Today’s vehicles are little miracles of engineering. Your vehicle’s drivetrain is a particularly impressive collection of components that work together to perform critical actions. When these parts are all working efficiently and in unison, your vehicle moves smoothly and fluidly and is highly responsive. When one or more of these parts loses their integrity, any number of issues could ensue and the vehicle could easily wind up immobile.

What, Exactly, Is the Drivetrain?

When you see transmissions for sale, you’re dealing with one of the drivetrain’s components. The drivetrain is technically defined as the group of components that deliver power from the motor to the vehicle’s wheels. The components include the transmission, differential, driveshaft, axles, CV joints and wheels. The drivetrain is responsible for diverting engine power to the front and/or rear of the vehicle. 

What Are the Four Types of Drivetrains?

In a front-wheel drive system, the drivetrain delivers power to the front wheels, while the rear wheels receive no power. They are pulled by the power going to the front wheels. Vehicles with front-wheel drive tend to be good on fuel and provide good traction in snowy conditions.

Vehicles with rear-wheel drive send that same power to the back wheels, which move the vehicle on their own. Because the weight is more evenly spread as the engine sits in the front of the vehicle, these vehicles do not perform well in inclement driving conditions.

All-wheel drive systems direct power to all the wheels of the vehicle based on driving conditions. If a wheel slips, for instance, power will be transferred away from that wheel because a loss of traction has been detected. These vehicles are renowned for their reliability in sketchy driving conditions.

Four-wheel drive systems push power to all of the wheels as equally as possible. This is something that should only be engaged when driving over rough terrain or inclement conditions. Otherwise, the drivetrain is sending power in one of the other ways. 

How Can You Tell When the Drivetrain Is Broken?

The drivetrain wears like any other part of the vehicle. That’s to say that each part wears at its own rate. When the elements of the drivetrain are failing, you will receive signals. When the transmission is failing, for instance, you’ll have trouble shifting gears. If you find sidewall or outer tire damage, you might be dealing with a failing differential.

Can You Work Successfully on Your Drivetrain?

If you’ve got the experience and patience, and are willing to shop tools and equipment, you can certainly make alterations to your drive train components. For instance, you can convert a front-engine car into a mid-mounted engine for rear-wheel drive, which lends power to the back wheels. The cost of fixing your vehicle’s drivetrain depends on many things, including the type of damage, model and vehicle’s year. The drivetrain is the literal connection between your vehicle’s engine and its wheels. Whether you’re talking about Zumbrota transmissions, new CV joints or locking differentials, when the individual components of your vehicle’s drivetrain are well-maintained, you’ll get better performance. Of course, quality parts are important, too. Visit an auto parts store today to get your drivetrain needs met so that your vehicle runs at maximum performance tomorrow.