The drive train consists of transmission (including a clutch or torque converter), drive shaft and differential, which work together to transfer engine power to the ground.
The transmission allows your engine to run within a range of speeds/gears. The clutch (manual transmission) or torque converter (automatic) decouples the engine from the transmission so that the engine can run when the car is stationary. When you step on the clutch pedal, hydraulic fluid moves the fork to separate the plate from the engine's flywheel, disengaging the engine/power from the transmission as you shift to another gear.
When you release the pedal, springs push the plate against the clutch disc and the flywheel, locking the engine to the transmission shaft, so that they’re spinning at the same speed. Power is transferred to the transmission, through the driveshaft to the wheels. In neutral, no gears are engaged and the engine’s spinning doesn't affect the transmission. Reverse uses an idler gear, spinning the transmission in the opposite direction.
Front- and Rear-Wheel Drive
Most newer cars are front-wheel drive, with the transmission located next to the engine, which sends power to the transmission and differential. In rear wheel drive, the transmission sits behind the engine and sends power to the back via a driveshaft to the differential between the rear wheels--and front wheels are used only for steering.
Telltale Signs of Drive Train Problems
- Gear, clutch or transmission slippage (meaning that gears seem to change for no reason).
- Your car may seem underpowered or slow to accelerate.
- You may hear engine noise/pitch changes.
- Rough shifting.
- Delayed shifting or slow gear engagement.
- Transmission leaks. If you see red/dark red or brown leaks/stains under your car, you may have a leak in the sealed system. Don’t automatically add transmission fluid because over-filling can cause problems too.
- Clicking noises (while turning) or clunking or shuddering are signs of a bad CV (constant velocity) joint. CV boots can tear and crack over time and if severe, the axle may need replacement.
- Clunking during acceleration or high-pitched howling may signal differential problems.
- Bad u-joints may squeak during acceleration or cause clunking when shifting into reverse. Neglected u-joints can break the drive shaft causing an expensive repair. Be sure to get noises investigated early on by your P3 Automotive professional.
- Metal scraping noises in the wheels or steering that drifts to one side may mean malfunctioning wheel bearings. Bearings should typically be cleaned/repacked every 24,000 miles/2 years to prevent expensive failures.
P3 Can Diagnose and Repair Your Drive Train
If you notice problems with gear shifting in your manual or automatic transmission, see the experts at P3 Automotive for a transmission check. Drive train components typically have the longest warranty on your car, but wear-and-tear parts are often not covered.
Trust Your Transmission and Drive Train to Us
Our family-run business has been serving Tallahassee for over 25 years.
Visit P3 Automotive at: 1031 South Magnolia Drive Tallahassee, FL 32301
Call us at (850) 877-8811