Axles are an important part of the wheel system but are a component that many vehicle owners neglect. To ensure proper vehicle maintenance, it’s good to have a basic knowledge of what the axle does and why it’s important. You should also familiarize yourself with how to tell if your axle is malfunctioning and what to do to have it repaired.
The Basics of Your Axles
You should first understand the axle’s role within the vehicle. All wheeled vehicles have axles. Axles are used for steering, driving, and braking, meaning they are important for basically every aspect of vehicle use.
Essentially, the axles transfer power and torque from your engine to your wheels. In performing this key function, the axle must be able to sustain the entire weight of the vehicle, cargo and passengers. The axle must also withstand the accelerated forces of driving and braking.
Two Types of Axle
There are two basic types of automobile axle. The first is called the drive axle, which is connected to the driveshaft. The driveshaft is basically just a rod that extends up into the vehicle’s transmission and connects with the engine. The engine itself helps turn the axle, then.
The other type of axle is the dead axle, which is not connected to the engine at all. It turns only when the vehicle is in motion, caused by the drive axle. Dead axles are present in your vehicle to help support the weight of the car.
When Your Axle is in Disrepair
Since axles have to sustain such tremendous weight, they are obviously made to be robust. Even so, as with any part of the vehicle, the axles can fall into disrepair. Over time, wear and tear can weaken them and perhaps lead to the need for axle replacement.
There are a few telltale signs that your axles are in need of some work:
- If you put your car into gear and hear a sudden clunking sound, that’s a dead giveaway that there is a problem with the axle.
- If you encounter vibrations throughout the car, either when driving, braking, or turning, that could point to an axle issue.
- Finally, if your car sounds like it’s running fine but it simply won’t move, that’s clearly a sign that something is awry—and more likely than not, the culprit is the axle.
A broken axle is a serious problem and should not be ignored, for the sake of your safety as well as the health of the vehicle. It is vital that you address a broken axle as soon as possible by taking your car to a reputable mechanic.