What Are Drive Shafts

A drive shaft, also known as a prop or propeller shaft, is a component of a vehicle's drive train which is responsible for transferring torque from the transmission to the wheels. Supplying motion to the differential and creating movement of the vehicle, drive shafts are commonly found in various types of vehicles ranging from motorcycles to locomotives, marine vessels, cars, and other similar vehicles. In motor vehicles, as drive shafts are often used to connect components separated by distance which are needed for the transfer of torque, they routinely come in the form of front-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, and front-engine rear-wheel drive configured cars. To better understand the need for drive shafts and their diverse applications among various vehicle types, we will discuss the premise of these components alongside the primary components necessary to successfully get a vehicle moving.

First modernized by Sir Alec Issigonis based on his construction of the 1959 Mini, the first streamlined drive systems consisted of a modified engine mounted transversely to the transmission. Combining the transmission and differential to form what is now known as the transaxle unit, along with the engine, these adjusted parts work in tandem to provide a vehicle with improved stability, reduced weight, and less stress on all combined parts. As a direct result of shifting a vehicle's weight over to its drive wheels, all aforementioned changes established by Issigonis also improved fuel economy for a majority of motorized vehicles.

Incapable of movement without the drive train, a vehicle's power potency is only valuable if all interlocking gears are connected from the transmission to the opposite end of a vehicle. While motor vehicles can differ based on their drive train configuration, all similar parts must be connected with a drive shaft fitted with parts capable of withstanding continual stress at a constant velocity. Additionally, all necessary parts to start and control a motor are located at the front-end of a vehicle, thus universal joints allow the various types of configured drives to operate smoothly when accompanied by severely articulated movements. Though built to restrict the maximum amount of applied weight, what gives drive shafts their adaptability and potential for part incorporation are the addition of universal joints, jaw couplings, rag joints, splined joints, or prismatic joints.

Though drive shafts are superb at transferring torque, simultaneously increasing vehicle traction and supplying additional room for people or cargo, they are prone to the following issues: added stress and increased wear on front tires and their suspension equipment, shear stress, torsion, cramped engine space causing potential service difficulties or delays, limited front wheel driving power, the susceptibility of poor wet-weather traction, and other limitations. As drive shafts can be connected to various transmission and differential types, this increases their complexity and the need for an engineer qualified at determining the exact needs your system requires based on its specifications and manufacturer recommendation.

Frequently incorporated alongside one or more driving components to aid in part diversity, differing types of drive shafts require parts unique to their application. When you are in need of a particular part, at Aerospace Store, we have what you need when you need it. As a dependable supplier when you are in need of drive shaft or tail shaft components, we invite you to browse our inventory for numerous parts and other aircraft items. Due to our quality control and export compliance, we operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. If you would like to request a quote for your comparisons, you can submit an RFQ form as provided on our website. Upon receipt, a dedicated account manager will quickly review and respond with a personalized solution to your needs in just 15 minutes or less, 24/7x365.


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