Drive Shaft
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Most automobiles today use rigid driveshafts to deliver power from a transmission to the wheels. A pair of short driveshafts is commonly used to send power from a central differential, transmission, or transaxle to the wheels.In front-engined, rear-drive vehicles, a longer driveshaft is also required to send power the length of the vehicle. The drive shaft, or propeller shaft, connects the transmission output shaft to the differential pinion shaft. Since all roads are not perfectly smooth, and the transmission is fixed, the drive shaft has to be flexible to absorb the shock of bumps in the road. Universal, or "U-joints" allow the drive shaft to flex (and stop it from breaking) when the drive angle changes. There are two types of drive shafts, the Hotchkiss drive and the Torque Tube Drive.