Since universal joints are a common point of failure for a four-wheel-drive passenger truck, it is helpful if you can replace them yourself. If you have some basic mechanical skills and tools, then replacing a universal joint is a straightforward process.

Use these "do's and don'ts" to ensure that your project is successful and as simple as possible:

Do put your truck into neutral before you attempt to work on the drive shaft where the universal joints are located. If you do not shift it into neutral, then your truck will roll backward when you drop the drive shaft.

Don't ever work on the drive shaft of your truck without checking the wheels with concrete blocks or spare chunks of firewood. Without checking the wheels, the truck could roll and injure you while you are underneath it.

Do remove the bolts holding the rear end of the drive shaft in place using a socket and ratchet. It is a lot easier to use a socket than it is to use a wrench because you can get some extra torque to help break through any corrosion. Slide the drive shaft towards the front to drop it down out of the transmission. If the drive shaft is stuck in place with corrosion and road grease, then you can use a long screwdriver to pry it free.

Don't damage the drive shaft by dropping it on the ground or placing it in a vice. Drive shafts are very precise parts, and denting it will cause vibration while you are driving your truck down the road. To keep the drive shaft from rolling while you replace the universal joints in it, place it between two large blocks of wood.

Do place a spark plug socket up against the universal joint and hit it firmly with a hammer to remove it. If your truck is an older model, then this procedure can take a few whacks before the universal joint pops out of place. If it refuses to come out, you can spray it with a bit of brake or carburetor cleaner to loosen it.

Don't replace the universal joint on only one end of your truck's drive shaft. Since you have done all of the work to remove the drive shaft, take the extra few minutes to replace the universal joint on both ends. Replacing both universal joints will keep you from having to do this repair again when the second joint fails. And, if one has failed, then the other one isn't too far behind it.

If you need assistance, consider contacting a professional like those at Goodeal Lifetime Transmissions.