What Happens if My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving?

Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving

The drive shaft is one of the essential components of a car. It handles the movement of your car, ensuring that the vehicle is in motion.

The drive shaft handles the transfer of torque and engine rotation to vehicle mobility. This should give you a rough explanation of the drive shaft’s importance to a car. So what happens if my drive shaft breaks while driving?

The answer is simple: your car will stop driving! This shouldn’t sound strange to you, as the broken shaft is what keeps your vehicle going. However, certain factors play a role in this. For instance, driving on a broken drive shaft won’t stop your car if you are going downhill.

There are chances that you will notice some strange sounds if you continue driving on a broken drive shaft. The speed you are moving can also determine the impact of a broken drive shaft; the effects might be as mild as a stop or can result in an accident.

This article discusses what you should expect if your drive shaft breaks while driving!

Can You Drive With A Broken Drive Shaft?

Yes, you can drive with a broken drive shaft, but we will advise against going for too long. When your drive shaft breaks, prolonged driving will result in complicated damages while costing you tons of dollars.

It is safer to drive on a broken drive shaft for a few miles if you are on a city/street drive limit, but trying it on a highway is entirely unsafe. We can tell you that you can drive with a broken drive shaft at 5 MPH, but this should only be done to get your car off the road, park, and call a tow truck.

Don’t try driving your car to work on a broken drive shaft.

What Happens If My Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving?

There are a lot of things that will happen if your drive shaft breaks while driving.

Here are four major things that will happen if your drive shaft breaks while driving:

1. Inability to move the car

The first thing that should happen if your drive shaft breaks while driving is that your car will come to a stop. This usually happens if you are on level land.

On a broad scale, when your drive shaft breaks while driving, you will experience a loss of power in your wheels. The drive shaft handles the conversion of power in your engine to torque that will make your wheels move. When it breaks, there is no way that your wheels will move.

2. Loss of control

There are chances that your car will lose control if the drive shaft breaks while driving. This usually happens when you are on the highway, driving at high speeds.

The improper transmission of torque to the wheels will cause a violent reaction immediately after you hit the gas pedal for acceleration.

You will have your car jerking at an uncontrollable speed, with every part of your car reacting violently to the change. This might sound fun in movies, but it’s not something that you will want to experience in real life. It can lead to an accident in extreme cases or at high speeds.

If the front drive shaft broke while driving, the drive shaft could drop the floor, causing the car to pull to one side, flip the car, or in rare cases, keep whipping around until you put the car on neutral.

3. Noise

In cases where the drive shaft broke close to the transmission, a horrible noise will emanate from the transmission. This might come in the form of grinding or loud clunking noise. This will continue until the car comes to a sudden stop.

4. Poses a danger to other road users

Having your drive shaft break when you are driving can ruin someone’s day. In extreme cases, chunks of the broken drive shaft can fly into the open space, injuring as many road users as possible.

How Long Can You Drive With A Bad Drive Shaft?

You are only permitted to drive on a bad drive shaft for as long as you will need to bring the car to a halt. Just stop the car and fix it. It is hazardous to drive on a bad drive shaft.

I think I’ve gone close to 150 miles with a bad drive shaft on my FWD vehicle. It wasn’t an exciting journey I would love for you to have. I was trying to get the car to the repair company since it took ages for the tow truck to arrive.

While some people will drive with a bad shaft for up to a year, it’s never safe. You will notice that some drivers remove the front drive shaft and drive only with the rears while trying to turn their car from an FWD to an RWD.

Can You Still Drive Without A Drive Shaft?

Yes. You can drive without a drive shaft, but it greatly depends on the type of car that you are driving. A 4WD vehicle allows you to drive a car even without some drive shafts.

On a 4x4 vehicle, you can go on 3 drive shafts without one, but you can’t drive an RWD if the main shaft is nowhere.

However, we wouldn’t recommend driving without any drive shaft. Driving without a drive shaft eliminates gear correlation; this can get you downhill without control, or you can go nowhere.

What Happens if You Don’t Fix Your Drive Shaft?

There are a lot of things that will happen if you don’t fix your drive shaft. But why should you decide not to fix your drive shaft? We understand that you might be skeptical about the repair cost, but it is risky for your to keep a bad drive shaft without fixing it.

Here are some things that will happen if you don’t fix your drive shaft.

  • Unusual noise in car.
  • Loss of control.
  • Loss of power.
  • Inability to turn.
  • Complicated issues as other vehicle parts become affected or wear out.
  • Clanking when you navigate gears – forward to reverse.
  • Makes your car unbalanced, putting an unusual load on the car.

What To Do When Your Drive Shaft Breaks While Driving

If your drive shaft breaks while driving, it's best to stop the car. Yes, stop driving and fix the broken shaft as soon as possible. Pull over, stop driving, and if you must continue driving, it must be to get the car out of traffic.

You are putting yourself and other road users in danger if you continue driving on a broken drive shaft.

Summary

We believe that you have understood the level of damage that you might face if your drive shaft breaks while driving. The best way to prevent this is to always check your drive shaft.

Regularly inspect the drive shaft before you hit the road with your car. This will save you from any emergency mishaps due to negligence.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many drive shafts are in a car?

The number of drive shafts in a car depends on the wheel drive system implementation that the manufacturer adopts for the car. In a 4WD/AWD car, there are two drive shafts. One of the drive shafts handles power transmission to the front, and the other takes power to the back.

Is a drive shaft expensive to replace?

Repairing a drive shaft is not expensive. It depends on the needs, the extent of damage, and why you want to replace your drive shaft. The cost of replacing your drive shaft ranges from $300 - $1,500.