Tips & Advice
Can a bad drive shaft cause vibration?
A bad drive shaft can cause vibration, and this will often worsen as the vehicle gains speed. A damaged drive shaft can also cause a car to squeak, caused by a worn-out U-joint. If there's a problem with your drive shaft, you might also experience resistance from the tires when making sharp turns.
A U-joint, also known as a universal joint, is a component of the drive shaft that allows the car's rear axle to move and be flexible without bending or breaking the shaft. In most cases, U-joints are permanently sealed in modern cars, which means they can't be lubricated. In older cars, it's possible to dismantle and lubricate U-joints.
Can a drive shaft be repaired?
It is possible to repair a faulty drive shaft by replacing damaged or worn-out components, like the U-joints. A damaged drive shaft can create wear and damage in other areas of your car if it is left unresolved, and the damage typically worsens with time. Repairing the drive shaft can help your car drive more smoothly, and it will often eliminate any odd or unusual noises that the car has been making.
How much does it cost to replace a drive shaft?
In total, it can cost anywhere from $200- $1,200 or more to replace a drive shaft. Unless you plan to replace the drive shaft yourself, count on paying for parts plus labor costs. The drive shaft itself ranges from $100-$1,200 or more. Labor charges can cost $100-$130 per hour, and the task typically takes between one and two hours to complete.
How do you measure the length of a drive shaft?
To measure the length of a drive shaft, start by placing the vehicle securely on a lift. Then you can take a measurement, but keep in mind that the process varies based on the type of drive shaft your vehicle uses. If it has flanges mounted on the transmission and differential, use a tape measure to calculate the distance between the two flanges. If the vehicle has a drive shaft that slides onto the front of the transmission and bolts at the rear, use a tape measure to gauge the distance between the centerline of the rear U-joint and the end of the transmission shaft.
A drive shaft is part of a car's drivetrain used to deliver torque and rotation. Drive shafts send power from a car's transmission to its wheels. Automakers use different types of drive shafts in the vehicle manufacturing process, and the range includes one-piece drive shafts, two-piece drive shafts, and slip-in-tube drive shafts.
Can struts be replaced by shocks?
No, struts cannot be replaced by shocks. Though these parts both work to enhance a vehicle's ride quality, they are not interchangeable. Each wheel will have either a shock or strut, but never both. A vehicle might have struts on the front axle and shocks on the rear, so it's possible for a single vehicle to have both.
Do all cars have shocks and struts?
No, not all cars have shocks and struts. Some vehicles are equipped solely with struts, while others have just shocks. Shocks support the car's suspension, while struts are an integral part of a vehicle's suspension assembly. Both these parts work to improve the way a vehicle travels over bumps and rough road surfaces.
What are the signs that a car's shocks and struts need to be changed?
There are certain visual signs that indicate a car's shocks and struts need to be changed. If there are leaks from the struts and shocks, or if they look dented or damaged, repair is necessary. Diminished handling--if the car has a bumpy ride quality or stiff steering response--can also mean it's time to change the shocks and struts.
How long do shocks and struts usually last on a car?
Shocks and struts can last anywhere from 50,000-100,000 miles or more. If you have rough driving habits, this will significantly shorten the life of these parts. If the shocks or struts begin to leak or if they are broken or damaged, replace them immediately. Ideally, struts should be replaced in pairs.