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Signs of a Broken Axle and the Causes Behind the Break

We here at Accurate Auto hope that you never have to deal with a broken axle. The good news is that it’s rare for any driver to end up with a broken axle. The bad news is that it could still happen. There are a handful of things that can crack or break a vehicle’s axle and although we are going to list the signs of a broken axle below, you’ll likely know if you have one because your wheels will stop turning.

Signs of a Broken Axle

A standard passenger car has two axles; a larger vehicle has four. The axles are responsible for transferring power from the transmission to the wheels to spin them. This is why the wheels stop turning if an axle breaks. If the axle only cracks, however, you might notice

  • Clunking sounds when you start your car
  • Unusual vehicle vibration as you drive
  • Power loss at the wheels or stopped wheels

Oftentimes, the axle break is sudden and visible, i.e. you can see the broken axle hanging down from underneath your car and the wheels are off-center. There have been times, however, when a driver was able to continue to drive on a broken axle because the crack was not severe.

Broken Axle Causes

The most common cause of a broken axle is age. The older a vehicle is and the more miles it has on it, the more likely the axle will break. This is because the metal has rusted and weakened over time. This being said, other things can crack or break an axle, as well, and they include

  • Getting into a severe auto accident that damages the wheels and undercarriage
  • Overloading your car, truck, or utility vehicle above its maximum weight capacity
  • Driving recklessly over bumpy roads filled with potholes and other hazards

All of these things make sense because your vehicle’s undercarriage and suspension can only handle so much stress. One surefire way to break an axle is to weigh down your vehicle with cargo and people well above what it’s designed to handle and then drive on rough roads. Your axle cannot stand up to this.

How you drive can actually affect the lifespan of your vehicle’s axle. If you drive carefully on rough roads, you reduce the stress placed on the wheels and the axle, and this can help prevent damaging it. Regular suspension inspections help, too, because they find damage quickly and easily.

Call Accurate Auto to schedule a suspension service visit. We’d be happy to check the axle for signs of premature damage and wear.

Photo by Supersmario from Getty Images Signature via Canva Pro
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