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Automotive glossary: What is a Shaft Drive or Cardan?

Definition of Shaft Drive: On many vehicles the transmission of the operating torque from the engine, resp. the gear box to the drive wheels takes place via a drive shaft. That is a rod (cardan) , that rotates around its rotation axis and is placed in longitudinal vehicle direction. So it requires the conversion of the rotation for a right angle, to be turned into the rotation axis of the wheels. This is accomplished by a cardan joint, where toothed wheels or the like mesh right-angled. Drive shafts are used with cars that have rear wheel drive and the engine placed in front. In motorcycles it often substitutes the wearout susceptible chain.

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