What is a Drivetrain?
A drivetrain may be the least understood part of a vehicle. This is due to several factors, including the fact that the term “drivetrain” is often used interchangeably with powertrain and driveline.
The drivetrain includes the transmission, the driveshaft, the axles, and the wheels. Simply put, it works in conjunction with the engine to move the wheels. The drivetrain system is an essential component of a vehicle and the transmission is an integral part of the drivetrain.
The Drivetrain and the Transmission
The drivetrain and the transmission are actually two very different concepts. The main function of the transmission is similar to the chain on a bicycle: it keeps the engine turning in time with the wheels, regardless of what gear the vehicle is in.
The drivetrain represents everything that is behind the transmission involved in propelling the vehicle. The main function of the drivetrain is basically to convey power from the vehicle’s engine, through the transmission to the drive wheels on the vehicle to control the amount of torque. “Torque” is turning or twisting force.
Parts of a Drivetrain
The drivetrain is comprised of a collection of components in a vehicle that transfers power from the transmission to the wheels/drives it forward. These components include the driveshaft, CV joints, the differential, axle shafts, and the U-joints.
- A driveshaft is a long tube of steel that is linked to a car’s transmission at one end and the wheels at the other. It transfers the mechanical power from the transmission to the other components of the vehicle.
- A U-joint, or universal joint, is a flexible pivot point that transmits power allowing for varying angles of the driveshaft.
- CV joints, or constant-velocity joints, are part of the driveshaft. These joints are designed to be able to bend in any direction while continuing to turn the drive wheels at a constant velocity.
- The differential is where the power makes its last stop before spinning the wheels (see ‘How Differentials Work’).
- Axle shafts are single rotating shaft, on either side of the differential, which delivers power from the final drive assembly to the drive wheels.
How Does a Drivetrain work?
This is the order in which power is generated and provided by a drivetrain:
- The engine will produce energy to power a flywheel
- That flywheel works with the transmission to control the amount of power dispersed to various other parts of the drivetrain
- The driveshaft spins to produce power to a differential
- After that, the differential supplies power from all those driveshaft parts, and boom, your wheels are in motion
Driveline, Drivetrain, Powertrain
Technicians sometimes refer to driveline, drivetrain, and powertrain interchangeably when referring to the drivetrain system of an automobile. This can cause confusion, but in essence, all of these terms describe the same system within the vehicle.
The powertrain in a vehicle is composed of everything that makes the vehicle move. This includes everything from the engine to the transmission to all the parts that allow the power from the engine to get to the wheels. A vehicle’s driveline consists of all of the powertrain’s components except for the engine.
The drivetrain is the part of a motorized vehicle that connects the engine and transmission to the wheel axles.
The driveline includes everything in the chain from the engine to the drive wheels, but the drivetrain consists of everything after the transmission all driveshafts, axles, joints, differentials, and wheels.
What’s the Difference Between Powertrain and Drivetrain?
You might not know off the top of your head what the advantages are of comparing a drivetrain vs. a powertrain however when you recognize the differences between the two, it will provide you the advantage when vehicle purchasing, check out the technician.
Basically, powertrains and drivetrains essentially do the exact same thing. They produce kinetic energy to make your vehicle ‘go’. Now, chances are that you have never really thought about how vital these moving components are.
They’re the unsung heroes that get you from point A to point B and they each operate in their very own one-of-a-kind method.
What’s in A Powertrain?
If you understood the drivetrain fundamentals, the powertrain basics ought to be an easy idea to grasp, because of the reality that there is only one defining variable that sets them apart. That factor is the engine. In a powertrain, the engine is a part of the many moving elements. If you keep in mind from the paragraph above, the drivetrain works with the engine.
The powertrain includes every moving component that is critical to the car’s success. Its sole objective is transforming kinetic energy into propulsion motion. If one of these components fails your car may experience some unusual rattling or shaking.