If you’re new to motoring, it’s understandable that you might not know all of the parts of your car and what they do! One of the most important vehicular pieces, however, is your driveshaft. This is a common fitting in all cars and vehicles, and it’s crucial to making sure you have enough power to propel yourself forward!
Crucially, your driveshaft is going to make sure that your wheels receive the right messages from the most important parts of your car. This means that it’s going to deliver power instructions from your gearbox, your engine, and your differential.
How Does the Driveshaft Actually Work?
Your driveshaft’s mechanisms will actually differ depending on whether you have a front or rear wheel driving vehicle.
When in a front wheel drive, you will normally find a driveshaft for each of the front wheels. These connect with the main differential in your car. Essentially, your wheels will turn when the hubs receive message from your differential.
This works a bit differently in rear wheel drive. Specifically, you have something in place called a prop shaft. This works by transferring power down from the gearbox and the engine. This shaft is a central fixture, and connects the rear differential and rear axle, too.
You’ll find that any power from your rear differential is therefore transferred, through driveshafts, to your rear wheels. This is similar to the front wheel driving system in that your wheel hubs will receive the instruction to turn the wheels individually.
When it comes to four wheel drive or 4WD, you are looking at a combination of the two – as you might expect! This means you have driveshafts connecting to all the wheels.
You will usually find that your driveshafts are exposed on modern vehicles. These are normally easy to spot, along with constant velocity joints. You’ll need these to connect to the wheel hubs and differentials. Otherwise, you might actually find driveshafts and rear differentials encased in housing towards the rear of your car. This isn’t always common, but it’s not unheard of.
What if Something Goes Wrong with My Driveshafts?
The good news is these parts very rarely fail. There are no moving parts, and they are built in super-thick steel – in most cases!
That said, damage isn’t impossible. If you notice that your car is starting to vibrate more and more through simple driving, it may be that your driveshafts have been impacted by debris or stones which have kicked up while driving.
Otherwise, a more common fault is that your constant velocity joints are wearing down. In any case, it’s always a good idea to get into a service centre and to let a mechanic take a closer look.
Driveshafts are common fixtures in your car’s skeleton. They might not be immediately obvious, but without them, you will be going absolutely nowhere fast. Therefore, if you are starting to notice your car judder around, it might be time to check them out – along with the joints.