Your drivetrain moves your vehicle. It’s the essential component that translates power and torque from the engine to your tires. And, as such an important part of your vehicle, it’s no wonder why a malfunction can put your car in the auto shop. Let’s talk about this crucial component, so that you can make sure that your drivetrain stays in top shape for thousands of miles. Here’s all you need to know about what your drivetrain is, how it works, problems you might encounter, and who to call when you do hit a bump in the road.

What Is Your Drivetrain?

As we mentioned, your drivetrain transfers power from your engine all the way to the wheels that ride the road. Your drivetrain includes the driveshaft(s), its joints, the differential(s), your axles, and finally, your wheels. Let’s break down these components.

Driveshaft(s): Your vehicle has a driveshaft (or pair of driveshafts) that take power from the engine and send that torque to the axles of your vehicle. Driveshafts run front to back on the vehicle frame, whereas axles run side to side at the wheels of your vehicle.

U-Joints: There may be a series of joints that connect the driveshaft to the differential of your vehicle. Driveshafts are most often outfitted with U-joints which enable the driveshaft to be angled from the engine to the differential of the vehicle.

Differential(s): The driveshaft runs into the differential of your vehicle. A differential is a complex collection of gears which transfers driveshaft power to axle power.

Axles: The powered axles of a vehicle run from a differential to the wheels of the car. If an axle is unpowered (and simply pulled or pushed with the assistance of another axle), then it is simply attached through suspension to the frame of the car.

Wheels: The wheels are the final bit of the equation. Your wheels connect rubber to the road as they transfer torque from the axles.

How Does It Work?

Powering your drivetrain starts in your engine. As pistons fire, they generate torque which is transferred to the driveshaft through a series of gears (your transmission). This torque is maintained through the U-joints of the driveshaft, on down to the differential. The differential then transfers torque to the axle of the vehicle, and on down the line to the wheels. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of the drivetrain, and the massive amounts of torque to which it is subjected, these components are liable to fail over time.

Problems With Your Drivetrain

If you notice car vibrations, or unusual noises (like rumbling, rattling, scraping, and clunking) coming from beneath your vehicle, your drivetrain may be to blame. The drivetrain is a finely tuned, complex component. Even with a worn-out U-joint, you can notice major issues. If you do note noises or vibrations, it’s best to have your vehicle checked out right away. Drivetrain issues can compound and cause further damage to other components of your vehicle—and that can mean more expensive repairs when you do bring your auto into the shop.


Expert Drivetrain Repair

Here at Avalon Motorsports, we know drivetrains. Our team brings nearly two decades of experience to the table working on German-manufactured vehicles here in our Denver shop. If you’re ready to have an expert mechanic take a look at your vehicle, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment today!