Propeller Shaft: Function, Bad Symptoms and Replacement Cost

Last Updated on May 28, 2019 by themechanic

Do you know the vehicle with rear drive using propeller shaft to turn rear wheel? And in this post i will explain the basic function, working principle, bad symptoms and average replacement cost of propeller shaft.

Basic Function and Working Principle

The internal combustion engine generates torque power which moves the wheels of the car. Whenever you see the wheels turning on a vehicle, that is only made possible by the torque power. The propeller shaft is what helps bring this power from the engine to the wheels. Some people refer to the propeller shaft as the driveshaft, but they’re the same component.

In a front-wheel drive vehicle, the front wheels receive torque power from the engine by the propeller shaft. The rear wheels don’t receive any of this power. But if it’s a 4-wheel drive vehicle, then the front and back wheels receive torque power by two propeller shafts; one for the front wheels and one for the back wheels. As long as these shafts stay functional, your wheels will be able to move just fine.

5 Bad Symptoms

Propeller shafts usually stay strong and functional for a long time. But there are situations where your propeller shaft may not work properly anymore. Once that happens, you won’t be able to avoid the symptoms that will show up. These are easily recognizable symptoms which will make driving much more difficult. That is why you need to replace your propeller shaft immediately after noticing these symptoms.

Below are the top 5 symptoms of a bad propeller shaft.

1) Vibrations

Vibrations commonly occur underneath the car as the propeller shaft is wearing out. More specifically, the bushings of the shaft are probably wearing out. That is what’s causing these vibrations. The bushings are responsible for securing the shaft properly. If the bushings are worn out or loose for whatever reason, it causes the shaft to vibrate.

2) Clunking Noises

In continuation of the last symptom, a vibrating propeller shaft may also cause clunking noises as well. These noises will intensify as you accelerate the vehicle and go faster. You’ll also hear them when you switch gears and move in reverse too. Do something about this before it’s too late. Replace the propeller shaft.

3) U-Joint Problem

There is a rotating U-joint in the propeller shaft. If this joint fails to rotate steadily, meaning it rotates too fast or too slow, then it means your propeller shaft may have problems. Perhaps the bearings are damaged or rusted. Whatever the case, you need to replace the shaft to fix the U-joint problem.

4) Squeaking Noises

Aside from the clunking noises, you will eventually hear squeaking noises too. These squeaking sounds will not go away either because they mean the internal components of the propeller shaft are worn out or damaged. The shaft may even be imbalanced too.

5) Turning Problems

If you have issues when trying to make turns with your vehicle, then your propeller shaft may be to blame. The shaft may not be sending enough torque power to your wheels, causing them to hesitate for a couple of seconds when you go to steer. You cannot keep driving your vehicle when it is facing this kind of problem. You must replace the shaft in order to regain your steering ability again.

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Replacement Cost

It will cost anywhere between $400 and $1,000 to replace a propeller shaft. The parts cost is anywhere between $300 and $800. The labor costs are anywhere from $100 to $200. Of course, the make and model of your car has a lot to do with the costs as well. The propeller shafts of certain models cost more than the shafts of other models. And if your vehicle is 4-wheel drive, then these prices will double because it means you need two propeller shafts. Again, one for the front and one for the back.

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