What Happens If My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving?

What Happens If My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving?


April 7, 2022

You probably don’t give your vehicle’s driveshaft much thought unless it breaks while you’re driving.

However, if it fractures while you drive, you’ll undoubtedly begin to consider it! This article will explain what happens if my drive shaft breaks while driving and how to fix the problem.

What Is A Drive Shaft And How Does It Work?

What Happens If My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving?

The transmission (gearbox) and transfer case (in four-wheel drives) are connected by a drive shaft.

The driveshaft transmits torque from the engine to the rest of the drive train (the components that allow your car to move). It’s essentially a long metal pole with bearings on one end that rotates.

Driveshafts are constructed of metal, bimetal, or chrome vanadium and maybe carbon fiber, titanium, or aluminum. Driveshafts vary in length depending on a number of factors including vehicle performance requirements and frame/body space availability.

What Causes Them To Fail?

What causes them to fail

Age is the most common reason for failure. In the United States, a car’s average lifetime is around 11 years old. Driveshafts have not been as tough and coated since 2000. There are, however, additional elements to examine.

Another cause is mishaps. If the rear wheels of a vehicle come into contact with another car or anything else, the collision may shatter the driveshaft. The same can be said for colliding with a curb; that single impact has been documented to break driveshafts.

Another potential difficulty area: certain types of truck and SUV driveshafts aren’t adequately treated against road salt corrosion, which can lead to failure after a few years on your vehicle.

Potholes and curbs are also more prone to damage when struck because they’re underneath weaker sections of the car, which are easy to hit.

What Happens If My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving; Here Are Some Common Symptoms:

Before finding out what happens if my drive shaft breaks while driving, let’s see what is a worn or damaged U-joint.

The transmission and differential are linked by a metal tube with splined connections on both ends. The transmission connects to one side, while the other joins to the differentia!

Each half shaft on a CVT has independent swiveling ball joints that allow it to flex as needed when transferring power from the drive train to your wheels. Any of these parts that are not operating correctly may produce excessive force, which can lead to failure.

Here Is What Happens If My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving:

What Happens If My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving?

When Changing Gears, There’s A Thunderous “Clunk.”

Your driveshaft U-joints are worn or damaged if this happens. This might also suggest that some components within your transmission are coming loose, which may lead to additional damage.

Scratching Noises

When the gearbox changes, the automobile may make grinding or growling noises. This might be an indication of transmission issues or a damaged U-joint in the engine. Without warning, your car will most likely veer to one side uncontrollably.

This is also frequently because of exaggerated stress on the driveshaft as a result of any number of factors, such as worn universal joints (causing them to slip), damaged CV joints, or incorrect alignment.

So you can very well imagine what happens if my drive shaft breaks while driving.

This sort of damage can not only cause further drivetrain harm, but it also has the potential to be extremely hazardous if left unchecked – eventually, the entire front half of the drivetrain might break apart, leaving your car unusable.

A Bulge Or Fracture Near One Of The Universal Joints

It’s possible that your driveshaft isn’t making any noise or vibration, but it might be a sign of trouble. If you check your driveshaft and discover one of these problems, have it replaced right now.

Even if there are no obvious external signs of significant wear or damage, internal metal tube fractures may occur – again, this usually implies that an internal component must be replaced before the structure fails completely.

Unfortunately, by the time you discover a severely cracked shaft, it’s most likely too late – removing other components from the front end will be required as well, which is a major job.

If you notice any of these warning signals, have your car evaluated by a professional as soon as possible. An early diagnosis and replacement of a potentially dangerous or faulty driveshaft may help you save money in the long run!

What Should I Do? What Happens If My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving?

What Happens If My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving?

It’s going to be a terrible day if your automobile’s emergency brake isn’t working properly. It might happen on any vehicle at any time, regardless of make or model. In most cases, your vehicle will come to a complete stop. However, you may experience this in more severe situations:

You Can’t Manage Your Vehicle

Being confused about what happens if my drive shaft breaks while driving, can render you powerless to control the automobile.

