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Universal Joint

By David Sturtz, April 14, 2008

As a vehicle travels over bumps, a suspension-mounted differential moves up and down. There is a universal joint (U joint) at each end of the driveshaft that allows the driveshaft to rotate as the differential moves in relation to the rest of the chassis-mounded drive train.

Symptoms of Wear or Failure of U Joint

  • Vibration or shudder when driving, especially upon acceleration
  • Squeaking or clunking sound while driving

Related Repair Advice for a U Joint

  • When having a U joint replaced, we recommend replacing all of the joints at the same time
  • "Single" style U joints are commonly serviced by repair technicians in the shop. A driveshaft using a "double cardan" style, which is basically two single U joints in an assembly, are commonly replaced as a unit or sent to a driveline specialist to be rebuilt.
  • Modification of the vehicle ride height can change the driveshaft angle. This can result in abnormal driveshaft vibration and excessive U joint wear

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