Understanding Car Axels vs Driveshaft And Their Importance and Interaction

The car axles and driveshaft are part of the driveline assembly in vehicles, but what makes them different? The answer might surprise you. The axle is the part of the vehicle attached to the differential, allowing the wheels to turn independently. The driveshaft is a hollow tube connected to the transmission, transmitting power to differentials mounted in each wheel. The driveshaft itself rotates along with its corresponding wheel. If you’re not sure where to start looking for this information, don’t worry — we’ve got it covered with our breakdown of the differences between car axels and driveshaft.

1.   Suspension Systems

The main difference between car axels and the driveshaft is that they have different suspension systems. However, both are necessary to deliver power from your engine to your wheels. A car axle is part of a car’s suspension system and works with an independent suspension system, which connects directly to two wheels. The front wheels connect to one side of a car axle while its other end connects to a differential.

The car axle holds each wheel hub in place under it so that both wheels of a single axle remain parallel. When driving over bumps in roads or potholes, these suspensions keep both tires from excessively shaking, so you don’t lose control over your vehicle. Identifying a reliable auto shop will enable access to quality car axles and other auto parts and premium services.

As for a driveshaft only allows straight movement of power from one part of an engine to another; therefore, it doesn’t have any suspension or control systems. A driveshaft is a kind of power transmission element in automobiles, trucks, tractors, buses, and other vehicles with multiple driven wheels. There may be more than one driveshaft per vehicle. The primary purpose is to transmit torque from an engine or motor to the wheels through a differential. Driveshaft also allows for rotation at different speeds, such as when traveling around corners.

2.   How They Operate

Axles connect your vehicle’s wheels to its drivetrain, while driveshafts link different components together. Axles tend to be shorter than driveshafts because they operate at a fixed angle to the frame. Most shafts have universal joints that allow them to change angles as necessary; in front-wheel-drive cars and trucks, for example, driveshafts make many 90-degree turns to enable steering and thrust.

Driveshafts usually carry much more power than axles: They turn wheels at high speeds, so they need more torque capacity- which is the ability to transmit force over long distances without stretching or tearing apart.

3.   Joints and Flexibility

The driveshaft has universal joints at both ends, one in the engine bay and one at the differential/rear end. The rear axle also has universal joints, but they are located inside the differential case and are not visible. The driveshaft uses two-piece joints that are held together by a snap ring. In contrast with this, the rear axle does not use snap rings; instead, it uses a spline to connect the two parts of each joint.

The U-joint on a driveshaft is more flexible than a universal joint on an axle; when forces push in opposite directions, one side of a U-joint will stretch out slightly. Hence, you get less horsepower loss from flexing compared to what would happen if there were no flexibility at all. In addition, double Cardan joints allow even greater flexibility without sacrificing strength.

4.   Location Of Their Universal Joints

The driveshaft’s universal joints are at the end to enable a change in direction. For example, universal joints are where the driveshaft goes through the transmission or connects to the differential/rear end. There is more than one change in direction on most cars, so there are at least two universal joints. In contrast, the rear axle’s universal joints are always at 90 degrees to each other; they are called “Cardan” or CV joints due to their appearance.

5.   Location of Axles and Driveshafts

The axles’ location is in the center of your car, but driveshafts can be at different spots depending on the type of car. The position of an axle inside a vehicle makes it vulnerable to damage from road debris and potholes. A driveshaft sits outside a vehicle’s frame, making it less susceptible to damage.

6.   Component Shape and Material

A driveshaft is generally a straight piece of metal, although some may feature a slight curve, while an axle has two sets of wheels attached to either end, meaning it is curvier. An axle is typical of steel or aluminum, while a drive shaft may be aluminum, steel, or carbon fiber.

7.   Purpose And Maintenance

The primary purpose of both pieces is to provide power to each wheel so that you can move forward or backwards when you want to drive your car. However, it depends on what kind of car you have and how much power it needs to perform under certain circumstances. It’s important to note that both require regular maintenance and lubrication.


Car axles and driveshafts are essential components in the transmission. Since the engine, which is the source of your car’s power, is rigid, your vehicle needs a reliable system to transmit this power. Well-maintained axles and driveshafts ensure smooth transmission without loss of power. You can contact Dwells Automotive for all your vehicle’s transmission needs.