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Drive Train Service or Replacement

The drive train in your vehicle includes all of the important components that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels. Those components differ depending on what type of vehicle you drive, namely, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, or four-wheel drive. The preventive maintenance your driveshaft needs will also differ depending on what type of vehicle you drive.

Let’s start with front-wheel drive. In this vehicle, the transmission and the differential are combined in one component, known as the transaxle. The transaxle is connected to two half-shafts (axles), which are then connected to the wheels with a constant velocity (or CV) joint. This is protected by an airtight rubber boot.

All Pro Servicenter’s service for this type of driveline includes servicing the transaxle and inspecting the CV boot. If the boot is damaged, the CV joint will need to be inspected, and the boot will need to be replaced. If you hear a clicking noise in your wheel wells when you turn, you may have a damaged CV joint. A damaged CV joint should be replaced.

Rear-wheel drive vehicles generally have a transmission in the front of the car and the differential in the back. A driveshaft (it looks like a long tube) connects the transmission to the differential. Some vehicles may have a two-piece driveshaft, which is connected to the differential with universal joints or U-joints. Again, the differential is connected to two half-shafts that go out to the wheels.

All Pro Servicenter’s service of the drive train on a rear-wheel-drive vehicle starts with servicing the differential. It will need its fluid drained and replaced regularly. The seals on the axles should also be inspected for wear or leaks. Leaking or damaged seals may mean the axle needs to be serviced as well. Lastly, U-joints can wear out. If you hear clunking or feel a jolt when you shift into drive or into reverse, it could indicate a driveline problem.

All-wheel-drive sedans provide power from the transmission to all of the wheels, instead of just to the front or rear. The advantage is that the vehicle can adapt to different driving conditions and transfer more power to the front or back wheels as needed. The disadvantage is that the driveline is more complicated, and the vehicle weighs slightly more.

Many all-wheel drive vehicles are based on a front-wheel-drive setup. They also have a differential in the rear and one in the center of the vehicle that allows power to transfer to the front and rear. A shaft runs from the transfer case to the center differential, and another from the center differential to the rear differential.

Getting an all-wheel drive vehicle serviced at All Pro Servicenter involves servicing ALL of the differentials and inspecting the joints and seals for wear, leaks, or damage.

Four-wheel drive vehicles are rear-wheel drive vehicles that have an option to transfer power to the front wheels. In other words, they can be driven as either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles. These vehicles are specifically designed for harsh driving conditions. The driveline in a four-wheel-drive vehicle is similar to that of an all-wheel-drive vehicle. The center differential, however, is a transfer case. Maintenance requires servicing both differentials and the transfer case, as well as an inspection of the joints and seals.

Auto owners would be wise to check their owner’s manual for recommendations on how often to service their sedan drive train. It’s also good auto advice to check with your All Pro Servicenter service professional as well. You may live in an area of Iowa where weather or driving conditions require more frequent drive train servicing.

If you drive off-road, it is critical to service your driveline more frequently than the typical recommendation. Conditions encountered off-road around the Des Moines area are particularly hard on your driveline.

Good car care at All Pro Servicenter always includes taking care of your driveline. Come to All Pro for all of your drive train needs!

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Drive Train Frequently Asked Questions

What is a drive train?

The drive train in your vehicle includes all the important components that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels. Those components differ depending on what type of vehicle you drive.

What is all-wheel drive?

All-wheel drive is a system where all four wheels can gain traction independently of each other. All-wheel drive differs from 4-wheel drive.

Is all-wheel drive the same as 4-wheel drive?

4-wheel drive is typically for heavier duty hauling when more traction is needed. All-wheel drive is typically always on, while four-wheel drive needs to be manually turned on.