Could Your Issues Be Caused by a Failing Driveshaft?

While most vehicles on the road today are either four-wheel-drive vehicles or driven by the front wheels, many still use the traditional approach and are propelled from the rear. This method relies on a complicated transmission system that has to work under a great deal of pressure at all times. Of course, sometimes things can go wrong and this can often be related to the primary driveshaft. If you know that something is wrong with your transmission but are not sure what it might be, how can you tell if the driveshaft is faulty?

How It Should Work

Or a rear-wheel drive car, the primary drive shaft is a substantial cylindrical component that is fitted to the rear of the gearbox on one end and to the rear axle on the other. It will help to transmit the power that is initially generated by the crankshaft and pistons towards the rear of the car, where the differential will divert this energy at right angles towards the wheels.

The shafts are carefully made so that they can rotate at high speeds while remaining in balance. They also need to compensate for general movement, as the gearbox will often move in relation to the back axle. To enable this to happen, the shaft is connected through a series of different joints designed to move independently and everything is supported on bearings.


When things start to go wrong, you will immediately notice a problem. To begin with, you may sense a vibration coming from beneath the vehicle and this is a sign that the supportive bushings or universal joints are starting to wear out.

Unusual Noises

These vibrations may also be accompanied by some strange noises as the drive shaft may no longer be able to rotate as efficiently as it is supposed to. Don't be surprised if you hear scraping, rattling or squeaking noises, which may change with the speed of the vehicle.


While you may imagine that these problems would become more acute at high speeds, the opposite can often be true. In fact, you may find it difficult to manoeuvre the vehicle in a confined space as the malfunctioning shaft may stop the wheels from turning correctly.

Taking Action

This is not something that you should ignore for any length of time because eventually, the joints, bearings or shaft could fail altogether. This could have a knock-on effect and cause damage to the gearbox, transmission or even the engine in the worst-case scenario. Consequently, you should take the vehicle in to a mechanic as soon as possible.

For more information on driveshafts and transmissions, contact a mechanic in your area.