Axles

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About

Drive Axle
Drive Axle
Dead Axle
Dead Axle

A simple explanation of an axle is an assembly that keeps two wheels separated by a rod or other device,in order to maintain the distance between the two wheels. The axle must withstand the weight of the vehicle and any cargo, or passengers. It also must be able to withstand the braking and acceleration forces of the vehicle. There are two basic types of automobile axles, the drive axle and the dead axle.

A drive axle is what allows the vehicle to move. Most modern passenger vehicles and light trucks, us a split-axle design. A basic explanation for a rear wheel drive vehicle, is that a driveshaft is connected to the differential, which transfers the energy to the axle shaft which spins the tires. In a front wheel drive vehicle, the transmission and front axle are often combined into a single unit,called a transaxle. This also has a differential between the two axle shafts. Each axle shaft connects to the wheel by use of a constant velocity (CV) joint, which allows the wheel assembly to move vertically as well as to pivot when making turns. There are many types of axles available, and one used on one vehicle may not work for another, because of weight or speed requirements.

In split-axle designs, the wheel on each side is attached to a separate shaft. Most passenger cars have split drive axles. This allows independent suspension of the left and right wheels, and a smoother ride. Even when the suspension is not independent, split axles permit the use of a differential, allowing the left and right drive wheels to be driven at different speeds as the vehicle turns, improving traction and extending tire life.

A dead axle is an axle that is not part of the vehicles drivetrain. In front wheel drive vehicles,the rear axle would be considered a dead axle. The dead axle is available in a few different ways; the most common are at the end of the axle is a spindle, that the wheels are mounted to, or as a solid shaft with a spindle mounted, at the end.

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