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Everything You Need to Know About Your Car’s Axles 

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Several moving parts work in symphony to keep your car moving. So, most of us drive without having to think about our car’s mechanics or how it operates. But what’s that vital part that keeps our car moving seamlessly? It is the car axle! 


The axle is critical in connecting your engine to the wheels it drives. But, it is one part that many car owners neglect. It’s helpful to have a basic understanding of the functioning of axles and why it’s vital to ensure regular vehicle maintenance. You should also learn how to identify a broken car axle and how to fix it.  

You need axles for steering, driving, and braking, hence they play a part in nearly every element of vehicle operation. Continue reading to find out what an axle is, the signs of a broken axle, and everything else you need to know about axles. 

What is an axle on a car? 

In simple words, an axle is a steel rod or shaft that rotates the wheels and supports the weight of a car. The car axle works as a link between the tires, transferring power from the transmission to the wheels, allowing the car to move forward. So, if you have wondered how your car’s engine generates the necessary torque to turn the wheels, thank the car axles for that! Since these transmit the power that rotates the wheels, every car needs them to function properly.  

Find an insurance with collision coverage if you get an broken car axle

How many axles does a car have? 

The answer to this depends on the type of vehicle you own. An axle connects one wheel on one side to the other wheel on the opposite side. Cars normally have two axles, one for the front wheels and the other for the back wheels. Larger vehicles that can carry more passengers may need extra axles.  

How to know how many axles a car has

It’s quite simple to figure out how many axles your vehicle has. Count the pairs of tires on your car by looking at them from the side. Most vehicles have four tires, or two sets of tires, one in the front and one in the back. Two axles are equal to two pairs of tires.  

What are the types of car axles? 

You can categorize axles based on their position. The axles based on position are the front, rear, and stub.  

Front axle: Located in the front, it can be a live or dead one. A live one can help in wheel movement and steering while also absorbing shocks from any tough terrain.  

Rear axle: It can be seen at the back of your car. Normally of live type, it helps in the forward movement of the wheels. These rear axles perform a variety of functions and are usually seen in larger vehicles. 

Stub axle: These are usually seen in rear-wheel-drive vehicles. Kingpins connect them to the front axle. 

Front axle types 

Live: These transmit a driving force from the transmission to the front wheels. 

Dead: These support the car’s overall weight but do not move the wheels. 

Rear axle types 

The support and mounting methods determine the type of rear axle. There are three types of rear axles – Semi-floating, Full-floating, and Three-quarter. 

Semi-floating: Cars, SUVs, and mid-size trucks, like half-ton and light-duty pickups, use semi-floating axles. This type secures the wheel by connecting it to the flange on the outside of the axle shaft. One bearing supports the axle shaft and the other one supports the axle casing.  

Full-floating: Larger vehicles like heavy-duty trucks use full-floating axles. With the help of two bearings, this axle floats in place and maintains its position. The design of the axle is to transmit driving torque alone.   

Three-quarter: Though more complicated than the semi-floating type, this type is more reliable. It helps in maintaining wheel alignment and handles driving torque and side thrust.  

Stub axle types 

There are mainly four types in this category – Elliot, Reverse Elliot, Lamoine, and Reverse Lamoine.  

Elliot: For connecting to the front axle, this type requires a kingpin, yoke, and a cotter.  

Reverse Elliot: The arrangement of this type is opposite to that of the standard Elliot type. 

Lamoine: This type uses an L-shaped spindle instead of a yoke-type hinge. 

Reverse Lamoine: Its layout is opposite to that of the standard Lamoine type.  

What are the signs of a broken axle? 

Axles drive energy directly from the engine as well as torque from the transmission that rotates it. So, you will easily get indications when your car has a broken axle. It is more vulnerable to damage as it is connected to the car’s central exterior frame. The severity of the broken car axle varies; it can be as minor as a fracture or as severe as a complete bend. It needs a fix if the car shows the following symptoms.  

