The drivetrain is the combination of components that transfer your engine’s power to the wheels in order to actually move the vehicle. This complex system includes the transmission, driveshaft, and axles and sometimes other parts depending upon the vehicle.
While it’s uncommon for all of these parts to malfunction or break down at one time, time takes its toll and you may someday find yourself in the position of having to replace one or more of the drivetrain parts. But how can you ensure that the new components will fit properly together and endure over the long haul?
Some things to look out for to make sure you’re getting a good quality drivetrain include:
Transmission: When it comes to the transmission, this component is expensive and difficult to fix. Rebuilds are common because a new one can run into the thousands of dollars. Just be sure to verify the reputation of the mechanic who does the remanufacture. And make sure you get a warranty.
Make sure the driveshaft is OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or OE-replacement rated: These are normally made of steel and should have good quality CV joints attached, with CV boots made of high quality materials like neoprene for maximum moisture protection.
Choose one-piece axle construction over two-piece: These are more durable and long-lasting. Avoid friction-welded two-piece axles at all costs, as they tend to break much more easily than forged welds.
Reputable brand: If you go with aftermarket parts, try to get them all in the same (high quality, reputable) brand for the best possible fitment.
Warranty: Shop around for the best warranty – not only on the drivetrain parts, but on the installation as well. These parts are big-ticket items and you don’t want to throw away money on unreliable parts or labor.
Replacing your drivetrain is a considerable undertaking, you should let a professional tackle this job for you.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Good Quality Drivetrain and was authored by Valerie Johnston.