Is your car difficult to turn or shudders at high speeds?
Then you may have a faulty driveshaft.
A driveshaft is a critical car component that essentially “drives” your car. While driveshafts usually last long, if there’s a malfunction, you should get it fixed ASAP to avoid expensive repairs.
So what are the symptoms of a bad driveshaft?
How much would a driveshaft repair near you cost?
In this article, we’ll discuss what a driveshaft is, four common signs requiring a drive shaft repair, and how severe these issues can be. We’ll also cover a driveshaft’s replacement costs and how the repair is conducted.
This Article Contains:
- What Is A Driveshaft?
- What Symptoms Call For A Driveshaft Repair?
- How Urgent Is Getting A Driveshaft Repair Near You?
- How Is A Driveshaft Repair Done?
- How Much Does A Driveshaft Repair Near You Cost?
What Is A Driveshaft?
The driveshaft helps transmit engine power to the front and rear tires. It’s an elongated tube with driveshaft yokes (connectors) on its ends. A yoke links the driveshaft to the universal joint that then connects it to the engine and other static components.
The driveshaft spins to deliver power from the engine to the rear parts at the vehicle differential (which allows wheels to spin at different speeds). It then transmits the torque (from the vehicle differential) to the wheels 一 making your car move forward.
Most driveshafts are usually made of materials like steel or aluminum so that they’re both strong and don’t add to the vehicle weight.
The driveshaft consists of components like:
- Constant Velocity Joint (CV Joint): Each wheel has 2 vehicle’s cv joints 一 the inner joint connects the transmission to the CV axle or a wheel drive axle. In contrast, the outer joint connects the vehicle’s axle to the wheel.
- CV Axle: The CV axle (stabilizing drive axle) is a vital driveshaft component that transmits power from the vehicle differential and transmission to the tires.
- Rear Axle: This transmits power between the rear wheels. In most cars, the rear axle moves with the wheel. Meanwhile, the vehicle’s front axle is responsible for steering and smoothening shocks.
- End Yoke and Tube Yoke: The tube yoke helps rotate the drive shaft and universal joint, while the end yoke allows smooth power transfer.
Note: The number and shape of driveshafts depend on the car type. For example, a four wheel drive vehicle may have 2 driveshafts, while a front wheel drive vehicle may have none.
Let’s see what signs signal a driveshaft problem.
What Symptoms Call For A Driveshaft Repair?
Anything from a damaged driveshaft, an axle issue (like bad wheel drive axles), to faulty axle assembly components may stop your tires from turning correctly. Since a drive shaft repair can be costly, it’s always better to look for early signs of driveshaft malfunction.
Here are some symptoms of a damaged driveshaft:
1. Vibrations From Underneath The Car
Usually, a perfect driveshaft balance is ensured during installation so that driveshafts don’t vibrate unnecessarily. Vibrations are caused mainly by a worn-out universal joint or bushings.
The best solution is to get a shaft repair or replacement from the nearest auto repair shop, as excessive vibrations may damage other drive shaft components.
2. Loud Noises From The Driveshaft
A faulty driveshaft component can cause noises, such as:
- Rattling sounds when the bushing or bearing wears out and limits the driveshaft’s ability to rotate the tires correctly
- Squeaking noise at low speed caused by a universal joint in need of lubrication
- Clicking or knocking sounds that are caused due to a faulty CV axle or stabilizing drive axle
These noises point to a driveshaft malfunction that probably needs to be taken to an
auto repair shop for a shaft repair.
3. Shuddering While Accelerating
Loose axle assembly components like a universal joint or bad center bearings in the drive shaft may cause shuddering accompanied by unusual noises while accelerating.
A split CV joint can also cause it. This happens when water enters the joints and causes the grease to leak. A split CV joint requires immediate repair as it can cause intense shuddering, especially when turning corners.
4. Difficulty Turning
A bad drive shaft may damage the universal joint, causing the wheels to bind. This makes turning difficult, and the car may pull to one side.
The universal joints located at the end of the drive shaft should ideally rotate at a constant speed to transfer power between the tires. If the universal joints rotate more than necessary, they may cause vibrations that further damage the shaft and other vital parts.
So how soon should you get your damaged driveshaft repaired?
Let’s find out.
How Urgent Is Getting A Driveshaft Repair Near You?
The driveshaft is a crucial part of your car and requires immediate attention.
Its job is to deliver torque from the transmission to turn the wheels. A bad driveshaft won’t function well and may put unwanted pressure on other car parts — ultimately damaging them.
If the driveshaft stops working, you may not even be able to drive your car as your tires won’t have any power to move. So it’s a good idea to get a driveshaft or driveline repair near you to resolve the problem quickly and follow routine maintenance and basic car care tips.
Now, let’s go over how a driveshaft repair is performed.
How Is A Driveshaft Repair Done?
A driveshaft replacement requires specific technical knowledge. That’s why getting a driveshaft repair near you from a mechanic or an auto service shop is more expedient.
Here’s a general walk-through of how a driveshaft is replaced:
- Start by disconnecting the battery. Then raise the vehicle using jack stands and mark the driveshaft’s position to reinstall the driveshaft correctly.
- Put a fluid catch pan under the output seal at the end of the transfer case to catch the leaking fluid.
- Remove the fasteners and yoke retainers that secure the driveshaft to the differential’s pinion flange.
- Disengage the driveshaft from the pinion flange, and lower it to slide its yoke out of the transmission case.
- Install a new driveshaft after making sure the new driveshaft is of the same type and size.
- Apply a light coat of grease to the slip yoke splines.
- Reinsert the driveshaft yoke into the transmission case. Make sure it’s aligned correctly as marked earlier. Mount the driveshaft back onto the pinion flange.
- Secure the driveshaft to the vehicle differential with fasteners and the yoke retainers to the differential’s pinion flange. Make sure the alignment marks match up, and there’s proper driveshaft balance.
- If any fluid comes out while you remove the driveshaft, check the fluid level in the transmission and top it off as needed.
- Look for damage in other parts like wheel drive axles, flexible couplings, or a rear axle.
Driveshafts are meant to last long, provided you do routine automotive service and maintenance. It’s best to clean the shaft routinely and coat it in rust oil. Following such car care tips along with diligent auto service will help extend the life of your drive shaft and minimize the need for driveline repair.
Wondering how much it’ll cost you?
How Much Does A Driveshaft Repair Near You Cost?
The repair or replacement cost of a driveshaft can be a little expensive, and depending on which parts need repairing, the cost can average around $400 – $1500.
You can expect to pay about $500 for spare parts and almost $200 as labor charges for a driveshaft replacement. These costs may vary depending on your auto shop, location, vehicle weight, and vehicle model.
Your car won’t function without its driveshaft, so keep an eye out for the symptoms mentioned in this article. If you do spot an issue, it’s best to leave such complex repairs to certified mechanics.
To make things easier, contact AutoNation Mobile Service as soon as you suspect any car problems.
We’re a mobile vehicle repair and maintenance solution offering upfront pricing, convenient online booking, and a 12-Month | 12,000-Mile warranty on all our auto repairs 一 24/7!