Automotive drive axle

Automotive drive axle

A theoretical or actual crossbar or assembly which supports a motor vehicle and on which one or more wheels turn. The axle is either a live axle or a dead axle. A live axle, or drive axle, drives the wheels connected to it while supporting part of the weight of the vehicle. A dead axle, or nondrive axle, carries part of the weight of the vehicle but does not drive the wheels. See Automobile

A drive axle on which the wheels can pivot for steering, such as on the front axle of a four-wheel-drive truck, is a steerable drive axle. The rear axle in most automotive vehicles is a non-steering drive axle.

The rear drive axle is suspended from the vehicle body or frame by springs attached to the axle housing. The housing encloses the final-drive gears, differential gears, and wheel axle shafts. See Automotive suspension

Most four-wheel-drive vehicles have a steerable front drive axle that is usually similar in construction and function to the rear drive axle. The principal difference is in the provisions made for steering. See Automotive steering

Automobiles with front-engine and front-wheel drive have independent front suspension and do not use a front drive-axle housing. Instead, a separate transaxle combines the functions of the transmission and the drive axle. See Automotive transmission

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Engineering. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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