The drive shaft is part of every vehicle and its operation is irreplaceable. The drive shaft ensures the effective transmission of power from the engine to the wheels or the drive. If the drive shaft becomes defective, it can no longer fulfil its task completely or at all. In any case, a prompt replacement is advisable. In the following article, you will find out what distinguishes damage to the drive shaft, what costs you can expect and how the drive shaft is replaced.
The drive shaft in detail
Although a drive shaft is a component installed in every vehicle, the various drive shafts differ significantly depending on the make and model.
Effectively, the drive shaft should actually be called the power transmission shaft, as this describes its function very accurately. Due to the possible steering angle and the inward and outward deflection of the vehicle, a drive shaft should not be stiff and solid in design.
Thanks to accompanying balance joints, these movements can be compensated for while the drive shaft propels the vehicle. These joints are protected with rubber sleeves and are also the most sensitive point of the drive shaft.
Damage to the drive shaft is expensive and time-consuming mainly because the drive shaft is connected to the vehicle with several components. So, the replacement takes a lot of time.
Drive shaft right/left • Original
priced attractively up from £14,77
Signs of a defective drive shaft
There is a whole range of symptoms which indicate a defective drive shaft. However, it must be clearly stated that many of these symptoms can also be signs of other defects.
Therefore, it is always recommendable to check the drive shaft before replacing it. In this way, expensive and unnecessary repairs may be avoided.
The most common symptoms of drive shaft damage include:
– A cracking sound when cornering with sharp turn-in of the rear wheels.
– Oil spill at a standstill
– Grease deposits forming on the brake and wheel housing liners
– Vibrations while driving, which seem to come from the chassis.
All these signs are a good cause to take a closer look at the entire vehicle. Faults or damage to the drive shaft should be repaired as soon as possible so that they do not get worse and the car stays drivable.
Drive shaft and joint sleeves
Much more often than the drive shaft, the joint sleeves are affected. They protect the two joints that ensure the stability of the drive shaft. And it is here where most problems arise. The joints are manufactured with a tolerance of a few thousandths of a millimetre and are real precision instruments. And they should be, as they are affected by enormous forces all the time.
For this reason, the joints are extensively oiled and protected by the rubber sleeves. Over time, however, the rubber around the joints may become brittle and begin to tear. In such a case, the protection is no longer sufficient, and so fine sand and dirt can penetrate the joints.
Due to their very fine manufacture, even slight dirt can quickly lead to enormous damage. Therefore, it is important to check the rubber sleeves regularly and replace them if necessary.
In this way, expensive and much more extensive repairs to the drive shaft may often be avoided.
Is a drive shaft a wearing part?
Actually, the drive shaft is not a component that wears out regularly or needs to be replaced. As a rule, it lasts the entire lifespan of the car without any problems. Unfortunately, however, damage cannot be ruled out, so it may still be necessary to replace the drive shaft from time to time. However, it is not subject to general wear and tear.
Replace it yourself or go to a specialist workshop
Replacing the drive shaft is quite complicated and, in some vehicles, it can only be done with special tools. If you have no knowledge of vehicle technology and no experience, a specialist workshop is the right choice.
However, if you have a well-equipped private workshop and can also use a lifting platform, there is nothing to prevent you from changing the drive shaft yourself.
Tools required for the replacement
– A lifting platform or a jack and safety device alternatively
– A wheel nut spanner set
– Allen nut with ratchet and extension
– Allen nuts of various sizes
– Oil collection container
Removing the drive shaft step by step
| 1. First, drain and collect the gear oil.
2. Now remove the wheel.
3. Loosen the locking screw.
4. Loosen the ball joint and the tie rod end.
5. Loosen the upper nut of the stabiliser link joint.
6. Remove the ball joint of the front lower wishbone.
7. Pull out the drive shaft.
– Thoroughly degrease all areas.
8. Fit the new drive shaft.
– Reassemble all components in reverse order.
9. Fill in new gear oil.
Pay attention to the following when replacing the drive shaft
- Use only new spare parts from brand manufacturers. You should avoid used parts for this repair.
- Work in a clean and well-lit environment.
- Prevent dirt or grime from getting on the joints of the drive shaft.
Costs for replacement at a specialist workshop
If you have the drive shaft replaced at a specialist workshop, the experts may usually complete the work in one to two hours. It means that, depending on the workshop, you only have to count on 170 to 300 pounds for the replacement. The costs for the drive shaft are included. It is a little more economical if you get the drive shaft yourself and hand it over to the workshop with the vehicle. This way you avoid the overcharged prices that many workshops apply to their customers.
Defective joint sleeves increase costs
Of course, if the joints are damaged as well, the costs for a visit to the workshop will rise up. A joint set costs between 20 and 130 pounds, depending on the vehicle. Changing the drive shaft joints takes another 30 to 60 minutes, which a workshop will also charge you for. The costs for the workshop visit thus increase significantly once again.
The cost of a new drive shaft
As drive shafts differ significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer, there are also some differences in pricing. The price does not necessarily depend on the size of the vehicle or the drive shaft. If you want to buy a new drive shaft, you should expect between 70 and 450 pounds.
Important note: buy new drive shafts only. Since these cannot be comprehensively checked, the installation of a used drive shaft is an incalculable risk. For this reason, it is important to use suitable replacement parts.
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