What is a Drivetrain?

By Mister Transmission

A drivetrain may be the least understood part of a vehicle. This is due to several factors, including the fact that the term “drivetrain” is often used interchangeably with powertrain and driveline.

The drivetrain includes the transmission, the driveshaft, the axles, and the wheels. Simply put, it works in conjunction with the engine to move the wheels. The drivetrain system is an essential component of a vehicle and the transmission is an integral part of the drivetrain.

The Drivetrain and the Transmission

The drivetrain and the transmission are actually two very different concepts. The main function of the transmission is similar to the chain on a bicycle: it keeps the engine turning in time with the wheels, regardless of what gear the vehicle is in. The drivetrain represents everything that is behind the transmission involved in propelling the vehicle. The main function of the drivetrain is basically to convey power from the vehicle’s engine, through the transmission to the drive wheels on the vehicle to control the amount of torque. “Torque” is turning or twisting force.

Parts of a Drivetrain

The drivetrain is comprised of a collection of components in a vehicle that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels/ drive it forward. These components include the driveshaft, CV joints, the differential, the axle shafts and the U-joints.

  • A driveshaft is a long tube of steel that is linked to a car’s transmission at one end and the wheels at the other. It transfers the mechanical power from the transmission to the other components of the vehicle.
  • A U-joint, or universal joint, is a flexible pivot point that transmits power allowing for varying angles of the driveshaft.
  • CV joints, or constant-velocity joints, are part of the driveshaft. These joints are designed to be able to bend in any direction while continuing to turn the drive wheels at a constant velocity.
  • The differential is where the power makes its last stop before spinning the wheels (see ‘How Differentials Work’).
  • Axle shafts are a single rotating shaft, on either side of the differential, which delivers power from the final drive assembly to the drive wheels.

Driveline, Drivetrain, Powertrain

Technicians sometimes refer to driveline, drivetrain and powertrain interchangeably when referring to the drivetrain system of an automobile. This can cause confusion, but in essence, all of these terms describe the same system within the vehicle.

The powertrain in a vehicle is composed of everything that makes the vehicle move. This includes everything from the engine to the transmission to all the parts that allow the power from the engine to get to the wheels. A vehicle’s driveline consists of all of the powertrain’s components except for the engine.

The drivetrain is the part of a motorized vehicle which connects the engine and transmission to the wheel axles.

The driveline includes everything in the chain from the engine to the drive wheels, but the drivetrain consists of everything after the transmission — all driveshafts, axles, joints, differentials and wheels.

Mister Transmission technicians are all certified drivetrain and transmission specialists who service drivetrain and transmission issues in all modern vehicles.

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Customer Reviews
Zaff was really good.Services: Body &...
Ze Ad
Zaff was really good.Services: Body & Trim, Oil change
Date: June 27, 2022
Website: Google
I have used this location...
D Anderson
I have used this location (Centennial Pkwy.) for transmission repair and preventative maintenance work on several occasions, with more than one vehicle over the years. Owner Steve is both courteous and knowledgeable. The work done here is honest and reliable. They are not in the business of overcharging for work that isn't required! I would highly recommend this location to anyone in need of transmission repair or service.Service: Transmission
Date: June 27, 2022
Website: Google
Great service and honest !Fixed...
NatyBe Creator
Great service and honest !Fixed my problem with very little headaches!
Date: June 26, 2022
Website: Google
Doctor Matt and his crew...
Michael Crofton
Doctor Matt and his crew fixed up a bad situation on a 700R4 in an old car. It’s tough to get ANY shop these days to even consider working on ol school Detroit muscle. They’ve touched both my cars and I wouldn’t have anyone else deal with my drivetrain issues. Thnx again Matt
Date: June 25, 2022
Website: Google
Fantastic place! Staff so friendly...
Dave Nelson
Fantastic place! Staff so friendly I would work there!!
Date: June 24, 2022
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Excellent people small family business
Casperft Dubbert
Excellent people small family business
Date: June 23, 2022
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A true “five stars” service...
Adnan Isakovic
A true “five stars” service by a professional Team of experts!Had intermittent transmission issues with my old SUV and previously tried to get help from the dealership, with no resolution - until I called Eric.Got immediate attention and effective service. Eric is passionate about his business and someone you can trust without reservations. You will get the best transmission job done for a fair price.Highly, highly recommended!
Date: June 23, 2022
Website: Google
Just want to tell you...
Dan De
Just want to tell you that I had a great experience with AL at this location. Professional, polite and efficient. Most importantly, I asked about putting in a transmission cooler and he told me I already had one. He could have taken me. What more do you want? Honesty and kindness rule here.Service: Transmission
Date: June 22, 2022
Website: Google
They were fantastic with me....
Kelly Copp
They were fantastic with me. I was shown and told exactly what was wrong and how much to repair. As a woman, I was treated with the utmost respect. 10 stars if I could.Services: Transmission repair, Auto engine diagnostic, Vehicle Inspection
Date: June 21, 2022
Website: Google
The staff and work was...
Marsha Saltzman
The staff and work was 5 star. Dropped my vehicle off when requested, and it was completed when promised. Thanks 😊
Date: June 21, 2022
Website: Google
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