CV joints also known as constant-velocity joints, are found on front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel-drive vehicles. If they fail you will hear a clicking noise when you make a turn, especially if you are trying to accelerate.
Typically the outer CV joint is the culprit. CV joints are situated at both ends of the drive shafts. The inside (inner) CV joints connect directly to the differential. The outer CV joints connect the axle to the wheel.
The CV joints transmit power to the wheels regardless of the angle of the wheels. Rotations are transferred at a constant speed without varying the rotational speed. The CV joints are protected by a rubber boot which is filled with a special type of grease. Outer CV joints simultaneously move up and down with the movement of the suspension.
#1 Symptom of Bad CV Joint
Click Click Click
One of the most common symptoms of a bad CV joint is the click, click ,click sound when turning. The same sound will be noticed under heavy acceleration as well.
Other symptoms of damaged CV joint
- Cracks or breaks in the rubber or plastic boot that surrounds the CV joint.
- Grease leaking from cracks onto the wheel rim or inside the wheel well.
- Hearing a clicking sound from the wheels when going around turns at slow speeds (indicative of damage to the outer CV joints)
- Hearing noises when the car is driving straight (possible damage to the inner CV joints)
- The vehicle shudders or shakes during acceleration.
Preventing CV Joint Damage
Visually inspect near the CV joint for grease leaks, especially on the exterior CV boot. In addition, check if the CV joint clamps are loose or broken.
In addition, visually inspect your CV joints frequently for wear, tearing, cracks, or other damage to the boot. Catching any potential problems early on can result in a less expensive repair process and will prevent more extensive damage to the vehicle's driveshaft, wheels, or whole CV joint.🔺
Failed CV joint
Replacing a CV Joint
Early detection of damage to a CV boot is beneficial because in this case, the boot is replaced and the joint is repacked with new grease. Replacements are typically sold as a kit specific for the vehicle, and it will include a new CV boot, grease, and new clamps. It is less expensive than having to replace the drive shaft or the entire CV joint.
If the damage is worse beyond a cracked boot and the entire CV joint is too worn, it will need to be replaced. CV joints cannot be repaired, they have to be replaced with a new part. Furthermore, sometimes you will not be able to replace just the CV joint, because it will not be sold separately. You may have to replace the entire CV axle.
Instructions for replacing either the CV boots, joints, or driveshaft will vary depending on your vehicle. Replacing the CV joint is a complicated procedure that will be made even more expensive if you have to purchase special tools to complete the job. That cost (as well as the time spent) can be weighed against the cost of completing the job at a repair shop.🔺
CV Joint Replacement Cost
The cost of replacing a CV boot alone can vary from $350-$800. If you are going to the trouble of removing the CV joint to replace the boot, you may want to consider replacing the CV joint/axle.
A new CV joint isn't expensive, but the time required to replace a cv joint can be labor intensive. If you only replace the boot, there is a chance that months later or within a few years the CV joint will fail.
Why do CV Joints Fail?
One of the most common problems with CV joints is when the protective boot gets broken or cracks. The grease will come out, dirt and moisture will enter the CV joint. This will cause the CV joint to wear faster and fail due to lact of corrosion and lubrication.
Outer CV joint boots are usually the ones that get damaged first as they need to withstand more movement than the inner boots. They are closer to the wheel which has to move up and down every time you go over bumps or pothole. You should regularly check the condition of the CV joint boot.
If you notice a crack on the CV joint boots it needs to be replaced or fixed as soon as possible. The mechanic will look for tears, cracks or any other damage and recommend the best course of action.
Can a CV joint be repaired?
A worn out CV joint cannot be fixed. It needs to be replaced with a reconditioned or new part. CV joints don't always come separately. If that is the case, you may need to replace the whole drive shaft. The repair shop may charge $380 to $800 for the replacement.
Can I change a CV joint on my own?
You can change the drive shaft or CV joint boot on your own, but you need the right size socket and a breaker bar or torque wrench to loosen the hub nut or CV joint lock-nut. The lower ball joint will need to come out as well and it's hard to do without the right tools. Once you've replaced the CV joint boot, you have to re-torque the hub nut to the specified torque.