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Drivetrains & Powertrains

The drivetrain of a car or truck consists of a number of parts and systems that are used to transfer power from the transmission to the wheels. Some of the components involved are u-joints, cv joints, axle shafts, driveshaft, and differentials. The powertrain refers more to the engine providing power to the transmission and then to the drivetrain. Another term associated with drivetrain and powertrain is the driveline. These terms for the most part are referring to the parts and components from the engine to the transmission and on to the wheels.

Different Types of Drivetrains & Powertrains

There are four main types of drivetrains in today’s vehicles that serve the design and function of the vehicle they are installed in. All Wheel Drive is one option and can run all the time or can be set to run when a vehicle is needing more traction or control to all four wheels. AWD is typically found in most sport-utility vehicles, crossovers, minivans, station wagons, and some sedans. Four Wheel Drive can be engaged and turned back to two wheels manually when needed. This is great for vehicles that want to save on fuel while driving in town, but need the extra control when driving off-road or in extreme weather conditions. 4WD is used with full-size trucks and vans, large SUVs, and vehicles designed for off-road purposes. Front-Wheel Drive delivers the power to the front of the vehicle and maintains better traction in snow or wet conditions due to the weight of the engine being over the driving wheels. It is the most common type of drivetrain found in vehicles today and because it does not send power to the rear wheels it is pulling the vehicle down the road. FWD typically gets better fuel mileage and can be found in sedans, mid-sized cars, and coupes. Rear Wheel Drive vehicles send the power and torque through the driveline to the rear wheels pushing the vehicle forward. RWD can make better use of acceleration or power and allow the front wheels to focus more on steering the vehicle. Most sports, racing, or luxury cars have a RWD drivetrain system as well as small pick up trucks and standard size trucks.

CV Joint Repair or Replacement

A typical component that reaches failure in a vehicle’s drivetrain are the CV joints. Constant Velocity Joints connect the wheel to the drive shaft in RWD vehicles and the axle shaft in FWD vehicles. The purpose of a CV Joint is to keep constant rotational speed without friction or play through a variable angle. The CV Joint is covered with a rubber boot that allows for motion while keeping lubricants in the joint. A torn CV Joint boot will lead to dirt and debris entering the joint and contaminating the lubricant and ultimately leading to the wear of the joint. If you have grinding noises coming from your front or rear wheels and can see a tear in the boot you will most likely need to replace them. In some cases where it is caught early, like from an inspection, repairing the axle can be done by replacing the boot and adding new lubricants.

U-Joint Repair or Replacement

Vehicles with Universal Joints should get regular inspections for excessive wear to ensure proper repair or replacement of the part and to prevent damage to the parts it connects to. A U-Joint allows rotating shafts to be linked together to provide the proper torque and rotary motion. There are a lot of options for the right u-joint when replacing them on your vehicle, having a certified professional install the correct one will be essential to the performance of your drivetrain. If you are experiencing shaking, clunking noises, or steering wheel vibrations at mid to high speeds this may be an indication of worn u-joints.

Transmission City & Automotive Specialists have the experience to make sure that your u-joints are replaced when needed through systematic inspection of your drivetrain components and parts.

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