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The purpose of your drivetrain is to transfer power evenly to all drive wheels from the engine. A properly working drivetrain gives the wheels power and helps keep the vehicle running for you to reach your destination. Drivetrain service and repairs are there to ensure that all the systems are working efficiently.

The drivetrain is comprised of the differential, transfer case and the transmission.


The differential is important as it connects two wheels on the opposite sides of the vehicles. It is a special gear box located between the drive wheels. It allows the driver to turn at corners when they are at different speeds.

You know the differential needs to be serviced if you notice the following.

  • Clunking during acceleration or when shifting between reverse and drive. 
  • High-pitched noise. 

Differential repair services include checking and placing the lubricating fluid and periodic cleaning and repacking of the wheel bearings to avoid premature wear on the gears. When replacing the differential lubricating fluid, only new fluid should be used, and it should be based on the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.

Transfer case

The transfer case can be described as a gear box found in four wheel drive vehicles and all wheel drive vehicles. It connects the front and rear axles on a four wheel drive vehicle sending drive power to these axles. In an all wheel drive vehicle, the transfer case helps by shifting power from one axle to another based on the traction conditions. 

To keep the transfer case gears cool and running smoothly, the transfer case has lubricant fluid. The fluid needs to be replaced at appropriate intervals that are determined by the manufacturer. Doing so helps prevent premature wear caused by the contaminated lubricant that is broken down.

The transfer case should always be checked for proper lubrication at every oil change. Lack of lubrication leads to loss of four wheel drive operation.


The drive shaft and U joints are important components of the drive train. They connect the transmission to the rear axle on rear wheel drive vehicles. Some four wheel drive vehicles also have these parts.

The U joints and drive shaft must be properly lubricated. If not properly lubricated, the drive shaft can separate from the vehicle causing further damage that will lead to more expensive repairs.

Other parts that need to be inspected during oil changes are the constant velocity shafts, boots, and joints that are found in vehicles with front wheel and four wheel drive. Over time, the CV boots can get worn allowing dirt into the joint. If the damage is severe, the boot and joint will need to be replaced by a replacement axle.

Wheel bearings in rear wheel drive vehicles need routine inspection and maintenance. Every two years or 24,000 miles, they need to be inspected, cleaned and repacked to ensure they are always running smoothly.

For more information on the drivetrain services, visit North Hollywood Toyota.   

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