The wheels of any vehicle depend on torque power from the engine in order to spin and move. The propeller shaft is the component which is responsible for transmitting this power over to the wheels. The propeller shaft is another name for a driveshaft, which is a more familiar term to a lot of people. They both mean the same thing, though.
If you are driving a front-wheel drive vehicle, then it contains a propeller shaft which delivers the engine’s torque power to the front wheels. The back two wheels do not rotate in a front-wheel drive vehicle, so they don’t need to have torque power delivered to them. However, in a four-wheel drive vehicle, the propeller shaft must deliver the torque power to the front and back wheels. For this reason, there are two propeller shafts in a four-wheel drive vehicle. There is one from the front two wheels and another for the back two wheels.
5 Bad Symptoms
Your vehicle must have a functional propeller shaft if it is going to move properly. If your propeller shaft were to ever go bad, then there would be some clearly visible symptoms that would present themselves. Below are the top 5 symptoms to watch out for.
Turning Issues – The most obvious symptom of a bad propeller shaft is when you have trouble turning your vehicle. Your wheels won’t receive the proper amount of torque power, so they will hesitate for a few moments after you turn the steering wheel. You should get your propeller shaft replaced quickly or else the treads of your tires will wear out quickly from this.
Squeaking Sounds – If there is a squeaking sound present that will just not go away, then you may have a bad propeller shaft. This could be due to worn out internal components within the shaft or possibly an imbalance in the shaft.
U-Joint Rotation Issues– Your propeller shaft has a U-joint which rotates at a steady pace. If the rotation fails or speeds up too quickly, then it will cause issues with your propeller shaft. Perhaps you have a bad U-joint or your bearings have rust on the cap seals. This may require you to replace your entire propeller shaft if the damage is too significant.
Clunking Sounds – A bad propeller shaft could cause clunking sounds to be heard as you step on the gas pedal or drive in reverse. These may be in addition to the squeaking sounds that you normally hear all the time. At this point, you should feel more than motivated to want to replace your shaft before some real damage occurs.
Vibrations – When you have a worn-out propeller shaft, it may cause vibrations to come from underneath the vehicle. These vibrations should be a clear sign that your shaft needs to be replaced. In most of these cases, the shaft may have bushings which are worn out. Remember that the shaft is held in place by the bushings. If the bushings are loose, damaged, or worn out, then your shaft will vibrate because of it. Then it could lean to your shaft getting damaged.
The replacement cost of the propeller shaft will be a minimum of $420 and a maximum of $1,000. The parts cost alone will be about $300 to $800, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. The cost of the labor will be between $120 and $200. These prices only pertain to front-wheel drive vehicles. Remember that if you’re driving a four-wheel drive vehicle, there are two propeller shafts that will need to be replaced. This means that these replacement cost estimates will double for it.