The Drivetrain is not the Same as the PowertrainFirst, some definitions for clarity’s sake. The powertrain of a vehicle refers to all the components that power the car: this includes the engine, the transmission, and numerous other parts like axles, propeller shafts, and the differential. The drivetrain on the other hand, refers to the everything that delivers power to the wheels, but not the engine itself. So while drivetrain services and engine upgrades are often connected, drivetrain improvements can occur independent of engine repairs.
Drivetrain Upgrades with Aftermarket PartsMany classic car owners choose to update their drivetrains with aftermarket parts in order to improve vehicle performance and safety. For example, replacing a worn-out transmission with an overdrive transmission can enhance fuel economy and offer improved gearing for quicker acceleration. Updating a car’s transmission, along with other components of the drivetrain, can make it much easier (and cheaper) to drive a classic vehicle on a daily basis. In addition, if you choose to swap out your engine, there’s a good chance you will have to change your transmission and drivetrain too. Indeed, some shops are even capable of replacing the powertrain completely in order to update classic cars with modern electric engines. As a general rule, the more modern the engine, the higher the chance you’ll have to make drivetrain adjustments to accommodate it. Lastly, classic car owners do not have to upgrade the drivetrains on their classic vehicles with modern parts. For individuals who are most concerned with authenticity, it is often possible to rebuild drivetrains back to factory specifications with OEM parts.
Drivetrain Service is EssentialA blown transmission and other drivetrain problems can make it impossible for a car owner to drive their classic vehicle. In other words, a fully-functioning drivetrain is key to driving a classic car safely. So while drivetrain service can and should be a part of the classic car restoration process, regular drivetrain maintenance can also be very important. The silver lining is that the signs of a malfunctioning drivetrain are fairly obvious. They can include:
- Clunking noises.
- Difficulty turning.
- Vibrations or shudders when driving.
- Issues shifting gears.
- Fluid leakage.