Drive Train / Transmission

The term drive train usually refers to the major components that produce and transmit the power needed to propel your vehicle. Typically this includes the engine, transmission and rear end assembly. For many years automobiles for the most part featured front mounted engines connected to transmissions which were located under the car between the dashboard and the front seat. Then, by means of a driveshaft, the engine’s rotational power is transmitted to a differential or rear end located in the trunk area.

How about your car? Wonder if your car or truck is front or rear wheel drive? For the most part, trucks, vans and large cars with big engines will have rear-wheel drive. Smaller, economy and compact cars are usually front-wheel drive.

Here’s how to find out for sure…after opening the hood, locate the front of the engine…it’s where all the belts are situated. If the front of the engine is by the fender (side of the car) yours is a front-wheel drive vehicle. If the belt part is at the radiator/grill, you have rear wheel drive. Another way to tell is to look under the car near each front wheel. If you see an axle with a rubber boot (called the CV boot) on either end going into the wheel, then you have front-wheel drive. Finally, you can also look under the car between the rear wheels. If you see a large, round metal object, (called the differential) with two axles coming out either side, you have rear-wheel drive.

There are many vehicles on the road this the age of SUVs… where both front and rear wheel drive is used to transmit power to the wheels. This combination generally provides better traction…especially for off-roading. Generally 4 wheel drive vehicles are heavier, have more components, are less fuel efficient and can be more expensive to repair. Then too, there is another engine configuration – this one involving rear-engined cars driving the rear wheels…notable among them is Porsche (and other exotic imports) and the early Volkswagen Beetles.

From a maintenance standpoint each of the components in the drive train is built upon the interaction of metal on metal. Thus, it’s subject to wear and as a result has a maintenance regimen prescribed by the manufacturer. In addition to engine motor oil and filter changes (click on Oil & Filter Service on the left side of this page to learn more about this subject), transmissions and differentials (or “rear ends”) also contain lubricants which should be periodically checked for fluid level and occasional drained and replaced. In addition, some transmissions have screens designed to attract the small metal particles that separate from the transmission’s gears. These particles are captured by the screen where they are kept from floating around in the transmission fluid where they could damage the working parts of the transmission.

In order to insure your drive train performs properly and achieves its intended design life, we strongly recommend you follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations. Many times however Owner’s Manuals are lost and thus you’re not sure when various checks need to be made. In that case, stop by Dallas Auto Sports. We’ll set up a schedule for you. And by all means come see us if you notice puddles of lubricant or anti-freeze under your car. Failure to heed these warning signals could result in costly damage to the affected parts…and leave you stranded.

To set up your personalized maintenance schedule call us for an appointment…214.320.2228.

Auto service and repair for: Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Lexus, Jaguar, Porsche, VW, Volvo, Saab, and more. Servicing cars from the Dallas, Plano, Richardson and the DFW Metroplex area.