Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Driveshaft

A driveshaft is a cylindrical shaft that transmits torque from the engine to the wheels. They are most commonly found on rear-wheel drive vehicles and connect the rear of the transmission to the driveshaft. As the output shaft of the transmission rotates it spins the driveshaft, which then turns the differential ring gear to rotate the wheels.

Driveshafts are a very precisely balanced and weighted component because they rotate at very high speeds and torque values in order to turn the wheels. When the driveshaft has any sort of issue, it can affect the drivability of the vehicle. Usually, a problem with the driveshaft will produce 4 symptoms that alert the driver of an issue that should be addressed.

1. Intense Vibrations from Underneath the Vehicle

One of the first symptoms of a problem with the driveshaft is vibrations coming from underneath the vehicle. If the driveshaft universal joint (U-joint) or bushings wear out, it can cause excessive driveshaft vibration.

Driveshafts are finely balanced before installation to ensure they do not vibrate. Any sort of vibration indicates an issue. An excessively vibrating driveshaft will not only cause vibrations that can be felt by the passengers, but it can also cause accelerated wear on other drivetrain components.

2. Abnormal Noises

Abnormal noises are another symptom of a problem with the driveshaft. If the bushing or bearing that supports the driveshaft or the driveshaft U-joints wear out or fail, they can interfere with the driveshaft’s ability to rotate correctly. This may result in unusual rattling, clunking, scraping, or even squeaking sounds from underneath the vehicle. U-joint in need of lubrication may also cause a squeaking noise at low speeds. Clicking or knocking sounds specifically can signify a faulty CV joint. Any noises such as these are an indicator that the vehicle should be serviced as soon as possible.

3. Turning Problems

Problems with turning the vehicle is another likely sign of a bad driveshaft. A broken driveshaft can prevent wheels from turning properly, giving you trouble when trying to make turns. This issue limits your overall control of the car. You need any issues that prevent you from driving the car correctly addressed right away for safe driving and continued use of the vehicle.

4. Shuddering During Acceleration

Experiencing a significant shudder when accelerating from low speed or a stopped position, it can be another sign of failing driveshaft components. A loose U-joint or bad center bearing within the driveshaft may cause the faltering acceleration. You may also hear sounds while the car is shuddering from the worn-out U-joint. You’ll want to have such issues checked out as soon as possible by a certified mechanic.

Driveshafts are an important part of the drivetrain, and any issues with them can greatly affect the drivability of the vehicle. As they are underneath the vehicle and connected to the transmission, they may be difficult to access and service on your own. If you suspect your driveshaft is having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician to determine whether the driveshaft should be replaced.


Next Step

Schedule Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(149,537)

Rating Summary
140,027
5,194
1,055
749
2,512
140,027
5,194
1,055
749
2,512

Keith

18 years of experience
335 reviews
Keith
18 years of experience
Lexus IS300 - Alternator - Winter Haven, Florida
Prompt, professional, and great service!
Honda Civic - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Kissimmee, Florida
Excellent service. Highly recommended.

Joe

43 years of experience
780 reviews
Joe
43 years of experience
BMW 328i - Check Engine Light is on - Valrico, Florida
Very fast and friendly. Offer solutions instead up trying to upsell unnecessary items. Will definitely be rebooking for any future maintenance and fixes.
Kia Sportage - Noise from engine or exhaust - Palm Harbor, Florida
Joe diagnosed and found my problems in no time, he is very thorough and competent!!! I have recommended him to my mother and my daughter.

Eliud

23 years of experience
123 reviews
Eliud
23 years of experience
Ram 1500 - Vehicle Drivetrain - Snellville, Georgia
Eliud was punctual and knowledgeable about my vehicle. Solved the issue within the half hour

Eugenio

26 years of experience
133 reviews
Eugenio
26 years of experience
Honda Pilot - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Fairfax, Virginia
Professional and efficient. Fair price.

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

Symptoms of Bad or Failing Differential / Gear Oil
If your car has exceeded its gear oil service interval, or if you hear the differential whining, you may need to replace the differential/gear oil.
Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Intermittent Wiper Relay
Common signs include the wiper blades only working on one speed or a different speed than you selected, not working at all, and making humming noises.
How to Troubleshoot a Car That Makes Clunking Noises Over Bumps
Cars that make clunking noises as they drive over bumps may have worn struts or leaf spring shackles, or damaged control arms or shock absorbers.

Related questions

Engine knock and low engine power

Hi there: The problem with trying to diagnose a ticking issue remotely is the fact that it could be multiple; yet completely different mechanical systems that are causing this issue; ranging from the timing chain being loose, to fuel system...

My car makes a whirring noise and the check engine light is on with codes P0741 and P0700

The noise you are hearing is the transmission is having problems internally with the torque convertor clutch and valve body. The code P0741 has a long list of possible problems all pertaining with the torque convertor and valve body of...

There is a humming coming from the front tire. I checked the tire for a possible wheel bearing issue but the vertical shake of tire was solid.

A tight feeling when shaking the tire vertically does not always completely rule out the wheel bearing. A technician with a stethoscope or electronic hearing device can listen to the wheel as it is rolling and compare the type of...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com