National average cost of a Driveshaft Inspection for popular vehicles:
What is a driveshaft inspection?
A driveshaft is a long metal tube that runs along the underside of your rear-wheel or four-wheel-drive vehicle. The driveshaft spins in order to transfer power from the engine and transmission to the wheels. At each end of the driveshaft is a special connector called a u-joint that fastens the driveshaft to the transmission (or transfer case) and to the differential on the drive axle assembly. A driveshaft inspection is a service aimed at checking your driveshaft for signs of wear or imbalance.
How do I know if my vehicle needs a driveshaft inspection?
First of all, your vehicle only needs a driveshaft inspection if it features rear-wheel, four-wheel, or all-wheel-drive. Front-wheel-drive vehicles have a different type of driveshaft. Actually, they have a pair of CV axles that power the front wheels and serve as both drive shaft and axle. If your vehicle does indeed have a driveshaft, you should have it inspected if you notice one or more of the following signs
A squeaking noise while driving that increases with vehicle speed
A clunking noise when shifting from forward to reverse or vice versa
A vibration while driving that also increases with the speed of your vehicle
You see excessive corrosion underneath your vehicle
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A driveshaft inspection involves checking the condition of the u-joints as well as the overall condition of the driveshaft construction itself. A qualified technician will check the internal bearings and other components of the u-joints for signs of wear or excessive play, and make sure that the driveshaft spins true. Inspection typically involves the following
Inspection of the driveshaft construction using a bright light to locate any defects, such as cracks or corrosion
Inspecting the u-joint seals for cracking or degradation
Inspecting the u-joint bearings for excessive play or lack of lubrication
Inspecting the carrier bearing (if so equipped) for excessive play
The driveshaft might also be checked for proper balance. It might be checked in place or might need to be removed from your vehicle for inspection.
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What happens if a driveshaft fails?
If a driveshaft fails while driving, the driveshaft may begin to spin at uncontrollable angles and strike multiple spots on the underside of your vehicle. This could result in significant damage to brake lines, wiring harnesses, and other components on the underside of your vehicle's body.
What does a failing driveshaft sound like?
When your driveshaft is failing, you may hear and/or feel a clunk when you shift your transmission from forward to reverse and back again. As the power reverses direction, the sloppy u-joint(s) take extra time to take up slack. The result is a clunking sound and feeling. You may also feel a vibration while driving or hear a squeak noise that changes frequency with vehicle speed.
What is the most common driveshaft problem?
Bad u-joints are the most common problem with a driveshaft. The u-joints not only connect a driveshaft to your transmission (or transaxle) and differential, they move in such a way that the driveshaft can spin properly while the suspension rides up and down. Because of this ability, the u-joints receive a significant amount of stress. Over time, the bearings in the u-joints can wear out and develop excessive play. Or worse, they can fail completely and break.
What parts are related to a Driveshaft Inspection?