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What exactly is the Drive System (in basic terms)

I am considering buying a 2003 Mazda B Series truck, however consumer reports has rated the drive system as “poor” for that make/year/model. What does that mean really and how can I tell if there is a problem with the DS? I am planning a test drive tomorrow - Help!!!

The drive system in simplest terms includes any component that contributes directly to the motivation of the truck. From the motor to the transmission to the differential, all are components of a truck that are inferior to other makes by CR’s standards. The truck you are trying out is a Ford Ranger which bides it’s time as one of the least expensive PUs made in America, which also according to CR, would not be a worthwhile purchase if it were priced thousands less new.

I would cancel the test drive and move on to another make better respected by CR, if CR’s opinion means anything to you. But, like anything, if it’s cheap enough and in good “shape” otherwise, we can overlook deficiencies and someone else opinion, including mine. Others will add theirs, some with personal experience with this truck which will be of value.
You do well to ask. Best of luck in your car purchase.

Hmm… that’s interesting. I’ve known a lot of people who’ve had these trucks and they’ve had nothing but good luck with them. I wonder if there’s a specific problem that brought down those ratings so much.

Is this a rear wheel drive truck or 4WD? If RWD then the drive system is pretty simple. The components are transmission, drive shaft, U-joints, differential, axles, and wheel bearings. I believe the motor is a separate category, so it everything that transfers the rotational power of the motor into the rotational power of the rear wheels.

If it is a 4WD truck you add a transfer case, a front differential, front axles, and front wheel bearings to the above. If it is a standard transmision a clutch is included in the drive system.

These trucks are pretty straighforward items. I’m not sure why the low ratings but suspect perhaps more than average problems with the transmissions. I don’t think I’d be scared off of a test drive. You may want to investigate the model further to identify the exact issues behind the rating.

In layman terms for the lame man. the engine, going through the transmission, then the driveshaft and through the differential to the wheels. if FWD, engine, tranny, diff, CV’s, wheels.

The drive system is the engine, transmission, driveshaft(s), differential(s), and axles; basically anything that makes the truck go.

The B Series is a clone of the Ford Ranger. The Mazda should be no more or less reliable than a comparable Ranger.

The company I work for has been buying Rangers since they were first introduced. I’ve driven one of every model there’s been as a company vehicle. They’re perhaps not the most sophisticated truck on the Market, but as far as reliability goes we’ve had good luck with them.

While all the above are correct in general, Consumer Reports has separate categories for engine and transmission, so ‘drive system’ must be limited to the axles and awd or 4wd system. For the B, the 2wd system is rated better than average, while the 4wd system is much worse than average.

This truck is almost 7 years old. What is important is the overall condition of the truck and how well it has been maintained. Have the truck checked over by a mechanic. You might let the mechanic know that the drive system may be a weak spot so that he checks this system thoroughly.

Since the drive system concerns several components, it may be as simple as the universal joints being problematic. These are relatively inexpensive. On the other hand, it may be a problem with the differential. This is much more expensive to repair. I think in the Consumer Reports ratings that the transmission is rated in a category by itself.

As I said, have a mechanic check the truck. One problem is that Consumer Reports compares all vehicles against each other. A truck is often used differently than a car. I can imagine more universal joint problems if a truck is used to tow trailers or carry heavy loads than what a car would have.

To add a little person experience, a relative has had several and though he often complained about it’s rough ride and lack of performance, he had little trouble with any. A neighbor and friend each had one and used them for occasional off roading. Each had problems with components that could not take the stress of hard use that my Toyotas had fewer problems with. My take then…for general non stressful use in 2wd, OK. For rougher use, I’d look elsewhere.

Thank you all for the input on the BSeries/Ranger, drive system definition, and CR ratings. I am curious to know too if there was a specific problem that brought down their ratings. Anyways, I will definately have my mechanic check things out if I decide to purchase the vehicle. It is a RWD by the way.

The RWD is rated pretty good by CR, mostly better or much better than average for just about everything except ‘transmission minor’, so there’s not much to worry about there.