Category Archives: Drive Train
The drive train in your vehicle includes all the critical components that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels. Those components differ depending on what type of vehicle you drive, namely, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The preventive maintenance your driveshaft needs will also differ by what type of vehicle you drive.
Let’s start with front-wheel drive. In this vehicle, the transmission and the differential are combined in one component, known as the transaxle. The transaxle is connected to two half-shafts (axles), which are then connected to the wheels with a constant velocity (or CV) joint, which is protected by an airtight rubber boot.
Conder’s Automotive service for this type of driveline includes servicing the transaxle and inspecting the CV boot. If the boot is damaged, the CV joint will need to be inspected, and the boot will need to be replaced. If you hear a clicking noise in your wheel wells when you turn, you may have a damaged CV joint. A damaged CV joint should be replaced.
Rear-wheel drive vehicles generally have a transmission in the front of the car and the differential in the back. A driveshaft (it looks like a long tube) connects the transmission to the differential. Some vehicles may have a two-piece driveshaft, which are connected to the differential with universal joints or U-joints. Again, the differential is connected to two half-shafts that go out to the wheels.
Conder’s Automotive service on the drive train on a rear-wheel drive vehicle starts with servicing the differential. It will need its fluid drained and replaced regularly. The seals on the axles should also be inspected for wear or leaks. Leaking or damaged seals may mean the axle needs to be serviced as well. Also, U-joints can wear out. If you hear clunking or feel a jolt when you shift into drive or into reverse, it could indicate a driveline problem.
All-wheel drive sedans provide power from the transmission to all of the wheels, instead of just to the front or rear. The advantage is that the vehicle can adapt to different driving conditions and transfer more power to the front or back wheels as needed. The disadvantages are that the driveline is more complicated, and the vehicle weighs slightly more.
Many all-wheel drive vehicles are based on a front-wheel drive set-up. They also have a differential in the rear and one in the center of the vehicle that allows power to transfer to the front and rear. A shaft runs from the transfer case to the center differential, and another from the center differential to the rear differential.
Servicing an all-wheel drive at Conder’s Automotive involves servicing ALL of the differentials and inspecting the joints and seals for wear, leaks or damage.
Four-wheel drive vehicles are rear-wheel drive vehicles that have an option to transfer power to the front wheels. In other words, they can be driven as either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles. These vehicles are specifically designed for the harsh driving conditions Mount Juliet auto owners encounter off-road. The driveline in a four-wheel drive vehicle is similar to that of an all-wheel drive vehicle. The center differential, however, is a transfer case. Maintenance requires servicing both of the differentials and the transfer case, as well as an inspection of the joints and seals.
Mount Juliet car owners would be wise to check with their owner’s manual for recommendations on how often to service their sedan drive train. It’s also good auto advice to check with your friendly Conder’s Automotive service specialist as well. You may live in an area in Tennessee where weather or driving conditions require more frequent servicing of the drive train.
If you drive off-road, it is essential to service your driveline more often frequently than the typical recommendation. Conditions encountered off-road around the Nashville area are particularly hard on your driveline.
Good car care at Conder’s Automotive in Mount Juliet always includes taking care of your driveline. Without it, your sedan becomes a very large paperweight.
Conder’s Automotive is located at 441 East Division Street in Mount Juliet. We provide comprehensive auto repair and maintenance services for residents of Mount Juliet, Nolensville, Hermitage, Mount Juliet and Nashville.
Scratching your head? Don’t worry, if you don’t know what a differential is – you will in a moment. That fact is that if you drive a car anywhere in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, you have a differential. Whether your vehicle is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, you have a differential. Some Mount Juliet car owners might even have two or three.
Not surprisingly, a differential’s job is to compensate for differences. Specifically the differences in wheel speed when turning. For instance, imagine taking a corner near your Mount Juliet, Tennessee home. Your inside wheel has a shorter distance to travel than the outside wheel as you turn the corner. That means that your outside wheel has to turn faster to keep pace with the inside wheel.
The differential allows the wheels to turn at different speeds while still providing power to your vehicle. Without a differential, Mount Juliet auto owners’ tires would scrub and hop along the pavement during turns like the early cars.
