The driveline components on your heavy-duty truck are built to deliver peak performance. Transmitting torque from your truck's transmission to its axles while adjusting to changes in driveshaft length is a tough balance. Properly functioning u-joints smooth things out by providing flexibility between your driveshaft and axles, even in the most grueling road conditions.

Rising to such a difficult challenge is a full-time job. Your u-joints work non-stop while your truck is on the road, and this constant movement and stress can cause wear and tear. U-joint problems can lead to driveline failure and thousands of dollars in repairs.

Good news. With proper preventive maintenance, most u-joint issues can be averted. Most of the time, u-joints fail due to inadequate lubrication. Following a multi-point lube check at your Road Choice retailer, factory-trained technicians will use lubricants designed to keep your u-joints and other critical components doing their job. If you want to install maintenance-free u-joints as an alternative to greasing, you'll need components that meet high-performance standards.

Operating your heavy-duty truck with excessive driveshaft angles could also contribute to premature u-joint failure. It is recommended that u-joint angles should be no greater than 3 degrees, and the difference in angles between front and rear u-joints on the same driveshaft should not exceed 1 degree. The higher the u-joint angle, the shorter the life of the joint.

Here are four signs your u-joints may be damaged or going bad:

1. Loud clunks in the driveshaft when shifting gears

2. Vibrations/roughness/shudders during acceleration or deceleration

3. Grease leaking out of end caps

4. Play in the driveshaft

All driveline components should be closely examined at regular service intervals to ensure maximum longevity. For more information or to schedule a service appointment, call the driveline experts at your nearest Road Choice retailer. You can also order driveline components online through PartsASIST, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year delivered either directly to your doorstep or will-call part pickup.