A driveshaft that does not work properly should be assessed quickly and replaced or repaired. In this article, we will explain the replacement cost as well as the symptoms and signs that may appear.
We have previously covered car axle replacement costs for front-wheel-drive cars, where we mentioned the transaxle and CV joints.
In rear-wheel and four-wheel-drive cars, a drive shaft is necessary to transfer the power and torque from the engine at the front to the wheels at the back.
In the following sections, we will explain everything you need to know regarding the drive shaft, including the replacement cost, repair cost, and other things you should consider when dealing with the drive shaft.
Let’s dive right into the guide!
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Should You Replace Or Repair A Drive Shaft?
As previously mentioned, many signs and symptoms can appear if the drive shaft does not work properly.
In most cases, if the drive shaft splits, a replacement is the way to go.
Sometimes other parts near the driveshaft can be the true cause such as the U-joint, slip joint, center support bearing, and more. In those cases, a repair will suffice.
Drive Shaft Replacement Cost
When replacing a drive shaft, all the aforementioned parts will usually be replaced alongside the drive shaft itself.
The cost of a drive shaft depends on the type of car you drive. Cars with a lot of power or large SUVs tend to have drive shafts that cost more than regular sedans or coupes.
As a rough guide, a drive shaft costs between $300 and $1300. If you are buying the drive shaft yourself, make sure it is compatible specifically with your car model, engine, and transmission.
In terms of labor, it should not take more than two hours. In most cases, it takes about an hour to replace a drive shaft.
This means the total cost will be around $400 to $1500 including labor and parts. You could save a few bucks by replacing the driveshaft yourself as it is not a very difficult process.
Keep in mind that the type of car, model and drivetrain will affect the price but also remember that drive shafts can differ greatly between models, drivetrain, transmission, and engine.
In other words, two cars of the same make, model, year, and engine can have different types of drive shafts if one has a manual transmission, while the other has an automatic one.
This is not always the case but it is important to consider when buying a new drive shaft.
Drive Shaft Repair Cost
A drive shaft that has broken into two pieces cannot be repaired. However, in many cases, the problem can be due to a joint or another part that works together with the drive shaft.
If you find this to be the case, a repair can often be performed. These repairs are usually far cheaper than a drive train replacement and take about the same amount of time as a replacement.
For example, a center-bearing replacement will cost you around $300 including parts and labor. This also applies to a U-joint replacement
Symptoms Of A Bad Drive Shaft
Before you replace a drive shaft, it is important to determine whether or not the drive shaft needs to be replaced. Unless the drive shaft has broken in half, it can be difficult to differentiate between the possible problems.
In the following sections, you will see the most common signs and symptoms of a bad drive shaft.
Noises Under The Car
When you hear clunking under the car, it is possible that the U-joints have gone bad.
As previously stated, the drive shaft consists of multiple parts and joints that all can produce noise when they do not work as intended.
Excessive vibrations can also be a sign of a faulty drive train. This could be caused by the same issue as any concerning noises.
A common reason vibrations occur is that the drive shaft is unbalanced. If the shaft is not bent but only unbalanced, it is an easy fix that should not cost more than $300.
A rough shuddering may occur when accelerating, which could resemble a problem with the ignition coils or spark plugs even though the drive shaft is the true culprit.
Car Will Not Move
If no power is sent to the rear wheels of a rear-wheel-drive car, it will be unable to move. If the engine is running but you are unable to move your car, the drive train may be the cause.
If you are unaware that the drive shaft is damaged and then try to drive, you might hear loud sounds as the shaft hits the car repeatedly without the car moving.
A drive shaft is usually seen in rear-wheel-drive cars. Its purpose is to transfer the power and torque produced by the engine at the front to the rear wheels.
Four-wheel-drive cars may have two drive shafts, one in the front and one toward the rear. Front-wheel-drive cars have transaxles, and CV joints as the engine is very close to the powered wheels.
In many cases, a drive shaft repair is sufficient to tackle any problems that occur related to the drive shaft.
These are the parts associated with the drive shaft, such as the U-joint, center support bearing, slip joint, and more.
Not all drive shafts look the same or have the same parts, which is why it is important to inspect the drive shaft of your car carefully.
The drive shafts can even differ on the same model depending on the type of transmission, engine, and drivetrain. This means it is important to ensure that you use a drive shaft that is specific to your car.
Because of the vast differences between drive shafts, the price also differs greatly. In most cases, a new drive shaft costs somewhere between $300 and $1300. Fortunately, it only takes about an hour to replace it.
A repair usually costs much less, around $200 to $300 including parts and labor, but this also depends on how many parts need to be replaced.
Whatever the case may be, it is important to fix a drive shaft as soon as possible. Some symptoms and signs that may appear include vibrations, noises under the car, and an unmovable car.