TechTalk Maintenance Tips

Published on August 21st, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Tips to Prevent Failure of Major Powertrain Components

Here are six maintenance tips that you might need to ensure your vehicle works for you.

Whether you drive a vehicle with a conventional internal combustion engine, an electric motor, or a hybrid of the two, it has a powertrain that sends power to the wheels. The powertrain is what makes a vehicle move and is also what requires the closest attention from owners to prevent costly repairs and potentially dead vehicles.

A transmission replacement can cost much more than many vehicles are worth, and the engine along with other powertrain components all need regular maintenance to stay in top operating condition and live to the fullest extent of their lifespan.

BHP_Euro5 Diesel_2021_Lexus NX

The five major components of a powertrain are the:

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Differential
  • Driveshaft
  • Axles

The following six tips to prevent failure of major powertrain components will help you to get the most life and best return on your transportation investment.

  1. Check and Change Fluids Regularly

The engine provides the power and holds the most oil, coolant and other fluids needed to ensure it runs properly. The oil reduces friction between metal parts, which enables the engine to run smoothly and at proper temperatures. The same goes for the coolant, which flows from the radiator through the engine and even cools the transmission. You need to check and change all fluids regularly to ensure the engine enjoys optimal protection against friction, overheating and costly breakdowns.

Maintenance Tips
Maintenance Tips
  1. Follow Factory-Recommended Service Schedules

Every vehicle ever manufactured comes with factory-recommended service schedules that are based on the expected service life of various parts, fluids and other components. The more you abide by that maintenance schedule and make a modest investment each year to ensure the powertrain is in good shape, the longer your vehicle will last while preventing expensive breakdowns. The cost of a new engine or a new transmission / remanufactured unit greatly outweighs the more reasonably priced maintenance and service that should be done annually to keep your vehicle’s powertrain in top running shape.

Maintenance Tips
Maintenance Tips
  1. Transmission Service Greatly Extends Life

All car owners should check the transmission fluid as well as the engine oil levels to make sure the transmission has plenty of good, clean fluid. Most transmissions need a complete service between the 50,000- and 100,000-mile marks. The service includes replacing any worn seals, checking the clutch and replacing any worn components, and topping off the transmission with good, clean fluid. Used transmissions can lower the cost of replacing a damaged original unit, but regular transmission service can prevent that from happening.

Maintenance Tips
Maintenance Tips
  1. Don’t Ignore the Drivetrain

The drivetrain is very easy to overlook because it mostly is out of sight and located well beneath your vehicle. But every vehicle has at least one and likely three drive axles in AWD and 4X4 drivetrain configurations. Those drivetrains have seals and fluids that help to protect the axles that send power to the drive wheels. Regular maintenance will keep the drivetrain in good shape and help identify any potential problems long before they become sudden and costly breakdowns.

Maintenance Tips
Maintenance Tips
  1. Check the Differential

The differential transfers power from the drive axle to the wheels and requires regular maintenance that is generally simple and very affordable to do. Rear-wheel-drive vehicles and most AWDs and 4X4s have a differential sending power to the rear drive wheels. That differential has fluid that needs topping off whenever you get an oil change and should be changed about every 20,000 to 30,000 miles.

The differential has seals and internal metal parts that must be lubricated to prevent wear and tear that could cause the drive wheels to stop turning. A bad differential also can wreck a transmission and put a vehicle in the boneyard. The cost to maintain the differential is very low and much more affordable than a major breakdown.

Maintenance Tips
Maintenance Tips
  1. Maintain Support Systems

The major powertrain components stay in their best shape when the supporting mechanical systems also are in good working order. Wheel hubs and spindles, suspension components, steering systems and much more all help to keep the vehicle under better control, which puts less wear and tear on the powertrain.

Ignoring support systems could cause the drivetrain, transmission or other critical systems to wear out a lot sooner than they should. The rebuilt transmission cost/price can make a major repair more affordable, but simple maintenance of support systems can help to keep the powertrain in top shape and negate the need for a transmission rebuilt or replacement.

Maintenance Tips
Maintenance Tips

Common Powertrain Dangers are Mostly Preventable

The mechanical components that make up the powertrain in any kind of vehicle need regular maintenance to stay in the best running shape and give you the most reliable service. Engine or transmission rebuilds are very costly and cause many owners to find replacement vehicles.

There are places that offer cheap used transmissions for sale like and other companies that also offer other lower priced powertrain components. Regardless, if you abide by the prior six maintenance tips to prevent failure of major powertrain components then you can drastically reduce your chances of ever having to go through the transmission replacement process.

About the Author is a service to the public and other website owners. is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for, damages of any kind arising out of use, reference to, or reliance on any information contained within the site While the information contained within the site is periodically updated, no guarantee is given that the information provided in this website is correct, complete, and up-to-date. is not responsible for the accuracy or content of information contained inside.

Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