How to replace an axle shaft

Drive shaft / side shaft defective? Signs, repairs / replacements as well as costs incurred simply and briefly explained!

The most important things at a glance
  • Drive shafts connect the respective axle drive with the driven wheel and thus ensure that the engine torque is passed on to the wheels.
  • Loss of fat on a defective axle boot, permanent high load (e.g. through appropriate driving style or lowering the vehicle) and the resulting wear and tear or an accident can ensure that the drive shaft or its joints have to be changed.
  • More about the typical symptoms of a defect, the change and all costs incurred you can find out in the following guide!
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Symptoms / signs of a defective drive shaft

  • Vibrations / cracking noises while driving
  • Back and forthhitting the steering wheel due to a broken joint
  • Fat deposits on the wheel housing liner, brake or wheel due to a cracked axle sleeve
  • Steering wheel vibrations while driving (due to a loose counterweight on the drive shaft)

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Do you continue with a defective drive shaft?

If the car is still in use even though the drive shaft is defective, further damage - for example to the gearbox - can occur. The repair work then required entails additional costs. In the worst case, the drive shaft can tear off and the car can no longer be driven.

Repair or replacement of the drive shaft

First of all, the question arises whether a repair / maintenance is possible or whether the affected drive shaft has to be completely replaced.

Therefore, the workshop must first determine what the exact cause of the respective symptoms is. If, for example, only one of the joints on the outside of the drive shaft is defective, it can usually always be replaced individually. The same applies to a defective axle boot.

However, if the drive shaft itself is defective - because it is warped or broken, for example - it must be completely replaced.

The exact process of a change varies depending on the vehicle model. First, the vehicle is raised on a lifting platform.

So first the wheel and the ball joint (s) can be dismantled. The drive shaft is then detached from the gearbox on one side and from the steering knuckle on the other.

After the new drive shaft and all other parts have been reassembled, an axle measurement and a test drive take place.

Cost of changing a drive shaft

The repair costs for changing a drive shaft can vary widely. you are on the type of drive shaft and the associated spare part prices as well as the individual effort required for a change.

The material costs for a new drive shaft are usually between 180 and 600 euros.The replacement part costs depend in particular on the vehicle type and the replacement part manufacturer.

Well-known manufacturers of spare parts are, for example, Meyle, SKF and Spidan. Used auto parts are generally not recommended.

It usually takes between one and four hours to change a drive shaft. Based on an hourly rate of 80 euros, this results in Labor costs from 80 to 320 euros.

Overall, you come up according to this calculation Total costs between 260 and 920 euros. In addition, there is the final wheel alignment with costs of around 50 to 150 euros (including any adjustment work). By the way: it is not absolutely necessary to change each axis!

Change drive shaft - costs in tabular overview

Material / serviceestimated prices
drive shaft180 to 600 euros
Workload80 to 320 euros
if necessary wheel alignment50 to 150 euros (including any adjustment work)
All prices are rough guide values ​​including VAT and can of course vary.

TIP: Do not drive to a workshop before you have determined the current value of your vehicle. So you always know in advance exactly the cost up to which a repair is still worthwhile!

Simply use the following form from wirkaufendeinauto.de (100% free and non-binding).

How does the drive shaft work?

Drive shafts connect the respective axle drive with the driven wheel and thus ensure that the engine torque is passed on to the wheels.

One drive shaft is installed for each driven wheel. Vehicles with front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive therefore each have two drive shafts installed.

Vehicles with rear-wheel drive usually also need a cardan shaft, which transfers the torque from the front engine to the rear axle differential (not required for a rear engine). All-wheel drive vehicles have four drive shafts and also a cardan shaft.

In order to compensate for movements that are caused, for example, by steering or compression and rebound, each drive shaft has a joint installed on the two outer sides.

As a rule, there is a fixed joint on the wheel side and a sliding joint on the transmission side. The joints are protected by a rubber sleeve (axle sleeve).

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Still unanswered questions?

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Categories drive, chassis, guide