If you just purchased a new vehicle that you would like to customize to "make your own," then it is important to learn about your vehicle's driveline and all of its customization options. Put simply, your vehicle's driveline helps your car's engine move its wheels. It also helps you fully harness the horsepower of your engine. By customizing your vehicle's driveline, you can get better performance out of your engine and tailor your car to your driving needs.
Read on to learn more about your vehicle's driveline and your driveline customization options.
The Parts of Your Vehicle's Driveline
Your vehicle's driveline consists of all of the components of the power train that lie between the transmission and the rear differential. These parts include the driveshafts, joints, wheels, differentials, and axles. The term driveline is often confused with powertrain. However, your vehicle's powertrain includes the engine, while the driveline doesn't.
While all drivelines serve the same function, they vary slightly based on whether your vehicle is equipped with front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive.
Driveline Customization Options
Since your vehicle's driveline consists of many parts, this leaves many customization options to choose from.
One way to customize your vehicle's driveline to improve engine performance is to swap out your current driveline for one that is lighter in weight. Of course, if you don't want to replace your vehicle's entire driveline, you can zone in on one part to customize and still reap a great reward in better engine performance.
The wrong stock driveshaft can lead to you losing much of your engine's horsepower. The length and diameter of your vehicle's driveshaft can greatly affect your engine performance, as well as the material your driveshaft is made of. For the best engine performance, choose a driveshaft with a carbon fiber tube. This type of driveshaft can release as much as 5 horsepower from your engine. However, an aluminum driveshaft is an alternative option if you want to free up more horsepower, yet are on a tight budget. Aluminum driveshafts are lighter in weight than stock steel driveshafts, which is this type of driveshaft's main benefit.
Other parts of your vehicle's driveline that are highly customizable are its differentials. There are several types of automobile differentials, including limited slip (LSD), locking, and open differentials. Auto professionals consider limited slip and locking differentials the best replacement options for stock differentials.
There are two types of limited slip differentials: clutch and gear-driven versions. Both allow the axles to spin at different rates and increase the control you have over your vehicle while driving. Limited slip differentials operate very quietly, so you won't disturb your neighbors when you turn on your vehicle's engine.
There are four main types of locking differentials: drop-in lockers, automatic lockers, selectable lockers, and on-command lockers. Locking differentials provide increased traction while driving, which is a great advantage when on the road, especially when driving on wet, slippery roads.
Other components of your vehicle's driveline that you can swap out to improve your driving experience are its axles. There are four main types of axles: drive axles, dead axles, full-floating axles, and semi-floating axles. Each type of axle has its unique advantages and disadvantages. When choosing replacement axles, it is important to take the material they are made of, the spline count, retainer style, how they are hardened, and thickness into consideration.
If you intend to drive only on the street, then look for axles with about 35 splines. Also look for custom axles that are induction hardened and not thru hardened. Induction hardening leaves the axle with a soft core that allows it to bend. This is preferable to a thru axle that cannot flex, which can lead to it breaking very easily.
A custom driveline service can help you choose the best new automobile axles for your vehicle based on your driving goals.
If you are looking to begin your first vehicle customization project, then realize that you have many driveline customization options that can help improve your engine performance and tailor your vehicle to your driving needs.