Auto Repair & Services
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Drive Lines in Enterprise, AL
Your car’s engine generates power and torque, and the transmission selects gear reductions so that the engine can drive the vehicle at a range of speeds. All that torque has to be delivered to the wheels and the road, and that’s where the driveline comes in.
On rear-wheel-drive vehicles, the transmission is connected to the rear axle by a driveshaft, which has u-joints to accommodate bumps and other movement. Front-wheel-drive vehicles have the transmission in front, with half-shafts and constant-velocity (CV) joints to deliver power to the wheels.
Usually, rear-wheel-drive driveshafts and u-joints will last the entire life cycle of a vehicle. By function and by design, though, front-wheel-drive drivetrains are more complicated. They have to allow for steering movement and forces as they deliver power and accommodate bumps and shocks. In addition, the inside wheel of a vehicle moves more slowly than the leading wheel while negotiating a turn, and the CV joints have to allow for that.
The CV joint is a collection of bearings and cages, enclosed in a bellows-shaped flexible rubber boot. With enough time, the rubber boot can become cracked or torn, allowing moisture and dirt to make its way into the assembly. These are signs that your CV joints are beginning to fail:
- Clicking or metallic crackling noise while turning (possibly only while turning in one direction and not the other)
- Clunk while decelerating
- Oil leak around front wheels
- Vibration through steering wheel
- Steady knocking or clicking sound every second or two at low speeds
- Roughness that wasn’t there before
Four Wheel Drive/All Wheel Drive
There are many designs for four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive (AWD) on the market, but they all feature some sort of transfer case to distribute power between the front and rear axles. These systems are inherently more complicated and heavier, with the potential for more problems.
Lift kits are popular for drivers of 4wd vehicles, so they can get better ground clearance for off-road use. Unfortunately, an improperly-installed lift kit can mean a disruption of the driveline’s operating angles, causing vibration, roughness and premature wear.
If you’re noticing pops, clunks, vibration or roughness that you hadn’t noticed before, it’s not something you want to put off. Driveline problems can soon lead to other complications and can even be dangerous. Make an appointment with Road Mart Tire and let our techs see what might be wrong.