Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingDriveshaft and Drivetrain Cost To Replace Driveshaft: Do You Repair It Or Replace It?

Cost To Replace Driveshaft: Do You Repair It Or Replace It?

by Jordan Harris
What Does A Driveshaft Do

For a vehicle to move from a stationary position, a driveshaft has to transmit power from the engine and gearbox to the car’s rear wheel. The drive shaft, or a propeller shaft as some call it, is one of the most vital parts of a vehicle. Due to its essential nature to the car’s movement, you might wonder about the cost to replace driveshaft.

Replacing a driveshaft costs about $300 to $1300. The cost depends on the car’s make and model. While getting a replacement driveshaft, ensure that it is of proper compatibility with your car engine and transmission.

The driveshaft is necessary for four-wheel-drive cars and rear-wheel-drive cars. It acts as a conduit for torque and power from the engine at the front to the rear wheels. An improper working driveshaft will need urgent repair or replacement. This article will explain the cost of replacing the driveshaft and elaborate on the signs that indicate a faulty driveshaft.

Drive Shaft

Another name for a driveshaft is a propeller or prop shaft. It is a part of a car’s drive train. The purpose of a driveshaft is to deliver power from the transmission to the wheels, especially the back wheel.

Primarily, a driveshaft transmits power between parts that are within a far distance or location from each other. The driveshaft is a vital component of a front-engine four-wheel-drive car or rear-wheel-drive car. Their drive shafts are always long to connect the opposite sides of the vehicle.

Different cars use different types of driveshaft. The differences are usually according to the car design. Asides from vehicles, other machines like motorcycles, boats, and locomotives also use driveshafts for their operation.

Some vehicles, like the four-wheel drive, have two driveshafts transmitting power back and forth from the engine. The mechanism of a driveshaft depends on a car manufacturer’s design of the drivetrain. Due to the immense importance of the driveshaft, it is vital to repair any defaults and replace them when necessary.

Cost To Replace Driveshaft

Drive Shaft Repair

Due to torque transfer between the transmission and the wheels, your driveshaft undergoes an immense load in its lifetime. This load causes the driveshaft to develop issues and fail over time. When a driveshaft develops faults, repairing it is necessary to restore your vehicle to top working order. Lack of repair will result in a broken driveshaft.

A broken driveshaft will render your vehicle immobile. There will be no transmission of power to the wheels. Often driveshafts fail during an accident. But repairing the driveshaft will make the car driveable again. Most times, the problem on the driveshafts are relatively simple problems that you can fix yourself.

Suppose the driveshaft has not completely snapped but only has distortion due to pressure from nearby components like the U-joint and the center bearing support. A simple repair may solve the problem.

Repairing a driveshaft is a simple job you can do without much mechanical knowledge. There are no special tool requirements, only standard garage tools, and a car jack. Follow the steps below to repair your driveshaft: 

Cost To Replace Driveshaft, Repair Process: Step One

Unscrew the bolts holding the drive shafts. There are often four bolts holding the driveshaft to your car’s sides. Remove the driveshaft after unscrewing the bolts and keep the bolts in a secure place to avoid losing them.

Cost To Replace Driveshaft, Repair Process: Step Two

After removing the driveshaft, remove the universal joint by removing the retaining clips. The clips hold the universal joint to the driveshaft. They are four retaining clips, remove them all and secure them to prevent losing them.

Cost To Replace Driveshaft, Repair Process: Step Three

Once the clips are off, apply pressure on the universal joint and pop it off. Remove it from the driveshaft. Usually, applying this pressure requires the use of a special press to press it downwards.

Cost To Replace Driveshaft, Repair Process: Step Four

Remove the bearing cap after pressing the universal joint. Do the same for other bearings. They are usually four bearings.

Cost To Replace Driveshaft, Repair Process: Step Five

Clean and prep the driveshaft. Clean off dirt and debris from it and ensure the driveshaft has no bends or cracks. If they are signs of breakage, it is best to replace them at this point to retain reliability.

Cost To Replace Driveshaft, Repair Process: Step Six

After cleaning the driveshaft, mount on a new universal joint and fix the driveshaft with the bolts and clips going back where it came from. Apply grease after fixing it for protection against rust and natural elements.

Driveshaft repair is relatively straightforward. But, if you have no trust in yourself to get it right, take your vehicle to a garage. Sometimes a simple repair might not be enough. In that case, a replacement is the best.

Drive Shaft Replacement

All types of cars except front-wheel drive cars use driveshaft for their operations. A car driveshaft rarely fails, but the joints and bearings are susceptible to wear with time when the joints and bearing wear. Replacing the entire driveshaft package is more straightforward than just the worn-down parts.

