There are many different reasons to take your car or truck in for repairs, and while engine repair is the most common reason, there are other things that may need attention. Driveline repair is also very common. The are a few ways to diagnose a problem in the vehicle's driveline.
Identifying The Driveline
The driveline in most vehicles involves the transmission, driveshaft, axles, and other components that propel the vehicle under power. The springs and suspension parts are not part of the driveline, but they are often connected to it, so it can be a little hard to identify. Typically, if the part is used to move the vehicle, it is considered part of the driveline.
The engine in your vehicle could be a driveline component, but engine repairs and driveline repairs are often different. While an engine issue will affect the driveline, a driveline issue will typically not affect the engine and its ability to run.
Some of the most common noises you will hear from your vehicle that indicate the need for driveline repair come from under the vehicle. A banging noise accompanied by the vehicle jumping when you put it in gear could indicate a worn U-joint in the driveshaft.
Loud whining sounds as you drive may be the rear differential. This often indicates worn gears or a low oil level in the differential and should be checked right away. If the car is a front-wheel drive, the whining you are hearing could be a worn wheel bearing that needs to be replaced before it fails.
Vibrations From Under The Car
Most vibrations you feel in your car are related in some way to the driveline. Anytime you notice a change in how the vehicle feels going down the road, there is the potential for something to need attention under the car, and taking it in for driveline repair or inspection is essential.
Sometimes the vibration you are feeling is something simple like a tire that is wearing oddly. Still, it could be much more significant and involve a critical part that is moving and is vibrating because it is out of balance. Any part that is out of alignment or that is wobbling on the plane it is intended to move on could fail and leave you stranded.
For instance, a U-joint that comes apart because it is worn out will often start to vibrate first and eventually break, allowing the driveshaft to come loose and potentially cause damage to the transmission or the differential housing, pinion shaft, and the driveshaft. A driveline repair shop can replace that U-joint in about an hour, and the parts are typically less than fifty dollars. Still, the damage that can result from a u-joint failure can do significant damage to the entire driveline, costing hundreds of dollars to repair.