The power generated by the engine is put to work by drivetrain for the purpose of moving the wheels and actually getting the car moving. When you combine the engine with the drivetrain, it is referred to as an entire system called the powertrain. In automatic transmission vehicles, the drivetrain system is quite complex, and it features the following components:
* Torque converter
* Propeller shaft
In the case of four-wheel-drive vehicles, the drivetrain is even more complex. Manual transmissions are simpler, and they used to be considered more efficient and reliable than their automatic counterparts, but that has largely changed since about 2012. Modern drivetrains with automatic shifting are not only more powerful but also highly efficient, and they are constantly being improved with new technology. Volkswagen, for example, plans to introduce a limited-edition classic Beetle equipped with an electric drivetrain in 2019. When Toyota released its 2019 Camry to car reviewers, they were thoroughly impressed by the driving performance provided by the hybrid powertrain.
Faulty drivetrain systems tend to be noisy. Let’s say you are driving to work or school in the morning and hear a rumbling sound that increases after you accelerate past 25 miles per hour; in this case, this is indicative of a problem with the carrier bearings. When you sense a metallic smell along with grey smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe, this could mean that the transmission fluid is either very low or leaking.
Howling sounds suggest that gear lubrication is deficient, but they may also be caused by overloading that the drivetrain can no longer handle. Clunking noises that are actually felt when the gears are shifting may be related to driveshaft joints that need to be replaced.
A mechanically efficient drivetrain is the key to enjoying a smooth ride. When new cars are reviewed, the praise that reviewers give to the handling and responsiveness of the vehicle is directly related to the engineering of the drivetrain system. Keeping this system in good condition is paramount not only because of the driving experience but also because major repairs or complete replacement can be very expensive.
Minimizing Drivetrain Repair Through Proper Maintenance
Modern drivetrain systems can be incredibly resilient, but this can be a problem unto itself when drivers ignore warning signs. You certainly want to avoid major drivetrain, and this is something you can accomplish with routine maintenance. Auto service technicians know that keeping drivetrain components lubricated is essential; for this reason, they will look at the gears, bearings, and joints whenever you report hearing certain noises. Greasing the constant-velocity (CV) and universal (U) joints, for example, is a reasonably priced maintenance service that can go a long way towards extending the life of the drivetrain system.
Even replacement of the rubber boots housing the CV joints is a simpler and more affordable repair than having to replace the axle. Keep in mind that these boots keep the grease in place; once they crack, the lubrication stops and the joints plus the axle assembly could be damaged.
In addition to keeping the transmission fluid at recommended levels, the differential or gearbox requires replacement of oil plus additives at intervals recommended by the automaker. When this service is performed, technicians look at the condition of the gasket to determine if replacement is needed. Similar to the CV joint boots, the gasket keeps the lubricating fluids within the differential for the purpose of reducing gear friction. This type of maintenance service is a bit more involved, but it does not cost thousands of dollars you would have to pay for a transmission replacement.
Finally, modern drivetrain systems are equipped with an array of electronic sensors and controllers that may be replaced from time to time. When the vehicle is scanned, a management module can report on the status of a sensor and whether it needs to be replaced. Drivetrain maintenance is something you do not want to skip; as previously mentioned, full replacement of major components is something you will want to avoid, and it can be avoided.