Grease leakage 

Your axle needs a repair if it is leaking grease. Extra grease leaking from the inside tire side or side wheel is an indication of a leaking axle boot. Even though grease leakage won’t cause grave issues, you need to be on alert. The leaking grease can collect dirt and debris resulting in a drop in the functioning of the axle. Also, the efficiency of disc brakes will go down If the leakage reaches the tires. 

Unusual vibrations 

Bent car axles can lead to unusual or excessive vibrations. You can notice these vibrations well when your car moves over a speed bump or unexpected potholes. Rumbling noises, tire wobbling, and even shaking steering wheels during turning, accelerating, or decelerating, accompany these vibrations. Get professional help asap to fix this issue though you can drive slowly with the vibrations.  

Hearing loud sounds 

It is not regularly the bent or broken axle that causes loud car sounds; occasionally the joint wears out or ruptures due to rusting. You can notice this when you have difficulty shifting your car into gear. Also, you will face difficulty in turning your car. When you turn your car, you will hear a loud clicking or clunking sound. 

Here’s the info on fixing grinding noise while driving! 

Car stops moving 

Mobility issues arise when the car’s axle gets broken or severely damaged under extreme conditions. You can notice this symptom when you start your car, change the gears, and the car doesn’t move. Your car will not move and your tires will not rotate correctly in this case. You will have to tow the car to a mechanic and replace the axle.   

How does an axle break on a car? 

Since the axles are located below the car’s surface, there will be many factors that damage it. 

Speed bumps and humps: These slow down your car at a specific point while moving. So, these bumps or humps may directly hit your vehicle and damage the axle if your car is lower. 

Accidents: Any direct blow from the back or front of the vehicle can damage the axle. Even though it’s not a direct blow, axle damage can happen as pressure is exerted.  

Rusting: The presence of rust or a worn-out metal may create serious damage to the axle’s strength and load-bearing capacity.  

Constant velocity joints: These joints connect the transmission to the car’s driveshaft. It is more prone to damage as torque gets transferred through this location.  

How much does it cost to fix the axle on a car?  

repairing a rear car axle

Repairing an axle is a costly affair. The cost of repairing an axle depends on the type of car you use, the severity of the issue, and the labor costs. Fixing a front axle can cost anywhere from $500 to $800 while repairing a rear axle can cost anywhere from $700 to $1,000+. 

How much to replace the axle on a car? 

If one of your car’s axles gets damaged, go for a replacement rather than repairing it. This can be an expensive repair, depending on the brand and model of your car, as well as factors like your location. On average, the cost to replace an axle shaft will cost you between $800 and $1,000.  

Does insurance cover a broken axle? 

Most drivers will be curious to know this question’s answer as replacing a broken axle is an expensive affair. Like any other part of your car, the insurance coverage for the axles depends on the nature of damage it takes. If the axle gets damaged by a pothole or in an accident, you will get coverage for the replacement if you’ve collision insurance. Unfortunately, you won’t get any coverage if the damage happens due to wear and tear or too much weight in your vehicle.  

So, always buy a policy that has collision coverage if you don’t want to pay hefty costs for axle replacement. That’s where Way.com becomes your savior! Way.com will guide you in finding the best auto insurance coverage at an affordable cost! 

Can a bad axle make your car shake? 

A bad axle can lead to suspension vibration and severe shaking frequently. The shaking will get severe when you reach higher speeds. So, it is always safe to fix the axle issues at the earliest. 

Do electric cars have axles? 

The e-axle or e-drive joints an EV’s gear, motor, and power-control electronics. It is the ‘brain’ that oversees how a car manages and converts the energy stored in its battery into electricity. It also helps in the recovery of braking energy and its return to the battery. 

On a simple note, a well-designed e-axle improves a vehicle’s power economy and acceleration while also extending its range and smoothness. The system is completely combined into either the front or back axle, supplying power to rotate the wheels. If the e-axle is installed on the rear axle, the front tires depend on the internal combustion engine or an electric motor to rotate the tires.  

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