While you may not repair or replace your driveshaft too often, this doesn’t mean there are never any issues with them. Various components make up your rear drive shaft, such as the connections with the rear differential.
They are tough, yet why does my drive shaft keeps breaking can plague some motorists? A drive shaft can break for several reasons, such as poor quality components, poor installation, or lack of maintenance.
You will discover that a driveshaft repair or replacement needs doing by experienced auto mechanics unless you have all the gear and know what you are doing. In our guide, you can see how tough these car parts are; you’ll see what causes a drive shaft to break. (Read Is It Bad To Sit In Car With AC On)
By the end, you’ll know which is the weak point and what you can do to avoid problems and end up with a half shaft dragging along the road.
Why Does My Drive Shaft Keep Breaking?
The driveshaft isn’t delicate; therefore, it shouldn’t break if you put too much pressure on it.
Furthermore, driveshafts are not all created equal; each car has its own, and if you use a driveshaft from another vehicle to replace yours, it will likely fail.
So, what are the potential causes of your vehicle’s driveshaft breaking repeatedly?
Poor Quality Components
You may have personal experience in this already. For example, when you take your car to a mechanic to fix it, workers may use counterfeit, used, or sub-standard parts to repair it.
This could be the case with your situation; therefore, you should have your car serviced by a reputable workshop or technician.
A decent driveshaft should survive a long time, under typical driving conditions, even if you have a 4×4 and you power the front wheels and the rear wheels off-road.
Driveshaft configurations differ between vehicles, although if the driveshaft is not installed or the incorrect one is used on your vehicle, it is likely not to last too long before it fails.
Poor installation is one possible reason of driveshaft fails.
Other Failing Components
The driveshaft is only one drivetrain component, which comprises several others.
When one of the drivetrain components is damaged, the driveshaft is more likely to break down.
However, you should have a mechanic examine every component that links to the driveshaft; one of them could be the source of the problem.
Harsh Driving Conditions
Another cause of driveshaft failure could be your driving style or the area in which you live.
If you frequently travel on rough roads with many potholes and road bumps, your car may hit a bump hard, causing the axle or driveshaft to flex and eventually shatter.
These are possible driveshaft-breakage causes. If you’re sure you installed an excellent driveshaft, inspect the other components around it. (Read My Brake Pedal Is Stiff And Car Won’t Start)
Also, make sure whoever works on your driveshaft uses the correct u-joints.
What Happens If My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving?
Most drivers don’t think about their car’s driveshaft. But if it breaks while driving, you’ll think about it.
What Is A Drive Shaft?
A drive shaft connects the transmission (gearbox) and transfer case in a car (four-wheel drives).
The “driveshaft” transfers torque from the engine to the rest of the drive train (the parts that move the car).
It’s a long metal piece that spins on bearings.
Some automakers use carbon fiber, titanium, or aluminum instead of alloy steel, bimetal, or chrome vanadium. Driveshaft length might vary based on performance and frame/body space.
Why do Driveshafts fail?
The most common failure cause is age. A typical American car is 11 years old, and before the year 2000, driveshafts weren’t hardened or coated.
In addition, accidents are a culprit as when an car’s rear wheels are hit by another vehicle or object, the impact often breaks the driveshaft. Hitting curbs at speed can also damage drive shafts.
Some drive shafts may not be treated against road salt, thus overexposure to this, and you may need a replacement after a few years.
Hitting potholes with your wheel can induce wear and tear, and forces take their toll on your driveshaft.
Signs Of Failing Drive Shaft?
Worn or damaged U-joints often cause driveshaft failures. Each end of a drive shaft is splined. One is connected to the transmission, the other connected to the differential.
The universal joint allows each half shaft to flex while delivering power from the drive train to your wheels. Incorrect operation of any of these components might cause excessive force and failure.
Failing driveshaft symptoms include:
1. Clunking when changing gears:
This suggests your driveshaft’s U-joints are worn or damaged. This can also mean that transmission components are breaking loose and causing harm.
2. Grinding Noises:
When changing gears, grinding or growling sounds could signal transmission difficulties or a damaged U-joint. In addition, your vehicle may likely sway too far to one side.
