A drive axle may go bad, but the challenge with repairs can be in first discovering the issue. You have to be aware of any signs and symptoms that can show a damaged or faulty drive axle so that repairs or change can be made as early as possible.
WHAT A DRIVE AXLE IS
The drive axle is basically an axle that is driven by the engine, and in most modern, front-wheel drive cars, the transmission and front axle are actually combined into a part known as a trans-axle. There can be some variation in the design for rear-wheel-drive cars, but for the most part, the assembly is the same. Split with differential and universal joints into two half axles, the drive axle links to each wheel by way of a constant velocity joint, or CV-joint, to provide the wheel assembly more free movement when taking turns. Thus, a working drive axle is obviously crucial to your vehicle’s ability to drive.
A clicking noise during driving, especially when cornering, is an indicator of a drive axle that needs to be changed. It can be difficult to hear, especially if you drive with loud music on, but as soon as you’re aware of it you have to check the wheel or have your vehicle inspected by a professional.
Vibration in the wheel during driving is another sign of a bad drive axle. Fortunately, this sign is more apparent than clicking. Noise and vibration during cornering can just show a problem in the CV joint, which is a cheaper issue to handle, but it still needs to be handled promptly in case there is a larger issue at hand. It is much better to be observant with repairs than assuming the problem is minor, since a malfunction with a drive axle when driving could be dangerous. Also, when the axle is in very bad state it will feel as if you’re driving a vehicle with a warped wheel.
With the car jacked up and supported, move the drive axle up and down. There should be no excessive movement (no more than ½ inch or so).However if you do feel movement, your drive axle is too worn and needs to be changed as soon as possible. This is common especially when the car has a great deal of mileage on the clock, typically more than 100,000 miles.
If you keep these three common signs in mind while driving, knowing a drive axle problem early shouldn’t be difficult.