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Performing a Drive Axle Inspection on a Truck

Drive Axel

At the present time it is a federal requirement to conduct a drive axle inspection, along with other inspections, every time before driving your truck. Thus, learning how to do one efficiently is extremely pivotal to make sure you are out on the roads as quickly as possible. Inspecting the drive axles takes about around 15 minutes.

Parts to Check

A pre-trip inspection is an integral part of every road trip for a truck driver. For a visual drive axle inspection, look for any cracked or broken welds or loose mounting hardware. Also, the seals and drive axle lubricant will need a little attention periodically. When you get your engine oil changed, check the lubricant level in the drive axle as well to ensure it’s still filled to the appropriate level. Other points to look at during a drive axle inspection include the carrier-to-housing connection, wheel seals, the pinion input or output shields, and the housing breather. When we do a drive axle inspection, our mechanics will look for oil buildup or dirt and see if any parts are missing or damaged, indicating the needs for a drive axle repair.

Drive Axel

Housing Breather

Many trucks have tandem drive axles, which means there are two drive axles with differential assemblies. One is an ordinary differential, and the other has a power divider attached. With a tandem drive axle system both differentials work all the time to drive the truck if there’s no loss of traction. Later drive axle models may also include wheel differential locks, so that each wheel will turn, regardless of traction conditions. However, driving on a surface with good traction, like a road, with the differential lock engaged is a sure way to damage one or both of your differentials, causing the need for a drive axle repair. Also, the power divider compensates for minor variances in tire wear, and locking the drive axles disables this compensator, which will cause damage to one or both your drive axles. Thus, it’s best for your truck to lock your drive axles when you’re stopped.

Call Us for Drive Axle Inspection & Drive Axle Repair

The other essential maintenance implication for drive axles is alignment. Misaligned axles can cause significant issues with tires, especially steer tires, resulting in a misdiagnosis of the problem.

A makeshift method of confirming that the drive axles are reasonably well-aligned is to measure them in relation to the frame and each other. With the wheels chocked and the brake released, measure the distance between the axles. It should be the same on both sides. Also measure the distance from a fixed point on the axle, such as the brake spider, to the frame rail. These measurements should also be the same. If they are different, you’ll want to consider a full-chassis alignment job on your drive axles.