You may hear the terms powertrain, drivetrain, driveline, and others all used interchangeably. Really, these terms describe different things. Understanding the differences can go a long way towards understanding the types of repairs your truck may need when it’s having a problem. Here is a look at the different terms, what they mean, and what makes the distinctions important.
Your Truck’s Powertrain
The powertrain of your truck consists of all the components and mechanisms that allow your truck to move. Because the engine creates the needed power to move everything else, the engine is the main part of a truck’s powertrain. However, the powertrain includes just about everything that involves turning engine power into wheels turning. Those components include:
If your truck contains other components that help to move the truck, then those things represent part of the powertrain as well. When you have a powertrain issue, that issue can encompass every single one of these vehicle components.
Since all these things need to work in harmony, changes to one component can mean having every other part of the powertrain checked to make sure everything will work together as intended. This can become an important consideration if you plan to modify your truck with custom powertrain components.
Your Truck’s Drivetrain
Your truck’s drivetrain includes all parts of the powertrain except for the engine. A drivetrain issue would imply the truck’s engine works fine and has no problems that contribute to any drivetrain problems.
Consider the powertrain as one large group of components. The drivetrain is one of the groups of components that make up the overall powertrain. Another way to look at it is to consider the drivetrain as the mechanical parts of the powertrain that don’t produce power but do use the power produced by an engine.
Your Truck’s Transmission
The drivetrain includes the transmission because the transmission dictates how engine power will translate to your truck’s movement. The other components of the drivetrain will depend on the type of transmission in your truck. For this reason, you can often find drivetrains named after the type of transmission the truck uses or its gear and clutch setup.
Understand that while the transmission is part of the drivetrain, it can also have issues independent of the rest of the components. Some may even argue that the transmission exists independently of the drivetrain in general.
A drivetrain problem isn’t always a transmission problem and vice versa. Nevertheless, these components can all create larger issues for each other if a problem with one isn’t dealt with quickly and properly.
Your Truck’s Driveline
The driveline of your truck is the same as the drivetrain but without the transmission. Your truck’s drive shaft also belongs to the overall driveline, even though some people associate the drive shaft with all the other components. The driveshaft, differentials, and axles make up the main parts of the driveline.
Many people seek to add custom driveline components to their trucks for a variety of reasons. But, these systems build on each other. Your custom driveline components must work with the overall drivetrain, which must work with the overall powertrain.
Even some mechanics use these terms interchangeably. However, understanding what they all mean can put you in a better position to understand any issues your truck may have. You will also have a better knowledge of your truck’s components. This knowledge can help when you’re trying to understand what a mechanic tells you or even help you negotiate the price of repair a little better.
Whether you need a custom driveline solution, transmission repair, or service for your heavy-duty truck, contact the professionals at Godfrey Brake Service & Supply.