DRIVE SHAFT

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What purpose has the drive shaft?

A drive shaft is a device which transmits powers from one component to another. One of the componants is a drive force (like for example the engine of your car) and the other a driven force (for example the train with the wheels). The drive shaft of a car is usually located at the front of the vehicle. The drive shaft is also known as the driving shaft, prop shaft or cardan shaft. At the ends it has universal joints of which one is connected to the gear box and the other to the wheel hub.

The drive shaft has to deliver the driving power from the engine to the driving wheels. As most vehicles are front-wheel drive, it is usually the front wheels which are connected to the driveshaft. In general the clutch and gearbox will be mounted directly on the engine. When the vehicle is stationary, the drive shaft does not rotate. There are also cars however that have rear wheel drive. The transmission and the clutch will be placed at the rear with a prop shaft between them. Four-wheel drive vehicles also have a prop shaft to transmit the drive force from the engine to the wheels. These prop shafts have split joints to divide the drive force between the axles.

Drive or prop shafts do not only serve as transmission parts. They also have a part to play when the driver uses the engine to slow down. Once the foot is lifted from the accelorator, the drive force decreases immediately. Consequently the drive shafts rotate more slowly which in turn will make the rotating speed of the wheels decrease as well.
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