The power the engine creates is called torque. The job of the drive shaft is to transmit that torque power to the wheels of the vehicle. Most economy cars are front-wheel drive, so the torque would be transmitted to the two front wheels. If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, then the drive shaft transmits this torque to the two rear wheels and the two front wheels. In this case, you may find that a four-wheel drive vehicle has two separate drift shafts; one for transmitting power to the front and another to transmit power to the back.
Top 5 Drive shaft Failure Symptoms
Since drive shafts rotate quickly, they’re able to move the wheels of your vehicle. The only way they can keep rotating quickly is if they remain weighted down and balanced exactly right. When the drive shaft begins to have malfunctioning issues, then your driving ability will be impaired. More specifically, there are 5 symptoms you can recognize that will let you know there is a problem with the drive shaft.
- Vibrations – If you’re driving the vehicle and you feel a lot of big vibrations coming from under it, then your drive shaft may be in trouble. This is usually the first symptom that people recognize when there is a drive shaft problem. The vibrations are likely due to worn out bushings of the driveshaft. These bushings are what normally keep the drive shaft from vibrating in the first place. If the problem is not fixed soon, the vibration will get more intense. It will get so bad that your passengers will be able to feel it too. The worst part is that the components of the drivetrain will be worn from this.
- Clunking Noise – When you accelerate your vehicle, do you hear a clunking noise? How about when you drive the vehicle into reverse, or even into drive? If you hear clunking noises in any of these cases, then it means your drive shaft has an issue and needs to be looked at promptly.
- Squeaking Noise – If you’re driving and you hear a squeaking noise that is consistent, then it is a sign that your drive shaft could be in trouble. It could possibly be out of balance or some other part of it could be worn out.
- Universal Joint Movement – If the U-joint of your drive shaft rotates too fast or fails to rotate, then it’s a problem with your drive shaft. The cap seals of the bearings could have rust on them. Either that or the u-joint itself is not stable. You’ll need to have your drive shaft placed because you can’t drive your vehicle in his condition.
- Turning Problems – If you try to make a turn with your vehicle and the wheels don’t turn immediately or they hesitate, then you have an issue with your drive shaft. The tires will have a lot of resistance which you’ll be able to feel as you try to make a turn. Obviously, this is a serious issue and it needs to be looked at right away.
The Average Drive shaft Replacement Cost
If you’re just replacing the drive shaft for your front wheels, then it will cost anywhere from $470 to $940. You can expect the parts cost to be anywhere from $320 to $750, while the labor costs are only around $150 to $190. These prices are just estimates based on a standard economy class car with front-wheel drive. If you have four-wheel drive or a larger than normal drive shaft, then you’ll be paying almost double of what these prices are. Keep that in mind.