can you drive with a broken drive shaft

Can you Drive With a Broken Drive Shaft? (All You Need To Know)

The drive shaft is one of the components that helps the car to move forward. But, as much as any automobile component, there are chances for your drive shaft to fail which simultaneously affects powering your car. It could be one of the most frustrating experiences as it becomes dangerous when your car cannot move in the middle of the road. When you meet with a broken drive shaft, one of your biggest questions will be, can you drive with a broken drive shaft? However, there is no definite answer to the question as it depends on the severity and what system correlates the cause for the broken shaft. Hence, if you want to learn more about the broken drive shaft, the causes, and how you can fix them, stick to the article and keep reading till the end.

What is a Drive Shaft, and How Does It Work?

Drive shafts are usually not one of the auto parts we would often talk about until you face a defect. Hence, most of us may not be quite aware of what is a drive shaft or how it works.

A drive shaft in the car is connected to the transmission system, which rotates to transform torque power to the wheels. As a result, it helps the wheel to move forward.

The drive shaft in a car is along an alloy metal pole, connected to the bearing of the transmission system and the gearbox with a U-joint.

When the engine in your car is powered, it spins the drive shaft through the connected bearings while transmitting the engine torque power to the car’s rear end. The energy transferred to the rear end of your car helps the back wheels to rotate.

What Causes a Drive Shaft to Break?

Before the drive shaft breaks in your car, you might come across a few signs and causes that lead to breaking your drive shaft. Hence, it is vital to learn what causes the drive shaft to break and avoid the potential risks. Hence below are some of the causes leading to breaking your drive shaft.

  1. If the bearing in the drive shaft is rusted, it could cause cracks because it decays the metal in the bearing. As the corrosion in the metal starts getting worse, it can break the drive shaft as it expands and contracts during the rotation.
  2. Your car has a maximum capacity of weight it can withstand, but if you exceed the maximum capacity and drive, the drive shaft in the vehicle can break because of the overload or overweight.
  3. The drive shaft has a specific time span it will last and work efficiently like any other auto parts in the vehicle. If you do not follow to maintain the drive shaft in the car and neglect to check on it, the drive shaft can break due to the lack of maintenance.
  4. If you collide against a rough object on the road or hit a road obstacle when driving at high speed, it can directly affect the drive shaft and cause breaking it.
  5. When the joints holding the drive shaft wear out after a specific period, it fails to keep the drive shaft steady on the joint. Hence, a worn-out U-joint will lead to breaking the drive shaft.
  6. If your driver faced mild issues before, but the mechanic failed to do a good job and repair it, it can worsen the situation. Because if the bearings or joints are not installed accordingly by your mechanic the drive shaft can eventually break.

What Causes a Drive Shaft to Break

Can you Drive with a Broken Drive Shaft?

A question that concerns most drivers when they face a broken drive shaft is can you drive with it? Driving your car with a broken drive shaft is not recommended, as it halts with a loud bang.

Your vehicle is not in a stable condition to drive safely. Once the drive shaft breaks, you can still use the power steering, and the wheel rotates, but there is no engine power transferring to the wheels. But if you continue to drive the car with a broken drive shaft, it can worsen the condition and increase the risk of accidents. Because the car is unbalanced, it fails the power steering coordinates with the wheels and body. As a result, you lose control when driving.

What Should You Do If your Drive Shaft Breaks?

If your car shudders and halts with a loud banging noise because the drive shaft is broken, you must step on the brake to avoid colliding with other vehicles. Next, slowly pull off the vehicle to a safe and turn off the engine.

Refrain from driving the car yourself to the mechanic because the transmission oil will be leaking, and the broken metal shaft will be touching the ground.

Hence it could cause accidents. Thus, it is advised to call for a tow truck under emergency to take your vehicle to an automobile repair shop.

Can a Broken Drive Shaft be Repaired or Replaced?

A broken drive shaft can be repaired and replaced depending on the severity of the condition. It can cost between $200 to $800 if you want to repair or replace the broken drive shaft with a new one.

You can avoid the consequences of a broken drive shaft; it is vital to maintain the drive shaft because it will only last between 50,000 and 100,000 miles.


Before you drive the shaft in the car, it breaks completely the car will give you signs. You might hear the clunking sound coming from the gears when you shift, or grinding and growling noises, implying that the U-joint in the drive shaft is worn out.

The car also tends to shudder and vibrate when accelerating. Since the wheels are connected to the drive shaft, you will also face difficulties turning the wheels and putting too much pressure on the power steering.

Thus, in this article, we have discussed one of your biggest concerns, can you drive with a broken drive shaft? Hence to make the article useful, we have included how a drive shaft breaks, the causes, and what you should do when a drive shaft breaks.

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Video Credits – car PROblems

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