Last Updated on 3 months by Ollie Barker
What happens if my drive shaft breaks while driving? Does a broken drive shaft mean the end of your car? Not necessarily. A broken drive shaft can be a real pain, but it doesn’t mean you’ll have to call a tow truck and get your car towed off to the shop.
If your driveshaft breaks while driving, you will end up losing the traction that the drive shaft provides. You will also lose stability in your car since it can no longer rely on its wheelbase. If you are unlucky, it will knock out your ability to control the vehicle.
What Is a Drive Shaft in A Car?
One of the most frequent parts of an automobile’s driveline, the drive shaft connects the transmission (gearbox) and transfer case (in four-wheel drives).
The “driveshaft,” which is essentially a long metal pole that rotates on bearings, transmits torque from the engine to the rest of the drive train (the components that move your automobile).
While some automakers choose carbon fiber, titanium, or aluminum, they are typically composed of alloy steel, bimetal, or chrome vanadium. The length of a drive shaft can vary based on a number of variables, including the necessity for performance and room inside the vehicle’s frame or body.
Thus, any problem with driveshaft can prevent wheels from turning properly
What Happens If My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving?
Your car’s wheels might not be able to be turned, and your car will reportedly eventually stop moving.
It’s not a good thing if your driveshaft fails while driving because it could result in many risky situations.
Additionally, a car with a broken driveshaft may be very difficult for a novice driver to manage, increasing the likelihood of a collision or accident.
In light of this, it is advised that you always pay attention to any strange symptoms you observe in your car.
Failing Drive Shaft Symptoms
To avoid this problem, do regular preventive maintenance on the drive train and ensure all components are adjusted correctly. Before it breaks, there are some signs you can look for:
#1 Intensive Car Vibration
If you find that your car is starting to vibrate a lot more than usual, you may have a driveshaft problem. Additional check engine lights may also appear on your dashboard.
#2 Differential Replacement Needed
If the U-joints of your driveshaft are worn out, they can no longer transmit power evenly to the wheels. You may notice that your wheel is moving more slowly than the others at certain speeds. It will feel like the speed is completely off even though it isn’t.
#3 Broken Knuckle
If you find out that your drive shaft broke at the knuckle, your car could be in trouble. You may notice that there is a lot of metal bending at the knuckle and the vibration is getting worse.
#4 Vibration in Car Shaft
You may experience vibration when accelerating or braking at speeds nearing 50mph. This indicates that the clutch pack between the transmission and the driveshaft needs replacement or adjustment.
#5 Loud Noise
Finally, a loud noise coming from your car when you are driving is a sign of a problem. The noise indicates that the splines connecting the drive shaft to the transmission have been damaged.
What Causes Drive Shaft Break?
Age is the most frequent factor in failure. The cause of driveshaft failures is frequently worn-out or damaged universal joints.
While transferring power from the drive train to your wheels, the universal joints allow each half shaft to flex as necessary. Any of these parts that are not functioning properly can result in excessive force and eventual failure.
Accidents are an additional cause. The driveshaft can frequently break when a vehicle collides with another vehicle or items with its rear wheels (such as when you back into something). The same is true when running into a curb; only the jolt of doing so has been known to destroy drive shafts.
Another potential problem area is the fact that some drive shafts used in trucks and SUVs aren’t adequately protected against salt corrosion, which might cause them to fail after a few years on your car.
Because they are situated underneath shakier portions of the car that are simple to impact, hitting potholes and curbs also raises the potential of damage to them.
How to Handle a Bad Drive Shaft While Driving
It is best to halt the car if your drive shaft breaks while you are moving. Yes, halt your car’s engine and fix the damaged shaft as soon as you can. If you need to continue driving, pull over, stop, and only do so to get the automobile out of traffic.
If you continue operating a vehicle with a broken drive shaft, you endanger yourself and other motorists.
Is Driving with A Broken Drive Shaft Possible?
It is possible to drive with a broken drive shaft, but it’s usually not very wise to do it for long. Prolonged driving will cause complicated complications and cost you a fortune if your drive shaft breaks.
If you are on a city or street drive limit, it is safer to continue driving on a broken drive shaft for a few miles, but doing so on a highway is completely risky. However, this should only be done to pull your car off the road, park it, and contact a tow truck. We can tell you that you can drive with a damaged drive shaft at 5 MPH.
Avoid attempting to drive your automobile with a broken drive shaft to work.
How Long Can I Drive with A Broken Drive Shaft?
Only as long as it will take to stop the car are you allowed to drive on a damaged drive shaft. Stop the automobile immediately, then fix it. Driving on a damaged drive shaft is risky. It could cause an accident or other serious damages that would burn a hole in your pocket.
Some drivers claimed that they had traveled close to 150 kilometers with an injured drive shaft, but it wasn’t a pleasant journey at all.
It’s never safe to drive with a damaged shaft, although some people may do so for up to a year. You’ll see that some drivers attempt to convert their FWD cars to RWD by removing the front drive shaft and using only the back wheels or rear drive shaft.
How Do I Prevent Damage to the Drive Shaft?
Having your driveshaft frequently inspected is the best defense against damage. Your car’s moving parts are all under a lot of stress, and as we all know, stressed out things tend to break. You may save a lot of time, money, and hassle by identifying any possible issues with your driveshaft before they become a major catastrophe.
And if you do manage to break your driveshaft while driving, try to keep in mind this advice to lessen the amount of chaos your broken auto part causes:
- Quickly stop, then remove the car from the line of traffic.
- If you can’t maintain control of the vehicle, turn off the engine.
- To prevent this from occurring again, regularly examine the drive shaft.
Drive Shafts Repair and Replacement
- How much does it cost to replace a drive shaft?
Depending on the vehicle, it typically ranges between $200 and $800.
- Is it possible to fix damaged driveshafts?
Depending on the damage, a drive shaft can frequently be restored. If you want to know if this is an option for you, talk to a mechanic.
- Can I fix a drive shaft on my own?
No, since most people lack the specialized knowledge and equipment needed to fix a drive shaft. It’s advisable to let the experts handle this project.
- How frequently should a drive shaft be replaced?
Depending on the vehicle, the range is often between 50,000 and 100,000 miles. To avoid any issues, it’s crucial to have it inspected frequently.
In order to prevent these problems from occurring altogether, you should have your car serviced by a professional mechanic using a driveshaft repair service. With regular maintenance and tune-ups, most cars can last for over 150,000 miles before issues begin to occur. To be certain that your driveshaft is in good condition, have it inspected every 5000 miles.