Drivetrain and Powertrain: What is the Difference?

drivetrain vs powertrain Nissan

What are the differences between drivetrain and powertrain? In summary, the drivetrain is what delivers the power to move the wheels and the powertrain consists of both the engine and the drivetrain.

Drivetrain Versus Powertrain

You might not know off the top of your head what the advantages are of comparing a drivetrain vs. powertrain but when you understand the distinctions between both, it will give you the edge when car buying, going to the auto mechanic, or when Alex Trebek asks you a Jeopardy question regarding car elements that make cars move.

In other words, powertrains and drivetrains essentially do the exact same thing. They generate kinetic energy to make your car or truck ‘go’. Now, chances are that you have never really thought about how crucial these moving components are. They’re the unsung heroes that get you from point A to point B and they each work in their own unique way.


Parts of the Drivetrain: What are they?

Often times the terms ‘drivetrain’ and ‘powertrain’ are utilized interchangeably yet, contrary to popular belief, they are not the exact same. So what exactly is the difference between powertrain elements and drivetrain parts? The most significant distinction is the way power is produced and distributed to the vehicle.

A drivetrain is not actually a single part of your vehicle – it’s a group of drivetrain parts that work together with the engine to move the wheels and different parts of the vehicle to push it into motion. These components often consist of the transmission, differential, driveshaft, axles, CV joints, and the wheels.


Drivetrain: How Does it work?

This is the order of exactly how power is produced and delivered by a drivetrain:

  • The engine will produce power to power a flywheel
  • That flywheel works with the transmission to control the amount of power distributed to other elements of the drivetrain
  • The driveshaft rotates to create power to a differential
  • After that the differential delivers power from all those driveshaft components and boom … your wheels are moving

Powertrain: What is in it?

If you mastered the drivetrain fundamentals, the powertrain basics ought to be an easy concept to grasp, because of the fact that there is only one defining factor that sets them apart. That variable is the engine. In a powertrain, the engine is a part of the many moving components. If you keep in mind from the paragraph above, the drivetrain works with the engine.

The powertrain incorporates every moving part that is vital to the vehicle’s success. Its sole purpose is transforming kinetic energy into propulsion motion. If one of these parts fail your vehicle might experience some uncommon rattling, or shaking.


What are the Differences Between Drivetrain and Powertrain? | Round Rock Nissan