Driveshaft - Rear

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Driveshaft - Rear
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Driveshaft - Rear at 1A Auto

What is a rear driveshaft and where is it located?

The rear driveshaft transfers power from the transmission to the rear differential to power the rear wheels. Without a driveshaft, your engine could produce all the power in the world and you’d never go anywhere. The driveshaft is an integral part of the drivetrain. 

Rear driveshafts are used in front engine vehicles with rear-wheel drive (RWD), all-wheel drive (AWD), and four-wheel drive (4WD). Four-wheel drive vehicles use both a front and a rear driveshaft. Driveshafts are sometimes called prop shafts. Front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicles have constant velocity axles to power the front wheels and don’t use a rear driveshaft.

The rear driveshaft can be found underneath the body of the vehicle, in the middle, running front to back. Driveshafts attach to the transmission and differential in a few different ways. Some vehicles use universal joints, also known as u-joints or Cardan joints. Universal joints are made up of a cross shaft that typically has a cup with needle bearings inside of it on all four ends of the shaft, and these cups are clamped or clipped in to a receiver that is called a yoke. Other vehicles use a constant velocity joint, also known as a CV joint. A CV joint uses a series of balls and grooves covered with a rubber boot to allow a range of motion. Other vehicles use a rubber flex disc, sometimes referred to as a rag joint, or giubo. The rubber of the flex disc helps keep driveshaft vibrations low.

A longer shaft experiences more torque, so often a long driveshaft may be composed of two pieces. These are types of drive shafts have a driveshaft support that mounts to the underside of the vehicle.

How do I know if my rear driveshaft need to be replaced?

Driveshaft problems usually take the form of a strong vibration under the floor boards. These vibrations may get worse under acceleration. Another sign of driveshaft problems is rattling or clunking noises. These are especially noticeable during gear changes. 

These issues result from a loose or unbalanced driveshaft. The u-joints can wear out over time from exposure to dirt, salt, moisture, and other road hazards. The rubber of the flex plate can become stiff or dry rotted which leads to vibrations. A driveshaft support bearing can also become worn and loose, leading to driveshaft vibrations. Since these parts tend to wear together, you might want to replace all the associated parts along with your driveshaft. 

The easiest way to test for driveshaft problems is to check for driveshaft looseness by hand. If you can move the driveshaft up and down by hand, it’s too lose.

Can I replace a rear driveshaft myself?

Replacing a rear driveshaft is not a highly technical or complicated job, but it is physically demanding. An assistant can definitely help the job go more smoothly. Before you begin, you’ll need to raise and secure the vehicle. You’ll want to set the emergency brake to keep the driveshaft from spinning while you work. Remove the bolts that hold the driveshaft to the differential. You may have to spin the driveshaft to reach all the bolts. Your assistant can help by releasing the emergency brake and putting the transmission into neutral. Once you have the bolts out, carefully lower the rear of the driveshaft. Then, remove the bolts that hold the driveshaft to the flex plate or slide the yoke out of the transmission and carefully lower it. If you are replacing the flex plate or the center support, you can do this while the driveshaft is removed. 

Lift your driveshaft into place and have your assistant hold it in place as you insert the first couple of bolts. From this point, you should be able to reverse the preceding steps to put everything back together. 

Need a rear driveshaft replacement?

While your engine is responsible for generating the power needed for your vehicle’s wheels so that they can turn and your car or truck can move, all of that energy would go to waste without the driveshaft. A damaged driveshaft will instantly impact the performance of your vehicle as it is a key component of the vehicle’s drivetrain. If you have a rear driveshaft that is in need of replacing, look no further than 1A Auto. We carry a large selection of aftermarket rear driveshafts for many makes and models, and at great prices.

At 1A Auto, we make shopping for a replacement rear driveshaft for your car, truck, SUV or van easy—we're here to help you select the right part for your vehicle! Call our customer service toll free at 888-844-3393 if you have any questions about our aftermarket rear driveshafts, warranty, compatibility or to purchase, or you can buy online.

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