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What Is Drive Shaft Balancing?

Published by: Edison
Date of Publish:

A driveshaft goes by different names like a propeller shaft, a driveline, or the prop shaft. It is a long sturdy metallic rod that connects various parts of the drivetrain (including the wheel axles) and delivers torque or mechanical power to them to move the vehicle forward.

Although driveshafts are made of hard metal and won't deform easily, some factors can damage them, resulting in unusual vibrations and squealing sounds in the vehicle. Hence, it is necessary to balance a driveshaft to maintain the drive quality.

The below article covers the alpha and omega of the driveshaft, such as what driveshaft balancing is, possible causes of denting, the balancing process, and much more. Read along to find out!

What Is Drive Shaft Balancing?

A drive shaft is a part of your vehicle's driveline that transfers power from the transmission to the rear wheels. A properly balanced drive shaft will improve handling, increase fuel economy and reduce tire wear on your vehicle.

To maintain proper balance, the drive shaft must be balanced on a regular basis. The process involves removing the wheel and tire from your vehicle, then balancing the entire assembly with weights on each end of the shaft.

A technician may also inspect other parts of your suspension system for signs of wear or damage that could affect vehicle handling.

How Does Balancing Work?

Balancing a wheel involves placing weights on its rim so that it rotates smoothly without vibration. Balancers use an electronic strobe light to test whether a wheel is properly balanced before installing weights.

If not enough weight is needed to balance a wheel, too much weight may be added instead — which can cause damage to other components such as brakes and bearings if not done properly by a certified technician.

If too much weight is needed to balance a wheel, it may indicate that the vehicle’s tires need to be replaced or that there is an issue with the wheel itself. It could also mean that your car requires new shocks and struts.

What Causes a Drive Shaft To Become Unbalanced?

When a drive shaft becomes unbalanced, it can cause damage to other parts of your vehicle. Here are some common causes:

  • Bad mounting points: If you have bad mounting points on your vehicle, it can cause unbalanced weight distribution and cause damage to other parts of your vehicle.
  • Worn joints: Worn joints may not allow for proper movement of the drive shaft, which will lead to unbalanced weight distribution.
  • Damaged bearings: Damaged bearings can prevent smooth movement of your drive shaft and lead to unbalanced weight distribution.
  • Worn bushings: Worn bushings can lead to unbalanced weight distribution.
  • Damaged or broken bearing caps: If you have damaged or broken bearing caps, it can lead to unbalanced weight distribution.
  • Damaged or broken yokes: If your vehicle has damaged or broken yokes, it can lead to unbalanced weight distribution.

Step-By-Step Guide to Balance the Drive Shaft

A drive shaft can be balanced if you have all the right equipment and tools. It is not an easy feat to accomplish on your own, however.

It requires special skills and knowledge of balancing a drive shaft. If you think that you have those skills, then here are the steps to follow:

Step 1

First, you will need to remove the drive shaft. You can do this by removing it from the engine and then unbolting it from the transmission.

Once you have removed the drive shaft, clean any dirt, dust or grime off of it with a clean rag and some soap and water mixture.

Check for any signs of damage or wear on both ends of your drive shaft as well as any rusting at either end.

Step 2

Now, it's time to balance the drive shaft.

Go ahead and place the weights on the drive-shaft. You'll want them evenly distributed around the outside of the drive shaft so it spins smoothly, without catching or wobbling.

The rule is that each weight should have equal mass; this means if your car has four tires, each tire should weigh about 36 pounds.

If you're trying to figure out how much weight needs to be added to make sure your car has an even weight distribution throughout all four tires. So if you want one tire weighing a total of 36 pounds, then you need 3 pounds for each wheel.

Step 3

Once you have the weights in place and are ready to reinstall them, you will want to mark the drive shaft at the point where they should be placed.

This can be done with a permanent marker or by simply placing a piece of masking tape over the area.

