5 Signs Of Drive Shaft Failure

Posted on: 24 June 2021

The drive shaft is one of the important components of your driveline. It transfers power from the engine to the wheels in order to power your car. Knowing the signs that components on the driveline shaft are failing ensures you schedule a repair before a breakdown occurs.

1. Frequent Squeaking

Squeaking that comes from below the car as you drive may be originating in the main drive shaft of the driveline. It can indicate that the bearings in the U-joints on the drive shaft aren't properly lubricated, which could lead to seized bearings. A repair tech can check and lubricate the bearings. Keep in mind squeaking can have sources other than the driveline, so it's best to have the issue checked by a pro.

2.  Vibrations

If you feel vibrations coming through your car's floorboards, especially when driving on a smooth road, then the driveline could be the culprit. These vibrations may travel into the steering wheel, but you should mainly feel them through your feet. They likely won't impact your control of the car but they will be noticeable. Often, the vibration is a result of worn universal bushings on the drive shaft, which must be replaced in order to solve the problem.

3. Acceleration Shudders

Pay attention to how your car responds when you accelerate. If it seems to shudder or shimmy slightly, then there is one of two likely issues. Loose U-joints on the drive train can lead to acceleration shudders, as can failure of the center bearings. The best repair is to have the U-joints replaced and the center bearings repacked and lubricated. This should solve the shuddering issues and prevent further driveline problems.

4. Clunks and Rattles

Your driveline can make noises other than squeaks. Clunks and rattles from beneath the car when you are driving are another sign of U-joint failure on the driveshaft. In some cases, the noise may only indicate a lack of lubrication, so if you take the vehicle in at the first clunk or rattle you may be able to have the drive shaft lubricated. Wait too long, though, and a U-joint replacement will become a necessity.

5. Joint Movement

You may not notice U-joint movement on your own, but your mechanic may during a routine tune-up or car inspection. If the U-joint moves within its yokes on the drive shaft, then it is time to replace it before it fails entirely. You can also locate the U-joint yourself and check it periodically for movement. This way you can catch issues early.

Contact a driveline repair service if you suspect something is wrong with one of your driveline components. They can provide more information regarding driveline repair.