Drivetrain and Powertrain: What is the Difference?

BMW powertrain vs drivetrain

What is the difference between drivetrain and powertrain? Put simply, the drivetrain provides power to the wheels and the powertrain is made from the motor and the drivetrain.

Powertrain and Drivetrain

You might not know off the top of your head what the advantages are of contrasting a drivetrain vs. powertrain but when you know the differences between the two, it will provide you the upper hand when vehicle buying, going to the auto mechanic, or when Alex Trebek asks you a Jeopardy question concerning car components that make cars move.

Basically, powertrains and drivetrains essentially do the same thing. They generate kinetic energy to make your car ‘go’. Now, chances are that you have never truly thought about exactly how important these moving parts are. They’re the unrecognized heroes that get you from point A to point B and they each operate in their own distinct method.


Drivetrain Components: What are they?

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

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


How Does A Drivetrain Work?

This is the order in which power is generated and delivered by a drivetrain:

  • The engine will generate energy to power a flywheel
  • That flywheel works with the transmission to manage the amount of power dispersed to various other elements of the drivetrain
  • The driveshaft spins to produce power to a differential
  • After that the differential delivers power from all those driveshaft components and boom … your wheels are in motion

Powertrain: What is in it?

If you understood the drivetrain fundamentals, the powertrain basics should be a simple idea to understand, because of the reality that there is only one specifying factor that sets them apart. That factor 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 collaborates with the engine.

The powertrain encompasses every moving component that is important to the automobile’s success. Its sole purpose is converting kinetic energy into propulsion motion. If one of these parts fail your car might experience some unusual rattling, or shaking.


What are the Differences Between Drivetrain and Powertrain? | Baron BMW

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John Naegele was great to work with. He was very professional and took time to explain the differences between the vehicles. He had an excellent route planned for the test drive so I was able to get the feel of the vehicle. Once the purchase was complete John spent time reviewing the features of my specific vehicle. The venue itself is beautiful & very comfortable. I was offered refreshments multiple times during my two visits. Overall a nice experience and I will definitely refer friends to John when they need a new car. Thank you!

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Baron BMW
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913-722-5100
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