The car axle connects the wheels of an automobile to the drivetrain. Fixing a broken axle is a moderately complex job that is typically performed by a qualified mechanic. This task will require the removal of the wheels, brakes, and axle assembly, which, depending on the type of vehicle, can take several to complete. When a car axle is broken, it is normally towed to a repair shop or garage because the car does not move freely.
The tools required to fix a broken axle include a car jack, car stands, wheel sockets, assorted wrenches, and mechanical sockets with special brake tools. If the rear axle is broken, the rear-end grease also must be replaced. A vehicle repair manual is also necessary, which will detail the removal and installation steps for the specific vehicle.
A typical automobile has two axles located at the front and rear areas of the vehicle. These axles rotate as the drivetrain turns, which make the vehicles wheels move. Each axle is connected to the drivetrain with special ring gears that match the vehicle's motor and transmission. It is important to replace a broken axle with the correct replacement part or the gears will not connect properly during the installation process.
A broken axle normally occurs when an automobile drops into a deep hole or split in the road. The axle is a steel rod that has grooved gears on one end with the opposite end containing the studs for the wheels. If a car hits a deep hole, the impact can break the steel rod or the wheel studs, which stops the vehicle from moving.
The first step to replacing a axle is removing the wheels and brakes from the broken axle. This will require raising the car up and placing the undercarriage on jack stands or a garage lift. Once the car has been properly raised, the wheels and brakes can be easily removed from the automobile by following manufacturer removal instructions. Most modern wheels have special lock lugs that will require a lug key for proper removal.
Now that the end of the axle is exposed, the next step will be removing the axle from the axle assembly gears. This procedure differs based on the type of axle being removed, but can normally be completed by removing the gear cover on the rear and removing the spring that holds the end of the axle into the gear drive.
After the axle has been removed, a new axle can be installed in the reverse order of the removal process. Finally the brakes and wheel can be added back onto the end of the new axle. The old axle is normally returned to a scrap yard or used for junk.