The axle transfers power from the vehicle’s powertrain to the wheels. In a front-wheel drive transmission, the gimbals (short shaft) move the front wheels. In a rear-wheel drive transmission, the central shaft channels power to the rear wheels, and in an all-wheel drive transmission, the transfer case directs power to all four wheels.
In order to handle all the hazards of the road, axles and gimbals are connected by swivel joints, several of which are coated with grease and protected by rubber boots. However, these parts can be damaged by rocks, potholes, and other objects on the road. Vibrations, a knocking sound, and abnormal handling are all signs of this type of damage. If a gimbal is not adequately lubricated or becomes damaged by water, dirt, or salt, it must be replaced. In an extreme case, a damaged axle could cause the wheels to lock or wreck the transmission.
The certified technicians at NAPA AUTOPRO can perform a visual inspection to check if a joint or axle is damaged, or if a gimbal boot has been penetrated. Make sure to consult your NAPA AUTOPRO expert if you suspect any of these problems.