Chevrolet Axle Assembly: Maintenance Guide for DIYers
Have you ever wondered how power and torque produced under the hood are transferred to transmission and into the drive wheels? Well, you have the axle assembly to thank for that. This plays not just a special role in keeping the drive wheels spinning but also in braking and steering. So if any component of the axle assembly deteriorates or breaks, you'll hear more than strange noises. You can also feel some rumblings and vibrations as you drive and may encounter vehicle handling difficulties. If the axle or any part of the assembly, such as the bearings and joints, is shot, optimum vehicle control can slip out of your hands. You'd want to keep your Chevrolet axle assembly in great shape. Here are some ideas on how you can do just that:
An ungreased U-joint can create more than just clicking, squeaking, or clunking noises, which can be accompanied by vibrations. This can also get damaged faster without enough grease to ease friction. When this fails or wears out, other components such as the driveshaft can also be ruined. This is especially harmful when the U-joint fails at speed or under heavy load. From time to time, you need to apply some grease on the joints, so they can work smoothly and endure stress better. Also, you may want to replace a bad CV joint before it becomes completely destroyed. Sometimes, this can still be rebuilt. If the CV joint breaks, it may cause other parts to fail as well. The driveshaft can break at speed or under heavy load, for instance.
When bearings (pinion bearings, carrier bearings, axleshaft bearings) break, axle function and performance can be compromised. This can also deal damage to other parts within the assembly. So before the bearings fail completely, have these checked so that you can replace them right away, instead of having to rebuild the axle or repair other parts. Don't wait till the different bearings in the assembly have created more serious problems that can adversely affect the axle performance.
- Check for a missing gear tooth or broken gear teeth.
If the ring or pinion gear misses a tooth or have its teeth broken, there'll be clunking, banging, and jerking as the vehicle moves forward. This can cause significant damage, the worst of which would require axle rebuild while the ring and pinion is replaced.
- Have your steering and suspension system checked on schedule.
Just because they're out of sight, it doesn't mean that they should be out of mind. Components underneath the vehicle should be inspected from time to time. This will let you catch any trouble early on, so you can prevent total damage and maintain a healthy undercarriage.
- Keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary.
If you hear unusual noises and notice anything strange while driving the vehicle, don't let these off the hook. See what could be causing all these. Check your axle assembly if you think this is where the noise is coming from or this is causing the vibration.