Rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles are outfitted with an axle shaft (also known as half shaft), which transmits the drive from the differential to the rear wheels. When this shaft fails, it will be nearly impossible for the rear wheels to be driven.
You'll know that your vehicle's axle shaft has worn out if you hear knocking or clunking sound during acceleration or deceleration. But this can also be caused by other problems, so you'd better check the half shaft first before deciding to replace it.
If you're checking, fixing, or replacing the rear axle's shaft and you need to remove it from the wheel and axle assembly, here are the steps to follow:
What you'll need:
- Drain pan
- Jack stands
- Tire wrench
- Impact wrench
- New axle shaft
- Protective gloves
- Flathead screwdriver
- Ball and socket wrench
Step 1: Loosen the wheel lug nuts.
With the vehicle parked in a solid level ground, employ the parking brake. If the wheel is outfitted with a hubcap, pry it out of its position using a flathead screwdriver. By removing it, you will be able to see the lug nuts that hold the wheel in place. Use a tire wrench to loosen each lug nut on the wheel with a broken axle shaft.
Step 2: Jack up the vehicle.
Jack up the rear part of the vehicle and place jack stands underneath the pinch welds. Lower the vehicle unto the jack stands until it is high enough to allow you to see what's under it. Then, lock up the jack stands.
Step 3: Remove the rear wheel.
Now, remove the lug nuts and set them aside. Take the wheel out of the hub assembly.
Step 4: Detach the brake caliper from the wheel hub.
See if the brake caliper is attached to the wheel hub. Thread a screwdriver through the hub to stop it from turning. If the caliper is attached to the hub, remove the bolt that holds itto the rotor. If the caliper is rusted, you may need to knock the fasteners just to shift and remove them. If you need to do some knocking, hitch up first the rubber brake hose with a wire so it won't get in your way and get damaged.
Step 5: Remove the wheel hub.
Put a drain pan or any container on the floor underneath the vehicle's transmission to catch any fluid. Take out the nut at the tie rod end, where it meets with the steering knuckle. Once the nut is off, you can now detach the control arm from the steering knuckle using a wrench. Separate the wheel hub from the strut by prying it out of place.
Step 6: Remove the axle.
Use the flat-head screwdriver to pry the axle shaft out of the vehicle's transmission. You can improve your grip by wearing protective gloves. Now that the old shaft is out, you can put the new one in place or you can now check it for defects so you'll know if you need a new one.