What Can Cause A Drivetrain To Malfunction?

What Can Cause A Drivetrain To Malfunction?

Your drivetrain is an integral part of your automobile. If your drivetrain malfunctions, you’re going to have problems. But what causes a drivetrain to malfunction? And what should you do about it?

The drivetrain is not simply one part of your vehicle. It is actually a set of different components working together in order to make your vehicle go.

The drivetrain is a series of components that transfers power generated by the engine to the wheels, thus providing the torque for your vehicle to move forward or in reverse. The key components of the drivetrain are the driveshaft, the axles, the transfer case and the transmission. Because the wheels and engine will rotate at different speeds, your vehicle needs to find the right ratio to make the two compatible. The transmission changes the gearbox ratio to keep the engine speed relatively constant.

Without a drivetrain, the power your engine generates has no way of reaching the wheels and thus, your car won’t go. As you can imagine, that means drivetrain malfunctions are quite problematic.

As with any problem, the sooner you spot a drivetrain malfunction, the better. Knowing what to look for could end up saving you a lot of money and headaches in the long run. With that in mind, let us look at some of the most common drivetrain problems and their most common causes:

  • Intense shaking and vibrating – If you experience excessive shaking and vibration when you change gears, or just when driving generally, you likely have a burgeoning problem with your drivetrain. The most common cause of this problem is worn out U-joints. As they loosen, your drivetrain will shake more and more until, if left unchecked, it can eventually just fall apart.
  • More bad vibrations – Excessive vibration is one thing, but clunking and grinding are other matters, suggesting worse problems. If you hear or feel clunking as you drive or change gears, this suggests worse loosening of the U-joints or possible worn-down solenoid packs. Friction surfaces will wear down over time and these can cause problems like clunking and grinding when you shift gears. The latter could also be caused by a lack of quality transmission fluid. Which brings us to . . .
  • Transmission fluid leaks – Transmission fluid leaks can be disastrous for drivetrains. You need transmission fluid to keep your transmission cool and lubricated. If you have a leak, you could be doing damage to your transmission every time you drive. If you see patches of reddish liquid underneath your vehicle after you park, bring it in for service. Thankfully, the fix is relatively simple: transmission leaks need to be resealed.

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To learn more about drivetrain malfunctions, please contact us.

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