Drivetrain is an all-encompassing word used to describe the way your vehicle gets power to the road. Drivetrain and Powertrain are often used interchangeably to explain the same basic idea which is the components that transfer power from your engine to the wheels. More specifically the Drivetrain is the part of the vehicle that connects the Engine/Transmission to the wheels whereas Powertrain includes the Engine and Transmission as well as the Drivetrain. Components of the Drivetrain include: CV Joints, CV Axles, U-Joints, Drivelines, and Differentials and Transfer Case.
All vehicles that have AWD or 4WD have a Transfer Case of some form or another. The Transfer Case sends power to all 4 tires when needed. Making Cache Valley Winters not so scary. This tends to be one of the most Overlooked Maintenance items on BMW X-Drive. If left un-serviced a transfer case failure or break down can turn on the 4×4 warning light can ruin your day and be costly to repair.
In front wheel drive vehicles the Transmission takes the power from the engine and transfers it to the CV Axles. The CV axles have special joints inside of them that allow them to move in multiple directions while supplying power to the wheels. The joints in these axles are protected by a rubber boot which seals the grease inside. Over time these boots can become brittle with age and start to leak or tear. If enough grease leaks out of the joint it can become dry and fail. This failure can sometimes be heard as a clicking noise when the vehicle is turning while moving.
In rear wheel drive vehicles the Transmission sends its power to the Differential using a Driveshaft. Similar to the CV Axles the Driveshaft also needs to be able to move and twist while supplying constant power to the Differential. In order to provide this power the Driveshaft uses flexible joints creatively called U-Joints to allow motion while transferring the engine power to the Differential. Also like the CV Axles the U-Joints use grease to keep them moving properly and most U-joints have fittings which allow you to add grease as needed. With time and use these joints may start to fail which can cause noise and vibration while driving.
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The Differential has gears inside of it that take the rotation of the Driveshaft and, using CV axles or Axle Shafts, transfers it to the wheels. The gears in the Differential allow the wheels to spin at different speeds when turning or in situations when one wheel has better traction then the other. When making a turn the inside tire is spinning faster than the outside tire and without the Differential the tires may “chirp” as they attempt to spin at the same speed. Like many other components in your vehicle the Differential uses hydraulic fluid to lubricate its gears. Over time this fluid can become worn out due to heat and with regular use it can start to collect metal particles. When the Differential Fluid is not serviced regularly these metal particles can wear out the Differential Gears causing premature wear and failure. Most manufacturers recommend servicing this fluid every 50,000-60,000 miles. The service interval on your vehicle may be different depending on age, usage, and manufacture.
At Import Auto we carefully inspect your Drivetrain with every visit. If we find anything of concern during our inspection, rest assured we have the tools and experience to repair any Drivetrain issue quickly and, more importantly, correctly. We only use parts and fluids that meet or exceed Manufacture Specifications in order to maintain the safety and reliability of your vehicle. Our Digital Inspections allow us to take pictures of your multiple Drivetrain components in order to show and properly explain our recommendations and the reasons we have made them. We know you are not often under your vehicle so we use this inspection to show you everything we can about your vehicle from the comfort of your couch or our waiting room.
If you are experiencing any unusual noises, vibrations, with Audi Quattro or Subaru Symmetrical AWD or are interested in routine preventative maintenance on your BMW call, text, or stop by Import Auto. Our expert technicians will inspect your vehicle with the care you deserve to keep you safe and secure on the road.
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