This article discusses failures in shafts such as connecting rods, which translate rotary motion to linear motion, and in piston rods, which translate the action of fluid power to linear motion. It describes the process of examining a failed shaft to guide the direction of failure investigation and corrective action. Fatigue failures in shafts, such as bending fatigue, torsional fatigue, contact fatigue, and axial fatigue, are reviewed. The article provides information on the brittle fracture, ductile fracture, distortion, and corrosion of shafts. Abrasive wear and adhesive wear of metal parts are also discussed. The article concludes with a discussion on the influence of metallurgical factors and fabrication practices on the fatigue properties of materials, as well as the effects of surface coatings.