Make sure that this marking is visible after installing your new tires, as it is important that you put all three balancing weights back on at exactly the same distance from each other. Otherwise, your vehicle may experience vibration when driving down the road.

How Long Does It Take to Balance A Drive Shaft?

It depends on the size of the shaft, the number of weights, and the number of balance holes:

  • If you have a small drive shaft with only one weight, it will take about 30 minutes to balance.
  • A medium-sized shaft with two weights will take between 1 and 2 hours.
  • A large shaft with three or four weights will take around 3 hours or more.

How Do You Test A Drive Shaft For Balance?

The drive shaft is balanced at the factory, but it can become unbalanced within 100 miles. The reason for this is that there's always some amount of play in the suspension and steering system, which will affect how much weight is transferred to the drive shaft.

With that in mind, after your car has been driven 100 miles (or fewer), it's important to have your drive shaft balanced again.

Most shops recommend getting your drive shaft balanced every 1,000 miles or so;. However, it's still good practice to take it into a shop as soon as you feel vibrations while driving.

When taking your car into a shop for an inspection, be sure you let them know about any abnormal vibrations you feel when driving so they can make sure everything is properly checked out!

Benefits Of Drive Shaft Balancing

Do you know the benefits of drive shaft balancing? It's important to maintain the condition of your vehicle if you want to enjoy a smooth ride. Here are some reasons why it pays to have your drive shaft balanced.

Extended Component and Vehicle Life

A balanced drive shaft reduces vibration and improves overall performance. The less vibration, the better the balance, and the longer its life will be.

There are two types of vibration: primary and secondary. Primary vibrations occur when there is an imbalance in your tires or wheels, such as a bent wheel or flat spot on a tire that needs to be replaced.

Secondary vibrations occur from an unbalanced drive shaft; this can lead to premature wear if not addressed by a technician who has experience with balancing driveshafts.

Improved Handling

You'll be able to enjoy much better handling, traction and control. Your vehicle will have improved stability and safety. The smoother ride you'll experience is a welcome bonus of drive shaft balancing.

Better Fuel Economy

A properly balanced drive shaft will reduce the amount of energy wasted on vibration. It will also help you get better mileage by reducing drag in your engine and transmission systems.

Increased Safety

This is especially important on vehicles with manual transmissions, where the engine must turn a drive shaft to turn the wheels. A mis balanced drive shaft can cause vibrations in your car that make it difficult to control and may even damage other parts of your vehicle.

What Happens If You Don't Balance Drive Shafts?

If you don't balance your drive shafts, you'll experience wear and tear on the bearings, which can lead to premature failure, especially at high speeds.

In some cases, vibrations caused by unbalanced drive shafts can cause damage to other components of your vehicle such as your tires or suspension system. This is because unbalanced drive shafts throw off the center of rotation of these components, causing them to vibrate.

While it's possible that you may notice this vibration while driving at low speeds, it's more likely that you'll only notice it when driving at higher speeds — when the vibrations can become more pronounced.

How Often Should I Have My Drive Shaft Balanced?

You should have your drive shaft balanced every 1,000 miles. You should also have it done whenever you bring your car in for service, or if you get new tires, brakes or shocks.

Drive shaft balancing is not a difficult process and can be done quickly at most service centers. If you're concerned about the cost of having your drive shaft balanced, don't worry--it's relatively inexpensive compared to other car repairs.


The driveshaft controls the wheel motion of every vehicle; it is like the backbone of your car. Although it has a sturdy construction, several factors like broken yokes, worn-out bushings, bearings, or bad mounting joints may cause it to deform. Hence, leads to vibrations and other mechanical malfunctions.

A severely damaged driveshaft may suddenly break, resulting in steering loss and other hazards. Therefore, balancing a driveshaft is extremely important, especially; if you have driven over 1,000 miles.

Balancing a driveshaft helps increase fuel economy, vehicle durability, and drive quality. The article dives deep into all the necessary aspects of driveshaft balancing and its importance.

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