints or bushings. Other times it could be related to the driveshaft not being properly bolted into place or if it is out of balance. Allowing the transmission to continue to vibrate will cause damage to other vital components.
If you hear clicking noises, it could be a sign that there is a problem with the driveshaft. You may notice this type of sound more often when shifting gears.
In some cases, the rattle may simply be a worn U-joint. Whatever the cause, you should always get it checked out.
Squeaking, clicking, or knocking sounds
There are other sounds that a faulty transmission can make. When the bushings and bearings begin to deteriorate, the driveshaft has trouble rotating normally. This causes a large number of sounds that can be heard from your vehicle.
For example, a grinding noise when traveling at low speed may indicate that the universal joint is not sufficiently lubricated. It’s an easy solution that only requires a little grease. However, you may also notice a tapping or clicking noise. These sounds indicate that the CV joint is worn and about to fail.
Chills during acceleration
Although we have talked about some vibrations, the issue of shaking is much more noticeable. When accelerating from a stop or increasing speed, you may notice a significant increase in vibration when the transmission is faulty.
Sometimes this is caused by a loose U-joint or a worn center bearing. It could also be accompanied by some of the sounds we talked about earlier.
Although the driveshaft is responsible for converting torque into motion, it also affects the cornering of your vehicle. If you have trouble turning, it could be a sign that the driveshaft is coming off.
When the driveshaft is damaged, the wheels cannot turn properly, limiting your control over the car. Because this is a serious security issue, you will want it investigated immediately.
The function of a drive shaft.
The driveshaft converts torque from our car’s engine into motion that drives the wheels. It is a rod-like part that basically powers your car. It is responsible for transmitting torque at different angles between different parts of the transmission.
The axle assembly itself is flexible, so the axles can move up and down with lateral movement when accelerating and braking. Most driveshaft assemblies include yokes, sliding splines, universal joints, a driveshaft, and several bearings.
A traditional driveshaft can only be found on rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models. With a front-wheel drive vehicle, there is a transaxle in place.
The location of the driveshaft varies depending on the type of vehicle you drive. Rear-wheel drive cars have a long driveshaft connected to the differential and transmission, while all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive cars contain two or more driveshafts.
In rear-wheel drive cars, the rear wheels are responsible for providing the power. In these configurations, the long driveshaft connects at one end to the transmission, while the other connects to the differential via universal joints.
In comparison, the four-wheel drive or four-wheel drive car will contain two drive axles. You will find the same setup at the rear of the vehicle. However, there is a front driveshaft connected to the transfer case and a front differential with U-joints.
The front-wheel drive vehicle does not contain a long driveshaft because the front wheels transmit the power. Unlike the rear-wheel drive setup, this type of car has all the components necessary to generate torque at the front of the vehicle. The transaxle design does not require the use of universal joints but is instead connected to constant velocity (CV) joints.
Driveshaft Replacement Cost
The average driveshaft replacement cost is between $300 and $800. This includes the average price of parts and an additional $150-$200 for labor. Of course, the price is higher if you have a four-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle that needs major repairs.
However, some transmission repairs are easy for the average home mechanic. If a joint just needs more lubrication, you can do it without too much experience and save money. Other major repairs should be performed by a qualified mechanic to ensure safety on the road.