Drivetrain Maintenance Tasks for High Mileage Vehicles
What Exactly Is A Drivetrain?
Your drivetrain is tied with your brakes for the most important system in your vehicle in regards to function - it’s what makes it go.
The drivetrain on a vehicle consists of the engine, which produces power using fuel, air, spark every time you rev the engine. From here a series of timed shafts called the crankshaft, and camshaft(s) are connected via the timing belt (or chain).
These shafts work in synchronization to perform a few tasks. They open and close the engine’s valves, convert the energy from a vertical explosion (from the cylinders) to circular energy, and efficiently send power to the transmission.
From here, the energy is sent to the differential in the drive axle. In the case of AWD or 4WD, it will pass through a transfer case, which splits the power between both axles. The drive shafts connect to the differentials in the axles. Your differential is what allows your wheels to spin at different speeds as they need to when turning. The axles spin the wheels and off you go.
That is your drive train and every single component of it is important, so you may want to consider taking good care of it. Paying attention to your drivetrain will help you prevent small problems from becoming big issues and extend the life of your vehicle.
Drivetrain Maintenance Schedule
You should be able to find specific information on this in your owner’s manual. Every vehicle is different, so it’s always a good idea to have a look at the specific needs of your drivetrain. Here are some good general drivetrain maintenance tasks:
10 - 12K Miles
Replace the Air Filter
This is an easy task but is essential to the function of your vehicle. The air filter keeps particles and dust out of the engine while letting the air through which is crucial to the engine function.
Replace the Timing Belt
Some vehicles don’t use a timing belt but rather a timing chain. If the vehicle uses a rubberized timing belt it should be replaced at the 60K mark. This is a job that requires some skill, as an incorrectly tensioned timing belt can wreak havoc on the engine.
Once you’ve hit the high mileage mark - about 100K, it’s time to do a bit of work to ensure your vehicle's drivetrain will keep you going for Ks to come.
1. Inspect the EngineYou’re going to be looking for any leaks, and ensuring that all of your seals are good. If you do find leaks, this could be indicative of a blown or compromised head gasket seal which is a serious problem that requires immediate attention before running the vehicle.
It’s also a good time to do all of your fluids - brake, power steering, etc.
2. Inspect the TransmissionNow it’s time to inspect the transmission for any damage or leaks and change the fluid. It’s also important to check all of the seals and make sure they're in good shape.
3. Transfer CaseIf your vehicle is equipped with a transfer case, you’ll want to change the fluid and inspect it.
4. DifferentialNext on the list is the differential. Changing the oil is usually an easy task that a DIYer should have no problem picking up. It just involves draining and filling the enclosure. Usually, you will find the differential is sealed with either a rubber or threaded metal plug.
5. Drive AxleThe final step on our 100K drivetrain checkup is to re-grease the drive axle. This involves removing a cover. There are also seal covers that will need to be replaced to prevent leaking.
When your vehicle starts creeping up into the high mileage category, the maintenance is the difference between an early trip to the scrapyard and an old reliable vehicle. Make sure to schedule your vehicle for a maintenance checkup at Best Western Transmission in Colorado Springs if you have not done so already. We hope this will help point you in the right direction and help keep your vehicle running smoothly for the miles to come.