Some parts of the driveshafts are not repairable. Instead, they need a replacement. No matter the reason for a replacement, it is essential to replace the driveshaft as an assembly than the individual part. The best part is that you can replace your car driveshaft with the right tools and a little know-how. 

Cost To Replace Driveshaft: How To Replace A Driveshaft Yourself

Replacing a driveshaft differs from one car’s make and model. But, it follows a general modus operandi. Consult your manual to find out how to replace your vehicle’s driveshaft. These tools are necessary when replacing a driveshaft:

  • Wheel chocks
  • Fluid catch pan
  • Repair manual
  • Torque wrench
  • Ratchet and socket set
  • Liquid paper or whiteout
  • Wrench set
  • Safety glasses

Generally, you can replace a car driveshaft using the procedure below. We must note that this is a general overview. Consult your manual to determine how to replace it before you start tinkering with the vehicle, or visit a mechanic. Follow these procedures to replace a car driveshaft:

Cost To Replace Driveshaft: Driveshaft Removal

  • Ensure you put on your safety glasses for protection purposes.
  • Using a jack, raise and support the car steadily. Ensure the jack is steady and fit. Check the car’s rear wheels and put on the vehicle’s parking brake.
  • Make alignment marks using the whiteout. The alignment is between the driveshaft and the pinion flange of the differentia. Mark the alignment between the driveshaft and the transfer case. You must know the driveshaft’s positioning within the drivetrain.
  • Place a fluid catch pan under the transmission seal to catch any fluid leakage while removing the driveshaft.
  • Unhook the fasteners and the yoke retainers that hold the driveshaft in place to the differential.
  • Disengage the driveshaft from the pinion flange by sliding it forward. Lower the driveshaft and remove it from the transmission attachment.
  • Once the driveshaft fully detaches, remove it from the vehicle.

Cost To Replace Driveshaft

Cost To Replace Driveshaft: New Driveshaft Installation

  • Ensure that the new driveshaft is the same design and compatible with your car’s transmission system.
  • Grease the slip yoke splines and insert the driveshaft’s yoke into the car transmission. Use a sliding movement for the insertion, and ensure it matches the alignment marks you made.

NOTE: Do not damage the transmission output seal while sliding the yoke splines into the transmission. 

  • Mount the driveshaft towards the pinion flange and return the retainers and fasteners. Ensure the alignment marks match the new driveshaft location.
  • Tighten the fasteners onto the driveshaft with a torque wrench, and follow the manual’s instructions.
  • Come out from underneath the vehicle and remove the car jack gently.
  • Check the fluid levels and add more transmission fluid to the total capacity. Do not forget there must have been leakage from the output seal while installing.

Driveshaft replacement is necessary for your vehicle to function correctly. At the sign of any fault, ensure to replace the driveshaft and prevent getting stranded while driving. A broken driveshaft can cause accidents that might result in death.

Drive Shaft Replacement Cost

Factors such as model and make highly affect the driveshaft replacement cost. Driveshaft replacement costs around $300 to $1300, including the parts and labor. Some car driveshaft replacement prices are as high as $2000.

The driveshaft costs about $300 to $1000, depending on the vehicle model. The labor costs about $100 to $300 and takes about two hours. But, heading to a car dealership for replacement costs slightly more than a regular repair shop.

Cost To Replace Driveshaft

You can also consider doing the replacement yourself to save cost. In some vehicles that have two driveshafts, only one might need a change. Do not attempt self-replacement if you do not have the mechanical knowledge. Better to be safe and take the vehicle to a repair shop.

Drive Shaft Repair Cost

Repairing most driveshaft faults is possible. Except the driveshaft is broken, the flaw might be repairable. Driveshaft repairs are cheaper than replacement. They also take the same time as the replacement (2-3 hours) to repair.

Driveshaft repair costs are according to the repair timeframe and the extent of damage on the driveshaft. It costs around $300 to $1000 to repair a driveshaft. The cost variations differ according to the car model and the driveshaft cost. But labor costs from $100 to $200.

Bad Drive Shaft Symptoms

A bad driveshaft will show some signs while failing. However, these signs are easy to mistake for other problems. It isn’t easy to distinguish the causative factor of the symptoms unless the driveshaft breaks in half. Of all the driveshaft components, the universal joint wears the most.

