Any time you are speaking of the transaxle in the automotive field, you are talking about a major mechanical part that affects how the transmission, the differential and the axle are integrated together. Transaxles are in cars that have the engine and drive wheels at the same end of the car. For instance, front engines with front wheel drive or in cars that have rear engines with rear wheel drive. There are also rear mid-engine, four wheel drive layouts. Vehicles that use a transverse engine and transaxle are used in most rear and mid-engine cars. Some other engine layouts are those that used in a longitudinal engine and transaxle. A Ferrari is a good example that has this type of engine layout.

The transaxle houses the transmission and the axles together in a single unit that is connected to the engine. Axles are the component that turns the wheels on a vehicle. The transmission is what shifts the gears in a vehicle. As the engine's power is transferred to the clutch, it will drive the input shaft of the transaxle. The gears can then be shifted as needed according to the torque and the speed being generated by the engine. The transmission and transaxle provides the gearing to drive the vehicle both forwards and in reverse. A transaxle and transmission basically perform the same function.

In the past, most cars were rear wheel drive vehicles. Rear wheel drive vehicles had a transmission housing made out of iron casing that contained the gears in the transmission. These units were heavy and where typically attached to the rear of the front engine. There was a drive shaft that linked the transmission and differential and drive axles that typically are located in the rear vehicle. These rear wheel drive vehicles have a differential that splits the driveline power and then transfers that power to the drive axles. Then that power is transferred to the wheels to make the car go.

Today, many modern vehicles are front wheel drive vehicles. Front wheel drive vehicles have a transaxle that is made out of a special lightweight aluminum casing that houses the differential and drive unit axles together as well as the transmission. Transaxle literally means transmission plus axels. The transaxle transfers power to the front wheels. A transaxle is also located in the front of the vehicle. Because a transaxle is made out of aluminum casing it is much lighter than older iron transmission casings. Transaxles will give you superior road traction because of they are light weight and usual located directly above the drive wheels. Four-wheel-drive vehicles also come equipped with a transaxle.

There are manual transaxles and automatic transaxles. You can purchase light duty transaxle kits repair or rebuild your transmission and transaxle if you have mechanical ability. There are several websites on line that sell transaxles. All you have to do is find out which type you need, order it and it can be delivered to your home in a matter of days. You can also purchase them at a local retail auto parts store if you would rather buy locally. Along with the transmission and the transaxle kits you can get all the seals and gasket kits for the transfer cases. This way the backyard mechanic will have all the seals, gaskets and O-rings that they need to rebuild or repair their transaxle or transmission. Of course if your transmission is slipping or your car will not go into reverse or drive, you may want to take it to an experienced shop and have a qualified mechanic to repair your transaxle for you.

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