Ever noticed the big bulge in the middle of the rear axle on trucks? That’s the differential. Rear-wheel drive vehicles have a differential in back. Most four-wheel drive trucks and SUVs will also have a similar differential on the front axle. Front-wheel drive vehicles’ differential is called a transaxle because it combines the differential and transmission in one unit. An all-wheel drive vehicle will have a differential or transfer case that adjusts for speed differences between the front and rear drive wheels.
It can seem a little complex to some Nashville car owners – but you can see that all of the engine’s power is routed through your differentials. They’re strong enough to handle the work, but- we’ve said it before – they need to be properly lubricated in order to stay strong. So from time to time, you need to schedule a differential service in Mount Juliet at Conder’s Automotive. The used fluid is drained and replaced with clean fluid. Some manufacturers advise certain differentials to have special additives installed.
Get your differential serviced at Conder’s Automotive in Mount Juliet.
Recommendations for the time and mileage interval for servicing your differential can vary greatly by vehicle. A front-wheel drive vehicle’s transaxle will need servicing more frequently than the rear differential on a pick-up truck, so check with your Mount Juliet, Tennessee Conder’s Automotive tech or your manufacturers owner’s manual for recommendations.
How and where you drive in Mount Juliet will have a vital impact as well. If you drive on dirt roads or through streams around Nashville, Tennessee, you’ll need to service your differential much sooner than if you always stay on Tennessee freeways.
One Mount Juliet automotive service issue that doesn’t get much attention is driveline service. Drivelines don’t get talked about very much around Mount Juliet, but they’re very important. First let’s define what the driveline is:
Taking a small step back, the power plant is comprised of the engine and transmission. The driveline starts there and includes all of the components that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels.
That’s not really a lot of components, but they handle the full force of the engine. Without the driveline you’re not moving. So we need to take good care of it. The driveline components differ depending on whether your vehicle has front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, all wheel drive or four wheel drive. For purposes of our discussion, we’re going to have to over simplify a bit.
If you are ready to have your drive train looked at, give us a call:
441 East Division Street
Mount Juliet, Tennessee 37209
Call Us at 615-758-1515
Let’s start with front wheel drive. The point where the transmission stops and the driveline begins is a little blurred with front wheel drive because the transaxle houses both the transmission function and the differential function. The half shafts that send power to each front wheel, come out of the transaxle. The shaft is connected to the wheel by a constant velocity, or CV, joint. The CV joint is protected from dirt and water by an airtight, flexible rubber boot.
So, driveline service would include properly servicing the transaxle and inspecting the CV boot to see if it’s torn or loose. If it is, it needs to be replaced and the CV joint inspected for damage. Repairs may be in order. Besides visual damage to the airtight CV boot, you might hear a clicking noise when turning. Recommended maintenance for the transaxle and CV joints will be spelled out in your owner’s manual or check with your Mount Juliet service advisor.
On to rear wheel drive. The driveline for a rear wheel drive vehicle starts with the driveshaft – that long tube that connects the transmission with the differential on the rear axle. Some vehicles in Mount Juliet have a two piece drive shaft. The shafts are connected to the transmission and the differential with big universal joints. You’ve probably heard the term ‘u-joints‘. These joints can wear out, just like the CV joints in front wheel drive vehicles. You may hear some clunking or feel a jolt when shifting into drive or reverse – if you do, get your driveline inspected.
The differential on the rear axle sends power out to each rear wheel through half shafts in the axle. The differential fluid needs to be drained periodically and replaced with clean fluid. When the seal on the end of the axle is damaged or leaks, the axle will need to be serviced. The routine maintenance item here is differential service. Be sure to check your owner’s manual or Mount Juliet service advisor for intervals.
Now let’s go on to all wheel drive. Remember that the difference between all wheel drive and four wheel drive is that an all wheel drive vehicle is essentially providing power to all of the wheels all of the time. The vehicle may be able to shift more of the power to the front or to the back depending on where you need traction. All wheel drive vehicles are designed to work well on dry pavement. Even some high-end sports cars from makers like Lamborghini and Porsche have all wheel drive.
Some all wheel drive vehicles are designed to work well off-road, but all hard-core rock crawlers are four wheel drive. These guys thrive in mud, sand, rocks and hills – but they don’t work well on dry pavement when they’re in four wheel drive. So they have the option to shift to rear wheel drive only on dry pavement.
