Propshaft Universal Joint

Before proceeding to understand how a propshaft is used in a car, let us understand what this device is. A propshaft, also known by other names such as driving shaft or driveshaft consists of a mechanical component, responsible for transmitting rotation and torque. It is typically used to connect the different components of a drive train, which cannot be connected directly due to distance or for the need to permit relative movement between those different components. Cars depend on various types of mechanical devices in order to generate power required to operate it. These parts need to be strong enough to transmit power even after handling several stressors. The propshaft is a typical example of such a mechanical component. You will find the propshaft universal joint (U-joint) on the majority of 4-wheel and rear wheel drive vehicles. The purpose of this joint is to connect rotating shafts, aligned at different angles to each other. The U-joint compensates for the misalignment between the different shafts in any direction. It is also employed in case the alignment between the shafts is nearly 30 degrees or less than that. These joins are used typically on the rear and front drive shafts of most vehicles, as well as the front axle of certain vehicles. They are the connection point, which permits the smooth delivery of torque.

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Function

The drive shafts' primary function is to deliver torque from one or additional parts of a car to other components. They often are employed to transfer torque from the transmission and engine to the other end of the vehicle before the torque enters the wheels of the vehicle. Oftentimes, a pair of smaller drive shafts often is employed to carry torque to the wheels from a transaxle.


Drive shafts also have to bear shear stress or force applied parallel to material. They also have to ensure torsion, in which an object twists as a result of torque. The design of the prop shafts is such that they can easily carry the forces without adding sufficient weight to enhance the resistance or inertia of such forces. The prop shaft often make use of rods, couplings, or joints, which permit bending of the shaft. This helps to compensate for variations or changes in the distance between the different components.


Symptoms of a bad propshaft

If you hear a squeaking sound when accelerating your vehicle after starting it, or notice the same noise when driving your car at slow speeds, you can be sure that the problem is due to a malfunctioning propshaft. The other signs include a vibration or shuddering sense when driving your vehicle or accelerating, and a clunking type of noise when shifting gears. If your propshaft is not working properly, you might hear a clicking type of sound at the vehicle's front when turning it. You might also notice rust coming out of the grease seals. If you notice any of the abovementioned signs, you can be 100% sure that the problem is with your vehicle's propshaft universal joint. Get it inspected and fixed by a professional.