Again, this is usually the consequence of excess stress on the driveshaft itself because of many probable causes. (Learn How To Change Dremel Bit)
Your universal joints may be worn (causing them to slip), the CV joints may be shot, and there may be too much flexibility in your driveshaft because of too much play between moving parts.
If left unchecked, the front half of the drivetrain could break off, rendering your vehicle useless.
3. Bulges or Cracks Near Universal Joints
This may not cause vibration or noise, but it can indicate a driveshaft problem. Replace your driveshaft if you see either of these issues.
Even if there are no apparent signs of wear or damage, metal tubing might develop cracks, which signifies an internal component must be replaced before failure.
It may be too late – replacing a severely damaged shaft requires removing other front-end components, which might be difficult.
If you notice any of these signs, send your vehicle to the garage as soon as possible before failure occurs.
An early diagnosis and having it replaced immediately will save you money in the long run, and it may not need to be replaced if the issue is another component.
What Happens If Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving?
If it breaks, your day will be bad. Any car, at any time. Most of the time, your car will simply stop. In more severe cases:
You lose control of your car:
You can’t control the vehicle when your drive shaft breaks while driving, especially near the rear axle.
Because of the torque reaction of the broken drive train, everything behind the transmission violently swings backward and upward when you press the gas pedal.
One second you’re driving along comfortably, and the next, everything behind your transmission violently hits the asphalt while upfront objects are tossed in all directions. Nobody will enjoy it.
You Can Roll Over
If the back axle meets something while moving, it will propel your vehicle into the next lane of traffic, or even off a bridge or into oncoming traffic if you roll over.
After your drive shaft breaks while driving, not much good can happen, making this one of the worst things to go wrong on your vehicle as you are driving.
Your Drive Shaft Can Damage Other Cars
If your broken drive shaft sends drivers of other cars into the oncoming lane and oncoming traffic, expect some furious drivers.
If you break a driveshaft while driving, pull over as soon as possible and try to get clear of traffic. It will be like having a broken arm — it won’t kill you, but there’s no point doing more damage with all the flying metal.
If you happen to lose control of your car when pulling over, turn off the engine instead of using your brakes to avoid damaging your transmission as you come to rest at the roadside.
Driveshaft Working Function
Front-wheel drive cars don’t have driveshafts. Instead, transmission and pivot are combined into a transaxle.
A driveshaft is usually made of steel or aluminum, and sometimes carbon fiber, to be sturdy and lightweight.
This piece of hardware connects the transmission or moving case to the pivot. However, the driveshaft should have a few parts for activity because of driveline points and vehicle flex.
The driveshaft may be a single or two-piece device, depending on the year and model. For example, four-wheel-drive vehicles feature two driveshafts, one connecting the transmission to the rear differential and one to the front differential.
On a one-piece driveshaft, the pivot may be strong while a slip burden connects it to the transmission. The burden glides over the result shaft splines.
The driveshaft “changes sizes” during flex. Driveshafts glide on these splines to avoid restricting while applying power.
You can also have a propeller shaft straight, such on a two-piece driveshaft, which offers a good mounting location on the transmission yet allows the driveshaft to spread out.
U-joints, connect the driveshaft to the differential between the load and the driveshaft.
U-joints, handle the points. The transmission and driveshaft are pitched, so the driveshaft should turn as it pivots. U-joints allow this. (Read Spark Plug Sizes Socket Guide)
Two-piece driveshafts do nothing new from a single-piece driveshaft, only differently. Rather than using a slip burden to connect to the back of the transmission, these use a u-joint on the transmission’s output shaft and a u-joint on the pivot.
Rather than at the transmission, the driveshaft oversees flex between the two. This is important for 4WD vehicles that bend excessively, as a slip load could cause the driveshaft to fall out.
Signs Driveshaft Is Failing
The driveshaft pivots and transmits the car motor and pinion wheels that turn the wheels of your car. Likewise, it makes force that makes the vehicle move, and without a driveshaft, a car won’t work.
They rarely split all at once, and flaws get more significant over time. Thankfully, signs show a problem.
Vibration is a common sign, and the entire vehicle may vibrate, with the floor being the most common places where shaking or vibrations are felt.
Troubleshooting a problem can be difficult. For example, if the vehicle’s wheels don’t turn as planned or oppose when turning a corner, the driveshaft is most likely broken.
Trouble turning the wheels when stopping in tight spaces is another sign.