Car Axles: What They Are and Everything You Should Know

how many axles do cars have

Press the gas pedal, and your car springs into motion. Hit the brakes, and it comes to a smooth stop. But beneath the sleek exterior of a car lies a complex system of interconnected parts that work together to ensure a seamless driving experience. One such critical component that connects the engine to the wheels is the axle.

What is a Car Axle?

Ever wondered how the power generated by your car’s engine is transmitted to the wheels, propelling you forward? The answer lies in the axle. The axle is a rod or shaft that connects two wheels. When your engine applies force against the axle, it transfers that force, causing the wheels to spin. In simple terms, the axle serves a dual purpose: connecting the wheels and delivering power from the engine to move the car forward or backward[^1^].

How Many Axles Does a Car Have?

In general, a vehicle has one axle for every two wheels. Each axle connects one wheel on one side to another on the opposite side. Since cars have four wheels, they have two axles[^2^]. However, larger vehicles may have additional axles, such as a large pickup truck with an extra axle.

Front Axle vs. Rear Axle

Cars typically feature two types of axles: live axles and dead axles. Live axles rotate with the wheels and transfer engine power to them, whereas dead axles are load-bearing without power transmission[^1^]. In some cars, both the front and rear axles can be live, as in the case of four-wheel drive vehicles. However, many modern cars have a front-wheel drive system[^3^].

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The design and composition of the wheel and axle parts differ between the front and rear axles. The rear axle usually consists of two connected halves called half shafts. Front axles are built sturdier and with greater sophistication, as they bear the responsibility of steering the car and absorbing shocks from uneven surfaces[^2^].

Why Should You Inspect Your Axles?

A broken axle spells trouble. If an axle fails while driving, you may lose control of your vehicle. Regular axle inspections are crucial to prevent such situations. Pay close attention to any signs of deterioration, such as shimmying, shaking, or shuddering, as these could indicate a degraded axle. If your car shows these signs, consider getting the axle replaced[^4^].

Who Should Inspect Your Axle and How Often?

Despite their sturdy construction, properly functioning axles are critical for a safe driving experience. If you notice any strange noises or signs like clunking when shifting gears, vibrations, or if the car won’t move despite running fine, it’s time to have your axles inspected by a professional mechanic[^5^].

Are Axles Covered by Insurance?

Insurance coverage for axles depends on the nature of the damage they sustain. If your axle is damaged in an accident or by a road pothole, collision insurance may cover the cost. However, damage resulting from normal wear and tear or excessive weight in the car is typically not covered by insurance[^6^]. For specific coverage queries, it’s best to consult your insurance agent.

Regular maintenance and inspections are crucial for safe driving. Additionally, being prepared for unexpected situations is vital. Get a free quote from Nationwide and learn more about how auto insurance can protect you and your vehicle.

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Axles play a vital role in connecting your car’s engine to its wheels, allowing for smooth and controlled movement. Understanding how axles work and the importance of regular inspections can help ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience. Remember to pay attention to any signs of axle deterioration and consult a professional if you suspect any issues. By taking proper care of your axles, you can keep your car running smoothly on the road.

^1^: Kia
^2^: Car and Driver
^3^: Autolist
^4^: Meineke
^5^: Resource Center – Meineke
^6^: Kelley Blue Book