Your car is engineered with tons of bits and pieces that all serve various functions, all of which are entirely important to the overall function of your car. If you own a Volkswagen vehicle, then you are fortunate enough to drive a German-engineered car—world-renowned for their exceptional engineering and design. Unfortunately, even these tough-as-nails cars can face part failure and performance difficulties. With normal wear and tear, some parts begin to burn out faster than others—depending on your typical driving conditions and other factors, such as the age of the car or the accrued mileage.
One part that can become compromised under certain conditions is the drive axle, also referred to as the “half-shaft” in some instances. It’s quite easy to feel bogged down with automotive jargon and terminology, as it can be awfully confusing at times. What’s important to know, is that depending on the type of Volkswagen vehicle you drive, you might experience issues with the drive axle failing. Here is a little more information about what a half-shaft is and how you can prevent its failure in your own car.
What is a “half-shaft?”
As we mentioned before, the half-shaft is a term often used interchangeably with drive axle, and while the half-shaft itself doesn’t typically wear out, the system of parts it’s connected to often do. When the other suspension parts begin to become strained or malfunction, it puts added stress on the drive axle or half-shaft, which can compromise the part. As a component of the suspension in your Volkswagen, whether it’s a front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive vehicle will determine the nature of these parts and how soon you’ll need to service or replace them.
The common signs that something’s not working properly
Suspension components wear rather quickly in comparison to other parts of your vehicle. This is usually due to the fact that they take a brunt of the car’s impacts with the road, including when you drive through a pothole, run over a curb, or perhaps move too quickly over a speed bump. All of these factors can greatly contribute to how quickly suspension parts wear out. The first step toward solving such issues is to notice any changes in your Volkswagen’s performance and to keep your eyes peeled for any concerning symptoms. Here are a few of the most common signs of suspension-related drive axle issues.
Loud noises while maneuvering the steering wheel
When parts of the suspension become too worn out or have withstood considerable damage, you’ll begin to notice loud noises while turning your car. It might sound like a clicking or a rattling, which could be a symptom of a few different suspension components failing. Before your axle breaks, it’s important to have this symptom checked out by a Volkswagen specialist.
Extreme vibration throughout the car
Another common symptom of a damaged axle is strong vibration throughout the car that you might perceive as stronger while turning. When the drive axle or other suspension components are damaged, it creates instability in the key components of the car, causing it to vibrate while the engine is running.
Noticeable grease leaks
Because various parts of your suspension contain lubricants like grease, especially in the CV joints, when a part becomes damaged you might begin to notice grease around the inner part of your wheels. This is troubling, as not only are you losing lubrication to your suspension, but you’re dealing with messy leaks.
What you can do to prevent half-shaft failure
The best way to prevent drive axle or half-shaft failure is to keep up on routine inspections and suspension services. In your Volkswagen manual, you’ll find a list of scheduled services that coincide with the typical wear patterns in these cars. It’s important to follow this plan, but also to collaborate with your Volkswagen specialist on what the best preventive maintenance plan is for your particular driving habits and your unique circumstances.
How we can help you
Here at Auto Europa, located in beautiful San Francisco, CA, we commit the majority of our efforts to preventive care in our clients’ vehicles. Taking this approach to auto care significantly saves our clients money in repairs and keeps out-of-the-ordinary suspension problems, like damaged drive axles, from occurring. If you’re experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, please contact our shop to schedule an inspection right away. It’s most important to maintain your safety while on the road.
* Volkswagen Golf GTI image credit goes to: supergenijalac.
* Volkswagen Steering Wheel image credit goes to: eugenesergeev.