Drive Axles and Universal Joints

Universal Joints are used to transfer mechanical power between two shafts.  These can commonly be found in areas such as drive shafts.  If your vehicle is rear wheel drive, you will have a drive shaft that will transfer power to the rear end gears.  The universal joints connect the drive shaft on both sides (to the transmission and the differential). 

Symptoms of Failing Universal Joint (U-Joint)

  • Vibration felt inside the vehicle during higher speeds.
  • Fluid leak from the transmission (where the driveshaft meets the transmission).
  • A clunk sound when shifting from Drive to Reverse and back to Drive.  Sometimes you will also hear a ringing noise after the clunk sound.
  • A squeaking sound when starting to move the vehicle in gear.

A failed universal joint while you are driving can either leave you waiting for a tow truck, or it could end very badly.  If the U-Joint connected to the transmission fails and breaks off, the driveshaft will drop to the ground, and has the potential to flip the vehicle end-over-end.  So, this isn’t something you can push off until later.  U-Joints must be inspected frequently, and if you are hearing suspicious sounds, then we need to have a look.  It never hurts to take a look, unless it’s after something that could have been avoided.  If you suspect you may have a Universal Joint going bad, come in or call us today.