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Online Auto Parts - Drivetrain, Wheel & Axles

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Differentials, Wheel Bearings, Drive Shafts & Related Drivetrain, Wheel & Axles Parts
The drivetrain is responsible for converting the engine torque into the wheel motion through a series of shafts and gears. The drive shaft is the cylindrical shaft that transmits the torque from the engine to the wheels. It is most commonly found on rear-wheel drive vehicles, and connects the rear of the transmission to the differential. As the output shaft of the transmission rotates, it spins the drive shaft, which then turns the differential ring gear to rotate the wheels.

Common questions about diagnosing and replacing drivetrain and wheel parts:

Drivetrain, Wheel & Axles

Wheel Bearing and Hub Assembly, CV Axle Shaft & Other Drivetrain, Wheel & Axles Parts
What are the signs of a failing driveshaft?

Common signs of a failing driveshaft include: intense car vibrations and abnormal noises, like clunking, rattling, and scraping sounds, coming from beneath the vehicle.

What are U-Joints?

Located at each end of the drive shaft are universal joints, or U-joints, that allow the drive shaft to articulate and maintain flexibility as your car moves over the (sometimes bumpy) road. You can check the drive shaft for excessive play and always be alert for new vibrations or roughness when driving the car. On some older vehicles, the U-joints will have grease fittings that can be used for maintenance. Check your owner's guide for intervals and grease applications.

How does a differential work?

When you take a corner in your car, the outside wheels have a slightly longer distance to go than the inside wheels. That means that the outside wheels must turn a bit faster than the inside to catch up! This is made possible by the differential. It's very important to keep your differential properly lubricated. It is a good habit to check the differential fluid level once or twice a year and top it off as necessary. With low fluid, the differential will run too hot and wear prematurely. Differentials eventually wear out and need to be replaced. You might notice a strange noise coming from your axle area as one of the first warning signs. When the differential shows signs of failing, it's important to repair it. If you leave it too long and it freezes up when you're driving you could lose control of your vehicle and other parts like the axle, driveshaft and transmission could be damaged as well.

Do wheel bearings wear down?

Wheel bearings enable your wheels to spin freely, and since they bear the entire weight of the vehicle, they must be tough. Although the wheel bearings can last well over 100,000 miles, they do wear out and will eventually need to be replaced. A strong indicator that they need to be replaced is a groaning or grinding sound coming from your wheels. The sound might disappear at some speeds and reappear at others.

What maintenance should be done for wheel bearings?

For those vehicles with wheel bearings that can be accessed, preventive maintenance can be done. Taking care of bad bearings is extremely important. When bearings go bad, they generate tremendous amounts of heat – enough to lock up the wheel. In some extreme cases, the wheel can even fall off. Needless to say, either of these occurrences could cause a serious accident. Have your wheel bearings inspected if you suspect a problem and replace them right away if there is one.

Many vehicles have wheel bearing assemblies that cannot be serviced. When the bearings go bad, we simply replace the entire wheel bearing and hub assembly.
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