Drive shafts transmit torque from the engine, gearbox and differential to the front wheels

In the gearbox housing, the drive shafts are splined to the side gears of the differential

Fixation of the splined tip of the internal joint of the drive shaft in the side gear is carried out by means of a spring retaining ring.

Fig. 1 Front drive shaft of Mazda 3: 1 – hub bolt; 2 – a nave of a wheel, a rotary fist; 3 - connecting shaft; 4 - drive shaft

When installed, the circlip compresses into the shaft groove.

After the shaft is fully installed in the side gear of the differential, the retaining ring is released and fixes the splined tip from axial movement.

The outer pivots of the drive shafts are attached to the front wheel hubs mounted on bearings. The shaft is attached to the hub with a nut.

On the differential side of the drive shaft, a tripod-type universal constant velocity joint (CV joint) is installed, providing a low level of vibration.

The CV joints are protected by rubber covers, which are fastened with clamps and protect against water and dirt.

Cases should be inspected periodically for signs of damage, lubricant leaks, or cuts.

Damaged CV joints must be replaced immediately with new ones, otherwise the CV joints may be damaged.

Replacing the boot includes the operation of removing the drive shafts.

Signs of worn or damaged CV joints, in addition to lubrication leaks, are clicks when driving and cornering, hum when accelerating after coasting, or vibration at high speeds on the highway.

Use the table below to find the cause of the problem. The numbers determine the priority of the probable cause of the malfunction.

Check each part in order. Replace these parts if necessary.

Table of symptoms of drive mechanism failures


Possible fault location


  1. Wheel alignment
  2. Steering gear (loosening or wear)
  3. Hub bearings (wear)
  4. Anti-roll bar

Front wheel vibration

  1. Wheel balancing
  2. Shock absorber
  3. CV joint (wear)
  4. Hub bearing (wear)


  1. Internal CV joint (wear)
  2. Outer CV joint (wear)