What is the Difference Between Powertrain and Drivetrain?

powertrain vs drivetrain Honda

What’s the difference between powertrain and drivetrain? Put simply, the drivetrain delivers power to the wheels and the powertrain includes the engine and the drivetrain.

Drivetrain or Powertrain

You may not know off the top of your head what the benefits are of comparing a drivetrain vs. powertrain but when you recognize the differences between both, it will certainly provide you the edge when car shopping, checking out the technician, or when Alex Trebek asks you a Jeopardy question regarding automobile parts 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 actually thought of exactly how essential these moving parts are. They’re the unsung heroes that get you from point A to point B and they each work in their own distinct method.


What are the Drivetrain Components?

Many times the terms ‘drivetrain’ and ‘powertrain’ are used interchangeably however, contrary to popular belief, they are not the same. So what exactly is the distinction between powertrain parts and drivetrain parts? The greatest distinction is the way power is generated and distributed to the vehicle.

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


Drivetrain: How Does it work?

This is the order of how power is generated and provided 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 generate power to a differential
  • After that the differential supplies power from all those driveshaft elements and boom … your wheels are moving

Powertain: What is in it?

If you understood the drivetrain basics, the powertrain basics should be a very easy concept to comprehend, due to the reality that there is just one specifying variable that sets them apart. That variable is the engine. In a powertrain, the engine belongs to the many moving parts. If you remember from the paragraph above, the drivetrain collaborates with the engine.

The powertrain includes every moving part that is critical to the automobile’s success. It’s single function is transforming kinetic energy into propulsion motion. If one of these components fail your automobile may experience some unusual rattling, or shaking.


What’s the Difference Between Drivetrain and Powertrain? | Mike Smith Honda