The drive shaft is that part of the vehicle responsible for converting the rotational force (torque) of the engine’s rotation to a linear motion of your car via the turning of the car’s wheels.
As important as the drive shaft may seem, it could break when you are driving. It becomes essential to have it fixed due to its importance to your car’s motion.
So what happens if my drive shaft breaks while driving? Let’s get to explore this question and other related issues concerning the drive shaft.
Let’s get started!
What Happens if My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving
If your drive shaft breaks while driving, it would result in immediate loss of steering, inability to accelerate, and inability to go forward or backward.
Here are some of the common things that may happen when your drive shaft breaks while driving.
You Could Have an Accident
If your car’s drive shaft breaks while driving, especially at high speed, some other road users tend to be the victim of the circumstances. Once the drive shaft is broken, the car accelerates uncontrollably and may eventually collide with other vehicles or injure pedestrians before coming to a stop.
You May Lose Control of Your Vehicle
In the case of front-wheel drive, once the shaft breaks while driving, it falls to the ground, pulling the vehicle’s weight to one side or flipping the car. But for rear-wheel drive, the vehicle continues to move in a whipping pattern until it is put on neutral.
Your car could also shake when you accelerate at a relatively high speed with a broken drive shaft, causing you to lose control. This scenario, however, occurs most often on highways when you’re driving speedily.
Your Car Movement May Be Stuck
The driveshaft’s working principle involves transferring the engine’s power into torque, which causes the wheels to rotate. Therefore, the wheel will stop moving once the drive shaft is broken due to a power outage.
You May Experience Some Awkward Noise
Whenever you hear an awkward or grinding sound originating from your transmission, and this irritating sound continues until the vehicle’s motion is stopped, this could result from your drive shaft braking somewhere near the car’s transmission.
How to Know When Your Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving
There are some peculiar symptoms that, when noticed, point directly or partially to an issue with your drive shaft. Some of such symptoms include;
There Will be Irregular Universal Joint Movement
Your universal joint may not be properly balanced, or You may be required to get a new drive shaft if it is damaged, spins faster, or it experiences hesitation to spin. Universal Joint Movements may be caused by corrosion between the bearings and the seal cap.
Squeaking Noise From Your Vehicle
If the drive shaft skews from its original position, this distortion may cause some parts of the drive shaft to wear out. The effect of this is a squeaking sound continuously emanating from beneath the car. Suppose an awkward noise (clunking noise) is observed either when your car is in reverse, accelerating, or when your vehicle is shut down. In that case, you are probably faced with a drive shaft problem
You Will Experience Some Irregular Vibrations While Driving
This symptom is not peculiar to the drive shaft alone. Sometimes vibration may result from an unbalanced tire causing the vehicle to wobble while accelerating.
When your vehicle begins to shake excessively, this is commonly the first sign to be experienced whenever there’s a drive shaft issue.
Also Read: Why Is My RPM So High When I Drive? (Is it Normal?)
You May Experience some Turning Problems
Whenever you try turning your vehicle and you experience opposition from the tires or the wheels tend to resist or turn slowly. You are experiencing a problem with the drive shaft, causing your steering wheel to hesitate while turning.
Why Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving
Corrosion can also cause your drive shaft to break in some vehicles (like SUVs) because they are not made with quality resistance to corrosion which could eventually result in the drive shaft failing earlier than expected.
One of the reasons why the drive shaft fails often is the effect of the impact when a vehicle collides with another, specifically with its back wheel; this could cause damage to the drive shaft. Colliding with the curbs on the road or potholes along the highway also has a high probability of breaking the drive shaft.
Furthermore, most of the manufactured drive shafts are made with quality hardening materials and good outer layer protection compared to what was used in vehicles made before the 21 century. Aging is one of the significant reasons the drive shaft fails.
What To Do When Your Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving
You will endanger your life and everyone on the road if you ignore your broken drive shaft. Once you notice that your car’s drive shaft is broken while driving, you should first stop the vehicle, park the car safely and lawfully, and try to get the broken drive shaft fixed.
Most drivers ignore a faulty drive shaft for about a year, which is risky. It is only advisable to momentarily drive a broken drive shaft till you can safely and lawfully park your car. Ensure to park the vehicle and try to fix the problem before returning to the road.
Also Read: Can You Drift in an Automatic? (How to Do It)
Frequently Asked Questions – What Happens if My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving
What Would Cause A Drive Shaft To Break?
There is more to the causes of why the drive shaft breaks, but most often, the revamp of engines during replacement and tire upgrades could result in the failure of the drive shaft.
What Happens If Half Shaft Breaks While Driving?
If half of the drive shaft is broken, the wheel on the affected side tends to lose its rotational power, and the vehicle will seize to move once the drive shaft is broken completely.
Can You Drive With A Broken Half Shaft?
Driving with a broken drive shaft depends on the type of vehicle. But even though it is possible in some cars, we wouldn’t advise you to go with a broken drive shaft. Get it fixed!
Conclusion – What Happens if My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving
It would help if drivers developed a habit of observing and ensuring all car components are in perfect working condition. If your drive shaft is not regularly checked and eventually it breaks while you’re driving, it is quite probable that there will be significant damage to you or other road users.