Spotting Drive Shaft Problems

It is hard when our vehicles start to act crazy on us. What makes it doubly hard is that they can’t talk. And since you cannot ask what the hell is wrong, you have to rely on yourself to spot problems and ultimately its cause.


One of the auto parts that may become problematic is the driveshaft. The drive shaft is the rotating object located between the differentials and gear box. It helps you switch from idle to drive. Without a drive shaft, your vehicle (and so are you) would never move.

The good thing about drive shafts is that they never fail instantaneously. Their deterioration happens over time. So if you can spot the problems ahead of time, then it is more likely that you can avoid costly repairs.

Here are some symptoms of a problematic drive shaft:

  1. Vibration. Damaged drive shafts cause vehicles to vibrate. It can be the entire vehicle or parts of it, like the floorboard, that may shake and tremble. Vibration often intensifies and worsens when you drive faster. Severe vibrations can also indicate a bad tire, but vibrations from tire problems usually happen during acceleration. You know you have a drive shaft problem when your vehicle vibrates even at idle.
  2. Sounds. Vehicles emit noises if the drive shaft is bad. This is often recognized as a low squeaking sound that intensifies as you speed up. Then, it may disappear and reappear as you decelerate. Sounds are signs of a severely damaged U-joint connected to the drive shaft.
  3. Turning Issues. Drive shaft problems prevent the wheels from turning properly. You may feel resistance from the tires when making sharp turns or U-turns. So when you notice that the wheels hesitate when you maneuver, go and have your drive shafts checked.
  4. Problems with U-Joint movement. Universal joints or U-joint that moves too much or does not rotate at all indicates a driveshaft problem. To know whether you have a problematic U-joint, set your vehicle parking brake and shift the vehicle into neutral. Move the yokes of the U-joint back and forth to check for flexibility. Excess movement in any direction indicates that the U-joint is unstable and could negatively affect the drive shaft. Rusty bearing cap seals surrounding the U-joint can also indicate a driveshaft problem. Have them replaced to prevent the onset of bigger drive shaft damages.


These are some signs that will help you detect drive shaft problems. For troubleshooting tips and services, visit the auto repair shop in your area.



Calvin’s Transmissions
6204 North Nebraska Avenue, Tampa, FL 33604
(813) 231-2171

About Kapitan Bill

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