Auto Repair: What happens when an axle shaft breaks?

 

axle shaftA broken axle shaft is a pretty serious repair. If your axle shaft breaks, it can cause all sorts of problems for your transmission system. Here are a few of the most common questions we get.

What are the signs and symptoms of a broken axle?

Here are five signs and symptoms to watch for:

  1. Oil stains on your driveway: Puddles of oil on your driveway are usually one of the earliest signs of an axle leak. These stains will be particularly noticeable after you’ve been parked for a few hours, as the fluid has more time to drip down from your car and collect on the ground.
  2. Strange fluid behind the left-front wheel. This is where the driveshaft connects to the transmission. If you do a lot of highway driving the oil drops on the driveway may not always be present—but you might notice drops of reddish-brown fluid behind the left front wheel as transmission fluid leaks out.
  3. Dampness around the axle shaft seal. Like the oil stains we mentioned earlier, as the leak gets more severe it’s more likely to cause fluid to leak onto the ground. But leaking fluid can also find its way onto the exhaust system, resulting in a burning smell when the exhaust is warm. The leak can also contaminate your brake shoes, causing funny noises and affecting your braking ability.

How urgent is the repair? Can I still drive my car?

If your axles are broken you will not be able to drive your vehicle. It’s not safe and, chances are, you’re not going to get far if you don’t have two working axles.

If your axle is failing but hasn’t completely broken yet, it’s still very ill-advised to continue driving–and it’s definitely not recommended by most mechanics. Failing axles are at risk of breaking or completely failing at any point; when your axle fails, you’ll lose control of the car, possibly causing an accident or crashing. It’s a far better choice to have the problem diagnosed and repaired now, rather than taking that chance

Pro Tip: Get Regular Oil Changes

Replacing a leaking axle shaft isn’t an easy DIY job so it’s always best to have your car checked out by a professional. If you get your oil changed regularly, your mechanic can typically spot an axle seal leak early on, especially if there’s oil splashed around the area of the seal. This early detection will ultimately give you more time to have it repaired, before any major damage is done.

At V&F

At V&F, our certified mechanics use the latest diagnostic equipment, and high-quality CARQUEST auto parts, to make sure we get the job done right. Plus, our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3 year / 36,000-mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.

Written by Nicole Palange

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