Here are some signs that show a fault in the driveshaft:

Cost To Replace Driveshaft, Symptoms: #1. Clunking Noise

If your car makes a clunking noise, it is probably the driveshaft U-joints. The U-joints must have loose components or wear that produces a noise when driving.

Cost To Replace Driveshaft, Symptoms: #2. Vibrations

An unbalanced driveshaft can cause excessive vibrations in a car while driving. The vehicle might also shudder during acceleration due to an imbalance in the driveshaft. Fixing an unbalanced driveshaft is easy and costs at most $300.

Cost To Replace Driveshaft, Symptoms: #3. Immobility

A bad driveshaft will not be able to transmit torque from the engine at the front to the rear wheel. Hence the vehicle will be unable to move. If the engine is running and the car won’t move, it might be due to the driveshaft.

Cost To Replace Driveshaft, Symptoms: #4. Difficulty In Turning

A bad driveshaft will cause rigidity in the wheels, making turning difficult. The wheels will not have enough power to make turns as sharp and fast as they should. Although difficulty in turning might be due to numerous other causes, the driveshaft is a major reason.

If you get any of these symptoms, check your driveshaft and fix or replace it. Your vehicle should have a good functioning driveshaft, or you risk accidents.

Drive Shaft Problems

Driveshafts tend to have some problems when faulty. The most typical problem of a driveshaft is from the U-joints. The U-joints have bearings that help them move freely. These bearings tend to wear out quickly. The bearings will require a U-joint replacement.

The central driveshaft rarely develops faults. Instead, the connecting parts are the problem surrounding a driveshaft. Driveshaft problems cause issues to a vehicle. These issues include vibrations and shuddering while driving, loud noises due to loose bearings, and turning difficulty due to a lack of power to the rear wheel.

Drive Shaft Vibrations

Driveshaft vibrations occur due to worn U-joints and slip splines, out-of-place yokes, imbalance driveshaft, misaligned angles, and when the yoke ears are not concentric with the splines. Diagnosing vibration issues correctly and fixing them is vital to prevent further damage to the drivetrain.

Most times, driveshaft vibrations occur in orders of threes. The first-order vibration occurs due to out-of-balance components in the driveshaft. The second-order vibration occurs due to failing U-joints and drive axle problems.

The third-order vibrations give three shakes due to cracks and breaks in the driveshaft. Always take the car to a mechanic for any vibration for diagnosis and fix. Ignoring driveshaft vibration will only damage the drivetrain further.

Drive Shaft Joint

A driveshaft joint is part of a car driveshaft that allows the driveshaft to have free movement for suspension travel. The driveshaft joint allows for length adjustment during a car’s suspension height change alongside the driveshaft. 

The driveshaft joint goes hand in hand with the driveshaft to transfer torque to the rear wheel of most vehicles. Proper maintenance of the driveshaft joint includes lubricating and regularly changing the bearings before they completely wear out.

Always run a routine check on your car’s driveshaft. Faulty driveshaft joints give squeaky noise and can affect the drivetrain system.

Drive Shaft Assembly

A driveshaft assembly is the complete set of components that comprises the driveshaft. It includes universal joints, yokes, propeller shafts, and slip splines. The driveshaft assembly looks like a rod.

It transfers power from the engine at the front to the rear wheels. It is safe to say that the driveshaft assembly drives the vehicle. Front-wheel cars do not have a driveshaft assembly. Instead, they use a transaxle. A transaxle is a combination of an axle and a transmission.

It is essential for the driveshaft assembly not to be rigid. This need for lack of rigidity is because of the up and down vibration of the drivetrain axles during acceleration and braking.

Your car driveshaft assembly is a crucial part of your car. It must work efficiently at all times. An inefficient driveshaft assembly makes for low-performance and low-drivability cars. Resolve any problem with your car driveshaft assembly as soon as possible. You can use any professional car mechanic or car dealership shop.

Drive Shaft Bushings

Driveshaft bushing is a component of the driveshaft assembly. It keeps the propeller from moving out of alignment during hard acceleration. The driveshaft busing removes any traction loss and wheel hop in the driveshaft. 

The bushings hold the joint bearings from rubbing against each other heavily. The driveshaft bushing usually lasts for a long time, but sometimes they wear due to hard use. You must replace the bushing when they wear.

Rebuilt Drive Shafts

The amount of load your driveshaft takes can cause it to incur damages. With each gear drop and acceleration, your driveshaft absorbs torque to transfer to the car differential. The bearing will take a whole lot of work, so also the shaft itself, and it can get bent. However, a driveshaft can be rebuilt instead or replaced.

