DIY

How to Measure a Driveshaft

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Some vehicles come in a variety of configurations (i.e., single cab, crew cab, etc.), which means several driveshafts of varying lengths may be available for the same model. And that can make ordering a replacement driveshaft confusing.

How do you know which one is right for your application? One way is to measure your existing driveshaft and compare it to the dimensions in the product description.

Driveshaft Measurement How-To

Measuring your original driveshaft is a fairly straightforward affair. For the most accurate results, it’s best to remove the driveshaft from the vehicle. But if you choose to leave the driveshaft installed, be sure the vehicle is at ride height before taking any measurements.

automotive driveshaft
The length of a driveshaft varies depending on the vehicle’s configuration.

Exactly where you measure the driveshaft will depend on its design. Below, you’ll find instructions for measuring driveshafts that have a slip yoke and u-joint. There are also instructions for driveshafts that have two flange yokes.

How to Measure a Driveshaft with a Slip Yoke and U-joint

driveshaft
Make sure to read the product description before purchasing it.

Note: Before getting started, you must review the product description for the driveshaft you’re considering. Some parts manufacturers will take the measurements at different points than those listed in the instructions below. For example, the measurement might be from the tip of the yoke to the middle of the u-joint or from weld-to-weld.

  1. Place one end of the tape measure near the middle of the front u-joint.
  2. Place the other end of the tape measure near the middle of the rear u-joint.
  3. Note the measurement on the tape measure to determine the length of the driveshaft (without the slip yoke).

If you need to measure the length of the driveshaft with the slip yoke, perform these additional steps:

  1. Place one end of the tape measure near the tip of the slip yoke.
  2. Place the other end of the tape measure near the middle of the slip yoke’s u-joint.
  3. Note the measurement on the tape measure to determine the length of the slip yoke.
  4. Add the measurements taken in steps 3 and 6 to determine the overall length of the driveshaft, including the slip yoke.

The following video demonstrates the steps listed above:

How to Measure a Driveshaft with Two Flange Yokes

chevy astro driveshaft
Driveshaft for a 1998 Chevrolet Astro
  1. Place one end of the tape measure near the end of the front flange.
  2. Place the other end of the tape measure near the end of the rear flange.
  3. Note the measurement on the tape measure to determine the length of the driveshaft.

The following image demonstrates measuring the front driveshaft for a 1998 Chevy Astro. As you can see, the measurement is about 30.25 inches, which is the same as what’s listed in the product description above.

measuring a driveshaft
A1 Cardone driveshaft for a 1998 Chevrolet Astro

Consult the Product Information

The instructions listed above describe typical methods for measuring a driveshaft. In some instances, however, the manufacturer of the part will specify a different measurement strategy. For example, in the image below, the length is measured from weld-to-weld.

driveshaft measurement
A measurement strategy is usually listed in the product description.

You’ll usually find the measurement strategy listed in the product description or in the product image (like the example above).

Do You Need to Measure Your Driveshaft Before Ordering a Replacement?

In many cases, no, you won’t even need to take measurements. If you know the specifics of your vehicle, there’s a good chance you won’t need to measure your driveshaft when ordering a replacement.

Instead, simply read the fitment information in the product description.

For instance, the driveshaft below is for a 2001 Toyota Tacoma with an automatic transmission. This part will NOT fit the same model with a manual transmission.

toyota tacoma driveshaft
Always read the fitment information in the product description.

When ordering a new driveshaft, the most important advice of all is to read the product description.

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