Amy's Amazing Auto Service and Repair Blog

What Should You Do When You Suspect Driveshaft Issues?

by Derek Davidson

With a two or four-wheel drive vehicle, you rely on driveshafts that connect your transmission to each road wheel. These are usually very efficient devices and can put up with tremendous wear and tear, considering what they have to deal with on a normal day. However, they may begin to fail, and when they do so, it can make it very difficult to control the vehicle at all. So, how do you know that you have a potentially faulty driveshaft, and what should you do next?

Tell-Tale Signs

A significant vibration that emanates from beneath the vehicle is one of the most common symptoms associated with a failing driveshaft. Usually, you will be able to pinpoint the troublesome shaft, as it's very unlikely that more than one shaft will fail at any given time. The vibration may get significantly worse when you turn in one direction or another, depending on which shaft is in trouble.

Additional Pointers

Do you notice that the vehicle tends to "shudder" when you drive away from a traffic light? This could also be traced to the driveshaft or, more specifically, some of the supporting parts that keep it in place. Another sign of an issue could be a knocking or clicking noise when cornering or loud banging noise when the vehicle shifts into a new gear.

Faulty Universal Joint

Often, driveshaft issues can actually be traced to universal joints, couplers, carrier bearings and other devices. For example, the universal joint nearest to the hub could be about to fail. This joint enables the entire drivetrain to move through a variety of different angles as a vehicle encounters undulations and curves on the road. If this joint cannot move through its usual range of motion, it will make it increasingly difficult to control the direction of travel.

Suspect CV Joints

A failing CV (constant velocity) joint is another place to look. This part enables a smooth transfer of power from the transmission to the driving wheels at a constant speed, no matter the underlying condition. They are intricate ball and socket joints typically sealed to avoid any issues but can become vulnerable to road debris and other threats.

Take Urgent Action

If you suspect that the issue is getting worse and those noises are getting louder, you should contact your mechanic without any delay. They need to take a closer look at the vehicle and can then pinpoint the exact cause of the issue. Until then, you should be wary of this potential problem and not take any risks.

Contact a local mechanic to learn more.