Rebuilding the driveshaft will involve cutting and replacing the damaged portion, especially the shaft rod. The replacement can be secondhand material. Many mechanic shops do the rebuilding of driveshafts. Rebuilding your driveshaft instead of complete replacement is more budget-friendly. But, it is not always long-lasting.

FAQs On Cost To Replace Driveshaft

What Is A Drive Shaft

A driveshaft is a car part that comprises a propeller, yoke, slip spinner, universal joints, and bearings. It is an essential part of a car because it connects its transmission and the wheels.

What Does The Drive Shaft Do

The driveshaft is responsible for absorbing and transmitting the torque from the gearbox to the car differential. The differential sends the torque to the car’s back wheels for movement initiation. Therefore, your car driveshaft needs to work efficiently at all times.

How To Replace U Joints

Replacing a U joint is not a difficult task. You can replace your car’s U joints by doing the following: jack the vehicle, empty the transmission fluid, create alignment marks, and remove the clips and bolts holding the driveshaft to the transmission. Dislodge the yoke to remove the driveshaft, detach the bearing rings from the yoke, replace the bearings, clean the driveshaft and replace.

What Is A Drive Line

A car driveline is the force factor of a vehicle. It moves power from the car transmission and engine to the car wheels. A car driveline includes the driveshaft, joints, wheels, differential, and axles. A car lacking any component of the driveline will not move. The engine will run, but the wheels will not move because of a lack of power.

How Long Can You Drive With A Bad U Joint

You cannot drive a car with a bad U joint for more than a few hours. Without the joints, the car driveshaft will not rotate freely. The level of damage on the joint will determine how long you can drive the car, but it cannot be for more than a few miles. A lousy car joint can induce transmission fluid leak, another damning factor while driving. If your car has a transmission leak, not only will it quench after about 200 miles, it might cause severe damage to the transmission system.

What Happens If My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving

If your driveshaft breaks while driving, your car will lose power at the steering. Your car will not be able to move backward or forwards at all. You will have no ability to accelerate, and the portion of the driveshaft hitting the floor will raise sparks that can cause further damage to other car parts or, worse, start a fire. A broken driveshaft means a break in power transmission to the wheels.

How Much To Replace A Car Axle

The replacement cost of an axle depends on the car’s make and model. But, replacing an axle costs an average of $800 to $1000. Replacing an axle will depend on the damage it has. You can repair it if the damage is minor. However, if the damage is much, it is best to replace it.

Can You Drive With A Broken Transfer Case

Yes, a car that has a broken transfer case can drive. But we do not recommend that. Driving your car if the transfer case breaks is a horrible idea. It will severely damage other car components like the transmission, axle, and driveshaft. Further damage means more money you will spend to repair or replace them.

How Much Is A Drive Shaft

Buying a new driveshaft costs about $300 to $1300, depending on the car’s make and model. Some car driveshafts are costlier than others. Aftermarket driveshafts might be cheaper, but getting the ones from your car manufacturers is better.

How To Replace A Drive Shaft

Replacing a driveshaft is not complicated. You can do it following these steps. First, raise the vehicle with a jack and remove the driveshaft by carefully unhooking the bolt and fasteners. Replace the driveshaft and clean and grease the yoke and other components. Then, fasten the bolts back, close the fluid seal and remove the jack carefully.

What Causes Drive Shaft Failure

Numerous things can cause your driveshaft to fail. They include a lack of lubrication of the joint and bearing, an out-of-place unit or loose bolts, and intense driving, especially on rough roads.

Why Does My Drive Shaft Keeps Breaking

Your driveshaft will always break if you drive roughly on bad roads. Suppose there is excess stress going to the driveshaft. Suppose the joints are stiff due to a lack of lubrication and an excessive play between the parts moving within the driveshaft.

Where Is The Drive Shaft Located

The driveshaft is underneath the car, between the car gearbox and the drivewheel. Front-wheel vehicles do not have a driveshaft, but they have axles. At the same time, some rear-wheel cars have two drive shafts. If you look under the car, you will see the long tube-like rod of the driveshaft.

Conclusion On Cost To Replace Driveshaft

A driveshaft is the power transmitter between the engine and the transmission to the wheels. Without it, your car will not move. This power transfer makes the driveshaft as necessary as the engine itself. Any damage to the driveshaft will reflect the vehicle’s smooth running and warrant a fast repair or replacement.

The cost of replacing a driveshaft is around $300 to $1300. However, you can replace it yourself if you have the technical know-how. Due to the relevance of the driveshaft, we recommend routine checks and maintenance on your car.

You may also like

Leave a Comment