A car driveshaft is a cylindrical shaft that transfers torque from the engine to the wheels. They are most frequently found on rear-wheel drive cars and connect the rear of the transmission to the driveshaft. As the output shaft of the transmission turns it spins the driveshaft, which then turns the differential ring gear to spin the wheels.
Driveshafts are usually a very precisely balanced and weighted part because they rotate at very high speeds and torque values in order to turn the wheels. When the driveshaft has any sort of problem, it can affect the drivability of the car. Often, a problem with the driveshaft will give out 4 symptoms that alert the driver of an issue that should be addressed.
1. Intense Vibrations from Underneath the Car
One of the first signs of a problem with the driveshaft is vibrations issuing from underneath the car. If the driveshaft universal joint (U-joint) or bushings wear out, it can create excessive driveshaft vibration.
Driveshafts are greatly balanced before installation to ensure they do not vibrate. Any sort of vibration indicates a problem. An excessively vibrating driveshaft will not only cause vibrations that can be felt by the passengers, but it can equally cause accelerated wear on other drivetrain components.
2. Abnormal Noises
Abnormal noises are another signs of a problem with the driveshaft. If the bushing or bearing that supports the driveshaft or the driveshaft U-joints wear out or fail, they can interfere with the driveshaft’s ability to turn correctly. This may result in unusual rattling, clunking, scraping, or even squeaking sounds from underneath the car. U-joint in need of lubrication may equally cause a squeaking noise at low speeds. Clicking or knocking sounds particularly can signify a faulty CV joint. Any noises such as these are a sign that the vehicle should be serviced immediately.
3. Turning Issues
Issues with turning the vehicle is another likely symptom of a bad driveshaft. A broken driveshaft can keep wheels from turning properly, giving you trouble when trying to make turns. This issue limits your overall control of the vehicle. You need any issues that prevent you from driving the vehicle correctly addressed right away for safe driving and continued use of the car.
4. Shuddering During Acceleration
Noticing a significant shudder when accelerating from low speed or a stopped position, it can be another symptom of failing driveshaft part. A loose U-joint or bad center bearing within the driveshaft may cause the faltering acceleration. You may equally hear sounds while the vehicle is shuddering from the worn-out U-joint. You’ll want to have such issues inspected out as soon as possible by a certified mechanic.
Driveshafts are a vital part of the drivetrain, and any problems with them can greatly affect the drivability of the car. As they are underneath the car and connected to the transmission, they may be hard to access and service on your own. If you feel your driveshaft is having a problem, have the car inspected by a professional technician or mechanic to know whether the driveshaft should be changed.