How Maintaining Your Heavy-Duty Truck Axles Keeps You Safe on The Road 

Trust Foothills Group for expert heavy-duty truck axle maintenance and repair in Calgary, Alberta. Ensure your driveline and safety with us. Contact now!

How Maintaining Your Heavy-Duty Truck Axles Keeps You Safe on The Road 

Your heavy-duty truck axles are an incredibly important part of your truck. Not only are they the final point in your driveline, but the axle housings themselves are a strong structural component that must be maintained. Our team here at Foothills Group has put together this handy guide on how axles work, how they need to be maintained, and how they play a role in keeping you and others on the road safe. If at any point you have questions or would like to book an appointment for heavy-duty truck axle repair in Calgary, Alberta, feel free to give us a call. 

How Truck Axles Work

The long cylindrical axle you see on the underside of your truck is what’s called an axle housing. This component not only provides structural support for your various suspension and brake components, but it also houses your axle shafts. To put this into perspective, let’s follow the driveline power path, shall we? Power is produced by your engine, it’s optimized by your transmission’s gearing, and it’s sent down a rotating driveshaft to your differential. From here, your differential is directly connected to two driveshafts, one for each side. Your differential transfers power to these shafts via a complex system of gears within the axle housing. 

The Role of Bearings in Heavy-Duty Truck Axles

Have you ever wondered what prevents rotating axles from creating a ton of friction? Every vehicle on the road has what are called wheel bearings. For heavy-duty trucks, they’re found on both the truck and trailer, regardless of whether the axle gets power. These bearings are responsible for reducing friction and maintaining the structural integrity of your axle and wheel hub assemblies. 

Over time, these bearings can fail due to contamination, impacts with road debris, or simply just old age. Some common symptoms of failure include an overheating wheel hub, visible grease leakage, and noisy rotations. These symptoms should be taken very seriously, for bearing failure can have serious consequences. A blown bearing not only has the potential to weld directly to your spindle and seize up your driveline, but it may also cause your wheel to separate entirely. In some cases, bearings can even catch fire and burn down your entire truck! 

How Truck & Trailer Spindles Work 

Although bearings are one of the most important parts of your driveline, they’re not working alone. Without spindles, they’d have nothing to spin against. Spindles are located on trucks and trailers, regardless of whether the axle gets power. Although they don’t need to be maintained, they may need to be replaced in the event of bearing failure. After all, a bearing can get so hot it welds directly to the spindle itself. 

The Support and Structural Elements

Aside from housing your bearings, axle shafts, and differential gearings, your axle housings also provide support for your suspension components. Your leaf springs, airbags, if applicable, and shock absorbers are all directly mounted to this axle housing. Your axle housing is so integral to the structural integrity of your truck that it can have a direct impact on your overall alignment. One important thing to keep in mind is that not all axles receive power. Trailer axles, for example, only perform the structural functions of an axle housing. In this case, they’ll support your suspension and spindles but nothing more. 

Causes of a Damaged Axle Shaft

Axle shafts, like most other components, can break if overstressed. Although most truckers won’t ever overload their trucks, the axles themselves can still become overloaded on rough terrain. For example, if one wheel has more grip than the other, the weight distribution may be oriented towards one axle shaft rather than the other. This may cause it to snap or warp. Another cause of axle shaft damage is axle seal failure. If the grease leaks out, the axles won’t be properly lubricated, and the friction they’re exposed to may cause them to snap or warp. 

What Foothills Group Can Do For You

With a full roster of mechanics with decades of collective experience, Foothills Group is well-equipped to meet all of your heavy-duty truck repair needs. With services ranging from preventive maintenance to engine repair, you can count on our team of mechanics to have your back. For truck repair in Calgary, Alberta, give our shop a call today. 

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