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
Chris was fantastic in walking...
Hubert Miller
Chris was fantastic in walking me thru the process. Straight up and honest.I am in the auto business have been repairing transmissions for years and have had some horror stories with costly bills.Not in this case. Fair and accurate.
Date: March 1, 2021
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Competitive pricing very straight forward...
Zakieh Accoumeh
Competitive pricing very straight forward easyto deal with
Date: February 28, 2021
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Honest knowledgeable friendly if you...
Albert Karadza
Honest knowledgeable friendly if you need transmission work don't go anywhere else those guys are the best
Date: February 28, 2021
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Dustin and Rory are honest...
Zakieh Accoumeh
Dustin and Rory are honest and take great care of their clients
Date: February 28, 2021
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Honest
Leonard Yamniuk
Honest
Date: February 28, 2021
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Very impressed by Cecil and...
J A
Very impressed by Cecil and his crew. Took my 2006 Jeep Cherokee in for fuel injector issues and had it running like a dream in no time. Finding a good mechanic that you can trust and won't take you to the cleaners is important to me. I'll get my jeep done here from now on. Shout out to Fab for taking care of my baby.
Date: February 28, 2021
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Gary was magnificent and took...
Mike Marchese
Gary was magnificent and took excellent care of my car , not only was the timing great but the service was better than perfect and he ensured that my car will be in tip top shape when finished, i would highly recommend him for transmission issues and repairs as he is highly experienced and very knowledgable in the industry, overall a wonderful person to deal with!
Date: February 27, 2021
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Fixed our car also have...
Brandon Edwards
Fixed our car also have rental service
Date: February 27, 2021
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I lost reverse on my...
Lyn
I lost reverse on my toyota matrix. They were able to fix my transmission at an affordable price. As a student, this was a big plus.
Date: February 27, 2021
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fast, friendly and good pricingI...
Gary Hudson
fast, friendly and good pricingI took my service van to a few other local Transmission shops with no results and my down time was way to long. It was really refreshing dealing with Pete and his team they figured out and fixed my transmission issue.
Date: February 27, 2021
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