What is a Drivetrain, and How Does it Work?

What is a Drivetrain, and How Does it Work?

What is the drivetrain?

The drivetrain, also called the powertrain, provides power to the wheels so the car or truck can move. The drivetrain includes:

  • Transmission
  • Driveshaft
  • Axles
  • Wheels
  • Engine
  • Exhaust system

It’s a very complex system with a lot of moving parts. There are four types of drivetrain arrangements – rear-wheel, front-wheel, four-wheel and all-wheel drive.

Engine and Transmission

The two biggest parts of your drivetrain are also the two needed for your car to even function. The engine provides all the power to move your vehicle, and the transmission allows your engine to operate within a range of speeds.

Clutch or Torque Converter

The component allowing your engine to keep running when the vehicle isn’t moving sits between the engine and transmission. In a manual transmission, it’s the clutch. In an automatic transmission, it’s the torque converter.


From the transmission, power then moves to the differential. When you drive around a corner, the inside wheel is traveling a shorter distance than the outside wheel, so the outside wheel needs to move more quickly to make up the difference. The differential is what allows your wheels to move at different speeds.

Whether you drive a Chevrolet or Ford, the knowledgeable drivetrain repair experts at Christian Brothers Automotive in Queen Creek, Arizona can make sure everything is working as it should. Call our auto repair shop today for a drivetrain maintenance appointment or an inspection. Discover the nice difference!