Difference Between Shaft and Axle in Automobile?

Difference between Axle and shaft

Looking for the difference between the shaft and axle?

Well, then you are at right place. This is the most asked question in the mechanical engineering interviews. Students will easily get confused between shaft and axle. But, if you know the application of these two, then there is nothing to worry. It is quite easy if you understand where these things are actually used.

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A shaft is a rotating member which is subjected to bending moments and twisting moments and sometimes to axial loads. It is acted upon by combined bending, torsional and axial stress. It is desired to transfer motion or power.

It usually comes with a circular cross-section. You can also see it in a cross-section other than circular. It may come with varying diameters and lengths. you can find different elements like gears, pulleys, sprockets etc. on it.

The shaft is also differentiated as the drive or driven shaft according to their position in a machine. Idler shaft is simply a shaft with gearwheels used as spacing or to change the direction of rotation, It is also used to get the required tension in a chain or belts between two sprockets or pulleys.


An axle is designed and manufactured in such a way that it can only take bending loads. It is not used for torque transmission. It is generally a static part. It is attached to the output as a joint.

It is commonly used for the center of rotation in automobile industries. Axles may or may not be rotating but, they only transfer bending moments only.

It is used to support two or more rotating members.

Wrapping up, I hope the above explanations clear your doubts and now you exactly know the main difference between shaft and axle. Please share and do comment.

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