What is Drivetrain? | Powertrain VS Drivetrain

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 a 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.


What is the drivetrain of a vehicle?

A drivetrain is not actually a solitary part of your car – it’s a group of drivetrain parts that collaborate with the engine to move the wheels and various parts of the car to drive it into motion. These parts usually include the transmission, differential, driveshaft, axles, CV joints, and wheels.

Is the drivetrain the same as the transmission?

No. Well, kind of. The term “drivetrain” usually refers to all the parts that transfer power from the engine to the wheels, so the transmission is actually part of the drivetrain, along with the axles, torque converter, or clutch.

What does drivetrain mean on BMW?

The drivetrain is a series of components that transfers the power generated by the engine to the wheels, thus providing the torque for your vehicle to move forward or in reverse. The key components of the drivetrain are the driveshaft, the axles, the transfer case, and the transmission.

What Does the Drivetrain Do?

A car’s drivetrain connects the engine to the wheels enabling the vehicle to move. As the engine runs, the drivetrain helps send power through the transmission to the drive wheels.

What is drivetrain malfunction BMW?

BMW vehicles can offer a drivetrain malfunction drive moderately error on the dashboard while driving. When this message occurs, it indicates that the car has suffered a transmission or engine problem. It often happens during steep inclines, heavy acceleration, trying to pass, or fast acceleration.

Where is the drivetrain on a car?

The drivetrain is the part of a motorized vehicle that connects the engine and transmission to the wheel axles.

What is a drivetrain on a bicycle?

The ‘drivetrain’ of the bike consists of all the bits that you use to push (or pull) the bike along. The key components are the pedals, cranks, chainrings, chain, cogs (cassette), and derailleur.

How much does it cost to fix a drivetrain?

While differential repairs like seal or gasket replacement are usually not very expensive, they can run in the $100 to $200 range. Major repairs, like bearing or gear replacement can cost between $1000 to $3000 dollars, depending on vehicle size and manufacture.

What does a drivetrain warning mean?

Generally, this indicator light means a problem has been detected in the automatic transmission (not applicable in manual transmission cars) or transaxle. This light can also indicate an Electric Shift Control system warning.

How much does it cost to fix a BMW drivetrain malfunction?

If you own a BMW 328i and you are experiencing a drivetrain problem, the cost of fixing the problem is relatively inexpensive. Drivetrain malfunction on BMW328i can be fixed with an estimated cost of $2,068 to $2,108. Parts cost is estimated at around $1,913, while labor cost is about $155 to $195.

How long does a drivetrain last?

Expect between 1,500 and 3,000 miles from a 10-speed chain. It helps to establish what counts as ‘worn out’. A chain is worn enough to affect transmission efficiency when it lengthens by 0.75% but has some life left if extended mileage is the aim, in which case it should ideally be replaced when it lengthens by 1%.

What is an electric drivetrain?

Drivetrain – EVs have a single-speed transmission that sends power from the motor to the wheels. Batteries – Store the electricity required to run an EV. The higher the kW of the battery, the higher the range. Charging – Plug into an outlet or EV charging point to charge your battery.

What is the FWD drivetrain?

FWD means that the power from the engine is delivered to the front wheels of your vehicle. With FWD, the front wheels are pulling the car and the rear wheels don’t receive any power on their own. The pros of an FWD vehicle are that they typically get better fuel economy and emit less carbon dioxide.

What is the purpose of clutch housing?

The first, or the primary role of the clutch housing is to act as a mating and mounting device to fasten the transmission to the engine. The secondary of the clutch housing is to act as an enclosure.

What is a drivetrain on a mountain bike?

The drivetrain consists of the cranks, chainrings (front cogs), chain, cassette (rear cogs), derailleurs, and shifters. It’s a closed circuit that propels the bike. As you spend more money, the efficiency, durability, and shifting performance increase while the weight decreases.

When should I replace my drivetrain?

The drivetrain wears like any other part and if you ride regularly, it will need replacing at some point. A full drivetrain replacement is a decent-sized job that is often required after about 5000km of riding but there are ways to extend the life of these parts.

How do I know if my BMW transmission is bad?

Common Signs of BMW Transmission Issues:

  • Transmission Becomes Stuck in One Gear or Refuses to Shift to Certain Gears.
  • Frequent Gear Slipping.
  • Noisy When in Neutral.
  • Transmission Malfunction Message.
  • Hard Transmission Shifts Instead of Smooth Ones.
  • Gear Changes Are Erratic and May Bump in One Or More of The Gears.

How much does it cost to replace a transmission in a BMW?

It can easily cost anywhere from $1,800 to $5,000 to repair a BMW transmission. The price is high but justifiable when you know how essential the transmission is. Without it, you probably aren’t going anywhere.

What does maximum drivetrain output not available?

It may mean that the Engine Control Module (also known as DDE ECU ECM or DME) has detected an engine or transmission issue. And the ECU limits the maximum torque output to prevent damage.

What is a drivetrain for a bike?

The drivetrain on a bike consists of the pedals, front chainrings, rear cassette, front and rear derailleurs, and the chain. Figure 28: Diagram of drivetrain components, showing the cassette, 14 teeth, rear derailleur, front derailleur, chainrings, chain, pedal, and 39 teeth.

What happens when your drivetrain goes out?

The transmission changes the gearbox ratio to keep the engine speed relatively constant. Without a drivetrain, the power your engine generates has no way of reaching the wheels and thus, your car won’t go.