What are the Differences Between Drivetrain and Powertrain?

Nissan powertrain and drivetrain

What are the differences between powertrain and drivetrain? Basically, the drivetrain is what gives power to move the wheels. The powertrain includes the engine and the drivetrain.

Powertrain or Drivetrain

You may not know off the top of your head what the advantages are of contrasting a drivetrain vs. powertrain however when you recognize the distinctions between the two, it will provide you the edge when cars and truck buying, visiting the mechanic, or when Alex Trebek asks you a Jeopardy question concerning automobile elements that make vehicles move.

Basically, powertrains and drivetrains basically do the exact same thing. They generate kinetic energy to make your car ‘go’. Now, chances are that you have never truly thought of how vital these moving parts are. They’re the unsung heroes that get you from point A to point B and they each operate in their own unique way.


Parts of the Drivetrain: What are they?

Often times the terms ‘drivetrain’ and ‘powertrain’ are used interchangeably but, contrary to popular belief, they are not the same. So what exactly is the distinction between powertrain components and drivetrain components? The greatest distinction is the way power is generated and dispersed to the car.

A drivetrain is not really a single part of your car – it’s a team of drivetrain parts that collaborate with the engine to move the wheels and various parts of the car to push it into motion. These components typically consist of the transmission, differential, driveshaft, axles, CV joints, and the wheels.


Drivetrain: How Does it work?

This is the order in which power is created and provided by a drivetrain:

  • The engine will produce energy to power a flywheel
  • That flywheel works with the transmission to regulate the amount of power distributed to other elements of the drivetrain
  • The driveshaft rotates to create power to a differential
  • The differential then supplies power from all those driveshaft components and boom … your wheels are in motion

What’s in A Powertrain?

If you mastered the drivetrain fundamentals, the powertrain basics ought to be a simple idea to grasp, because of the reality that there is just one specifying factor that sets them apart. That variable is the engine. In a powertrain, the engine is a part of the many moving parts. If you remember from the paragraph above, the drivetrain works with the engine.

The powertrain encompasses every moving part that is vital to the car’s success. It’s single purpose is converting kinetic energy into propulsion motion. If one of these components fail your vehicle may experience some unusual rattling, or shaking.


What is the Difference Between Drivetrain and Powertrain? | Bob Howard Nissan