Automotive Maintenance And Detailing


Automotive Maintenance And Detailing

Drive shaft and CV joint in a car

Almost all vehicles transmit power from the engine to the wheels through the drive shaft and CV joint or Constant Velocity Joint. The use of the driveshaft in each car has different design features, such as front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive

Heavy use can damage the driveshaft and CV joint. You need to know and understand the operation of this powertrain and correct usage and maintenance.

Most cars have a driveshaft length that varies depending on the application. In the end, car owners may have to decide to replace new parts if you continue to want to use the same car you love.


What is the drive shaft and CV joint in a car ?.

Cars that we use in our daily life, whether they are personal vehicles, commercial vehicles, sports cars, and others, these vehicles use the driveshaft connecting the transmission and the wheels. It is responsible for transmitting the power or torque and the rotations that the engine produces to the wheels.


The drivetrain setup differs depending on the orientation of the engine and the configuration, such as front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive, and all-wheel drive vehicles.


Front-wheel drive cars have had a half-driveshaft mounted design since introduced 40-50 years ago. Each driveshaft has two shaft couplings, the inside and outside. The outer cv joint mounted onto the wheel hub, and the inner joint installs into the rear differential.


This half shaft runs under the bearing components, couplings, lubricating grease, shaft rods, and shaft bushings. Every time you turn the vehicle, the outer shaft or CV joint changes angles to allow the wheels to turn left and right.


Most small and sedan vehicles use this type of front-wheel drive.

CV joint half shaft of front wheel drive

Rear-wheel drive vehicles, including passenger cars, trucks, plus others, have the engine and transmission aligned straight back. These cars are equipping with a long driveshaft between the gear and the rear axle differential.  


Therefore, the drive shaft is responsible for transmitting the engine power and the rotation of the gear to the wheel through the rear differential.


Many luxury and high-performance brands of luxury cars and sports cars still prefer this rear axle drive because it provides good engine power transmission performance. As well, the truck uses a rear axle system to transmit all the power, spinning the wheels carrying massive loads.


All-wheel drive vehicles such as small, medium, and large trucks, SUVs, use a drive shaft that transmits power from gears to the front and rear wheels. These cars were both transversely engineered and straightened to drive the rear wheels. The powertrain is designed differently for each vehicle model. There will be a Transfer case, which is a power transmission gearbox that receives power from the engine to deliver to the front and rear wheels.


Transfer cases are useful for vehicles where the driver can choose to power transmission on all four wheels, either front or rear wheels. These cars will be equipped with a front and rear multi-axle drive to deliver power to all wheels. Engine power transmits to the front and rear wheels in a 50-50 ratio.

A transfer case of all wheel drive vehicles.

Can the drive shaft and cv joint be damaged?

As the drive shaft transmits power from the engine to the wheels, where the whole weight of the car is against the differential, the driveshaft is exposed to tremendous stress while it operates. Either front- or rear-wheel drive vehicles, the drive axle has a lifetime that will eventually have to wear out.

Front-wheel drive vehicles with a half axle tend to wear out faster than cars with a propeller shaft to transmit power to the rear wheels. Rear-wheel drive vehicles have a CV joint driveshaft that has a rubber boot that covers the coupling components. If this rubber boot tear, the grease lubricates the joints, and bearings will leak. The lubricant-free CV joints begin to dry and dust inside. 

Finally, the driveshaft CV joint head will damage, and you will need to repair or replace the shaft entirely.

The driveshaft of the rear-wheel-drive car is large and very strong. It can endure a lot of torque, but other components such as U-joints, central joints with rubber parts, can wear out over time.

Bearing balls in CV joint drive shaft head can be damaged after a long run.

A long run of rear-wheel-drive vehicles may have problems with universal joints, center support bearings. Some cars have a long front and rear axle, so they have two central drive axles attached. They will wear out over time, such as broken bearings, broken rubber, or worn U-joints. These wear and tear will cause the driveshaft to rotate vibrantly. If you leave it in, it will damage the entire drive shaft assembly, such as a bent driveshaft, loose U joints, or slip joints.


All-wheel drive vehicles have a drive shaft and several parts that follow the transfer case to transmit power to the front wheels and rear differentials. In addition to the intermediate drive shaft that transmits the power to the rear differential, it has another drive shaft that transmits power from the transfer case to the front wheel.  


