Fleet managers work hard to keep their vehicles in tip-top shape and from a maintenance perspective, one of the main things they focus on is the driveshaft. It makes sense – the driveshaft is a crucial part of the drivetrain and when it’s not functioning the way it should, it can lead to major problems. Not only will your drivers notice strange and annoying noises while operating the vehicle, but they’ll also have difficulty maneuvering it.
When you consider how much a commercial vehicle weighs – plus any additional cargo it may be carrying – you could be putting your drivers and other motorists in danger if you’re operating with a faulty driveshaft. So what are some bad driveshaft symptoms? And what causes driveshaft failure in the first place?
We’ll break it all down here and let you know where to go for help should any problems arise in your fleet.
What Is A Driveshaft & What Does It Do?
Let’s start out by defining what a driveshaft is. Essentially, a driveshaft is a component for transmitting mechanical power and torque from a vehicle’s engine to the wheels. Quite simply, the driveshaft is what gets your vehicle’s wheels turning and allows you to hit the road and do what you do best. If you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle, it won’t have a driveshaft – instead, the transmission and the axle are combined into one unit known as a transaxle.
In four-wheel and rear-wheel drive vehicles, on the other hand, the axle and the transmission are separate units. Driveshafts are tubular and often made from strong but lightweight materials such as steel, carbon fiber, or aluminum.
Common Symptoms Of A Bad Driveshaft
When there’s something wrong with your driveshaft – or the parts around it – there are plenty of clues if you’re paying attention. And while you can’t necessarily tell if your driveshaft is broken based on looking at it, if you start to hear weird noises or you feel like you can’t control your vehicle, you’ll want to have a professional take a look as soon as possible. After all, you can never be too careful, right?
Here are some of the most common ways to know you’ve got a bad driveshaft:
Shuddering When Accelerating
You’re pulling away from a stop sign en route to delivery and picking up speed when you notice a shuddering sensation possibly accompanied by an odd noise. This could indicate bad center bearings or loose U-joints and it’s something you should get checked out immediately.
Vibrations and Rumbling
This is another problem you’ll notice when the vehicle is in motion and it comes in the form of an intense shaking coming from below. The culprit could be wear and tear on the U-joint or the driveshaft bushings or it could be that the driveshaft isn’t properly secured or is out of balance. To know for sure, take your vehicle to a trusted repair shop sooner than later.
If you’re driving at a low speed and hear an annoying squeaking sound, it’s not because you ran over a mouse. It’s probably because your U-joint needs lubricating. This is a problem that can potentially be fixed with a little bit of grease, though if the squeaking persists, it might be time to call your mechanic for further inspection.
You’re shifting your vehicle when suddenly you hear a clunk – never a sound you want to hear while you’re out on the road! The clunking is likely caused by a worn-out U-joint and you’ll want to get it replaced as soon as you can. If you don’t, you’re likely to cause even greater damage to your entire drivetrain and then end up paying the price in more ways than one.
As you’re pulling into a truck stop by attempting to make a left-hand turn, you realize your vehicle isn’t responding the way it usually does. If this happens to you, there’s a good chance you have a worn driveshaft. This is definitely a serious concern that requires immediate attention by a professional so your vehicle can operate safely. And once the repair is made, make sure to keep your driveshaft well lubricated. This can prevent a whole host of problems that can keep your vehicles sidelined and unable to service customers.
Contact A Driveline Repair Professional Today!
When your driveline or driveshaft has problems, it can be a major headache and it can lead to a loss in productivity and profitability. Plus, it can be a safety hazard and can put your company’s drivers and nearby motorists at risk. That’s why you need a driveline repair professional on your side and we’re pleased to share that you’ve found one in Blaine Brothers.
We’ve been serving the trucking and transportation industry in Minnesota and Wisconsin for more than 40 years and we have the expertise to handle all your driveline and driveshaft repairs and services. Plus, we’ll do the work at a reasonable, honest price that won’t break the bank. Why? Because to us, it’s not about the money – it’s about supporting our customers and helping them stay on the road safely and efficiently. We consider them part of our family and when they succeed, we all win.