Most all-wheel drive vehicles are very similar to front wheel drive when it comes to the front end. They also have a center differential that transfers power to the rear differential. Connecting it all is a shaft from the transaxle to the center differential and another from the center differential to the rear differential. So all of the normal front wheel drive service is required as well as service to the center and rear differentials.
Four wheel drive can be thought of as a rear wheel drive vehicle that can also send power to the front axle. There’s a transfer case in the middle of the vehicle that can be shifted to send power through a drive shaft to a differential on the front axle. So you need differential service for the front and rear differentials and for the transfer case as well.
The bottom line is that the maintenance schedules are in your owner’s manual. Your Mount Juliet service advisor can answer any questions you’ve got. If this is the first time you’ve heard some of this stuff – it’s time to ask someone at Conder’s Automotive if any of it needs to be done now.
With front-wheel drive being so common these days in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most folks in Mount Juliet, Tennessee don’t even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don’t need to be serviced for years, so it’s understandable that it’s not something on the top of mind for our Mount Juliet customers. So it’s not uncommon for people to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.
Call Conder’s Automotive at 615-758-1515 for information about differential service, or stop by our Mount Juliet, Tennessee auto center at 441 East Division Street 37209.
To better understand what a differential does, think about our local Mount Juliet high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That’s to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.
The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.
It’s a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars in the Mount Juliet, Tennessee area weigh between three and six thousand pounds – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.
That’s a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool.
The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that breakdown over time. So manufacturers recommend intervals for replacing your differential fluid.
Your Mount Juliet, Tennessee technician at Conder’s Automotive will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. Then he’ll replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.
Your Conder’s Automotive service advisor can look up the manufacturer’s recommended service interval or you can check your owner’s manual. Give us a call at 615-758-1515 for more information about your differential service.
Here at AutoNetTV, we have national viewers, like your neighbors in Mount Juliet, who write to us with questions or feedback. One common question we’re asked is: “What is a differential and what does it do?” You may have been told by your Conder’s Automotive technician that your differential needs service, or seen it as an option up on the service menu. Differential service at Conder’s Automotive covers a lot of things, so let’s first talk about what a differential does.
As you drive through a turn, your outside wheels and inside wheels turn at different speeds. Kind of like the cars going around a race track – the ones driving in the outside lanes have a greater distance to travel than the cars in the inside lanes. The differential is what allows the outside and inside drive wheels to rotate at slightly different speeds so that the tires don’t hop or skip while taking corners, or lose traction in dirt or snow on Nashville freeways. Differentials have gears in them that transfer the power from the drive train to your wheels – which is why they’re often referred to as gear boxes. The gears need to be very strong to do this work, and they need to be properly protected so that they’ll last.
All vehicles in Mount Juliet have some form of differential. If you have a front-wheel drive car, your differential is sometimes called a transaxle and is located in the front. If you have rear-wheel drive, the differential is in the back of the car. If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you will have a differential in the front and the back – and in the middle as well. The center differential adjusts for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.
Differential fluid lubricates and cools the gears. Over time, the fluid can get dirty from bits of the gears grinding off. The additives that keep the fluid clean and protect the differential break down over time. So your auto manufacturer has scheduled intervals for you to have your differential fluid changed.
Differentials are hard working mechanisms, and, along with the gears in a manual transmission, need to be serviced regularly at Conder’s Automotive with high-quality, replacement fluid. Your Nashville technician can give you more information as to when your next differential service is recommended. You can also ask if they have a record of when the service was last completed.
As with most service intervals, if you are driving under more severe conditions in the Nashville area, you will want to service your differential more frequently. “Severe service” conditions are defined in most owners’ manuals, and include: frequent starts and stops, short trips, cold Tennessee weather, hot weather and towing. All these factors add to the stress of the vehicle and its parts. Also, off-roading in Tennessee can be especially hard on differentials, especially if you cross streams. Proper service at Conder’s Automotive will extend the life of your gears and keep them running more smoothly. If you have never had your differential checked, visit http://nashvilleautocare.net/contact-us/ for more information.