Using this transfer case, the driver can choose from several different driving modes, such as driving two rear wheels, four-wheel driving, or only the front wheels via a switch in the driver console.

Selecting a driving mode that is unsuitable for road conditions and engine power can cause the transfer case and driveshaft as well as U joints damaged.

What are the symptoms of a broken drive shaft?

You can check the damaged drive shafts by yourself, especially while driving. The symptoms of a car when the drive shaft is damaged can be in the form of noise and vibration. If you have experience with any of the following, immediately check the drive axle condition of your car.


  1. Click sound when turning the car. In the case of a front-wheel-drive vehicle, while you turn the car in a deep angle, either slow or fast, and hear a click-click on the front wheel. That might be the noise from the driveshaft head bearings. This bearing will wear out over a long period of use. It will be easier to break if the driveshaft boot is torn out and grease leaks
  2. The car has the wheel and steering wheel vibrations while running. A car driving at the front of the drive shaft broken, symptoms of shaft imbalance occur. This imbalance causes the driveshaft to oscillate as it rotates with the rotation of the transmission gear. In the case of a damaged rear-drive, a damaged U-joint or center joint bearing will also cause the shaft to rotate imbalance. In this case, it may shake your whole car.

In severe cases, the drive shaft may come off while the vehicle is running due to a breakdown of the U and CV joints if you ignore the symptom.

How do the maintenance drive shaft and cv joint ?.

Keeping the drive shaft in good working condition can be done by both you and the technician.

Driving with an understanding of the limitations of vehicle parts like drive axles will allow you to keep the driveshaft and all components in good condition. Front-wheel drive vehicles have a weakness in that the drive axle. It is easier to damage than rear-wheel drive vehicles.

The front axle CV joint has a bearing assembly and a shaft housing. This bearing will wear out if it subjects to a lot of stress. You can keep it in good condition in the following ways.

  1.  Do not accelerate hard while turning a narrow-angle or turning the steering wheel all the way, such as when reversing and parking.
  2. Speed ​​of engine power while driving through bumpy roads
  3. Replace the driveshaft boot as soon as you find it torn and grease on the front wheel.

For rear-wheel-drive vehicles, you should not make a habit of accelerating hard. Drive a car like that, the driveshaft does its job, taking a tremendous amount of torque from the engine. U-joints and center joint bearings, as well as various rubber parts, wear out more quickly than normal driving conditions.

If you experience abnormal vibrations from the back of your car, you should make sure if that caused by a damaged driveshaft and its parts.

 Immediate repair if the damaging found.

CV joint rubber boot can be repaired.

If you are not good at self-inspection, you can take it to a mechanic in your garage or service center to do the check. 


 The car in the warranty period, the service center technician will inspect it according to the maintenance period. If your vehicle is out of warranty, you can tell the mechanic about symptoms so that you can diagnose and determine the exact cause of the fault.


In most cases, the mechanic will lift the car to check the condition under the car’s body. All parts and connections are inspected by a visual and hand-operated. Irregularly loose pieces can be the cause of what you have come across. 


Usually, drive axle parts do not damage without initial symptoms. For example, the front axle is more easily damaged and much faster if the rubber boot broke. The rear-drive axle is the same as the front axle. If you let one of the joints loose, the vibration may eventually damage the entire shaft.

How long do drive shaft and cv joint last?

The drive axle is quite functional, but it cannot use throughout the life of a vehicle. Depending on your driving or the driver, driving without accelerating or you are drive severely will be able to maintain it for a long time.


For approximately one hundred thousand kilometers or sixty-two thousand miles, the drive axle of a front-wheel-drive vehicle may begin to loosen or become damaged. Rear-wheel drive vehicles may last longer. However, you should check the condition of the parts according to the above distance.

Should you replace with the new one or fix it ?.

Most of the front-wheel-drive vehicles that are often damaged are the rubber boot and the outer drive shaft. Usually, the mechanic will change the entire driveshaft. You can have a mechanic change only the part which is damaged. The performance of the car is no different.

Besides, you can only replace the drive shaft head, repairing only the broken part. You can use old rods and drive shaft inside. This refurbished method will save you a lot of money.

A damaged rear driveshaft sometimes needs to be replaced if bent. Slightly damaged driveshaft couplings or bearings may repair by replacement with the new one.

You have to keep in mind that car parts consist of multiple necessary parts. Some faulty can repair by replacing only the damaged one. But if you want to make sure your driving is safe, you can ask a technician to replace the entire set.

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