When the torque reaction from the broken drive train sends everything behind the gearbox flying back and upward as soon as you apply pressure on the gas pedal because nothing will be left to keep your automobile down.

You’re driving along, and you encounter a vehicle in front of you that has slammed on the brakes. It’s not going to be fun for anyone involved, especially if they’re sitting in the back seat.

Even If You Don’t Lose Control, You Can Roll Over Due To Factors Outside Your Control.

What Happens If My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving?

If the rear axle runs into anything as it rises, your vehicle will be thrown in whatever direction it’s facing – usually, another traffic lane or, in the worst-case scenario, off a bridge or into oncoming traffic if you end up rolling over.

The bottom line is that after your driveshaft fractures while driving, there isn’t much opportunity for anything pleasant to happen throughout the day, making this one of the most distressing events you can anticipate.

Your Driveshaft May Harm Other Automobiles If You Park Too Close To Them.

Around you, your pals and family will have a horrible day as well.

It’s not unusual for other cars to flip due to damaged drive shafts, so pondering what happens if my drive shaft breaks while driving, you must know that if your bent drive shaft caused another car to fly into the oncoming lane, smashing into an oncoming vehicle – be prepared for some enraged visitors at your door later.

If other drivers’ parts break off in traffic and hit your vehicle, you’ll be held responsible for the harm to their automobiles even if your part broke off and struck them.

That is why it’s critical to inspect all moving components on a regular basis. You can’t predict when something will go wrong in your favorite automobile.

If you do have a broken driveshaft, pull over as soon as possible and attempt to get off the road. It will feel similar to if you had a broken arm; there’s no sense in making it worse by crashing into all of the flying metal around you.

If you can’t maintain control of your vehicle when you’ve stopped, consider shutting off the engine rather than applying the brakes to avoid doing any additional harm to your transmission.

What Happens If My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving? And What Should I Do?

The simplest method to prevent your driveshaft from breaking is to have it inspected on a regular basis.

When components are put under a lot of stress, they frequently break. You may save yourself a lot of time, money, and aggravation by detecting any looming problems with your driveshaft before they become serious.

Keep these recommendations in mind if your driveshaft fractures while you’re on the road:

  • Reverse quickly and get the car out of traffic.
  • If you can’t retain control of the vehicle, turn off the engine.
  • Has your driveshaft been examined on a regular basis to avoid this from happening again?


How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Drive Shaft?

Depending on the automobile, it might cost anywhere from $200 to $800 per vehicle.

What Causes A Drive Shaft To Break Down?

A driveshaft can be damaged for a variety of reasons, including colliding with a pothole or running over an item on the road. It’s critical to get the component checked on a regular basis to avoid any problems.

Is It Possible To Replace A Drive Shaft?

A drive shaft can usually be replaced, depending on the damage. A drive shaft may generally be restored in most situations; however, it is good to consult with a mechanic to see whether this is an option for you.

Is It Possible For Me To Repair A Driveshaft On My Own?

No, changing a drive shaft necessitates unique skill and equipment that the average person does not have. It’s most advisable to get help from experts for this procedure.

How Often Should Your Drive Shaft Be Replaced?

The odometer reading varies from 50,000 to 100,000 miles. It’s also critical to have it serviced on a regular basis in order to avoid problems.


Finding the answer to the question what happens if my drive shaft breaks while driving, you can expect to cause significant damage to yourself, other drivers, and your car.

The greatest way to avoid this is to have your driveshaft inspected on a regular basis and make sure that all of the moving components are in good working order.

If an incident occurs try these best instructions so that the degree of harm is kept to a minimum. On the roads, keep yourself safe!


Jeffrey Bryce is an experienced motorcycle rider with years of experience caring for motorcycles. His natural fondness for motorcycles have made him come up with LetsGoForARide.com, which is dedicated to answering and teaching you how to care for your bike with the care it requires. LetsGoForARide is the one of his important lifework in reaching out to communities of motorcycle enthusiasts on how to take care of their bike and choosing the correct spare part.