Blog Car Care Advice 4 Hard-to-Miss Symptoms of a Bad CV Axle (+ How to Replace)
Car Care Advice

4 Hard-to-Miss Symptoms of a Bad CV Axle (+ How to Replace)

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Noticing odd sounds or excessive vibration from your car?
These could be symptoms of a bad CV axle

If neglected, it can lead to safety issues and hefty repair bills.

But fret not!
This comprehensive guide will help you identify these early warning signs and ensure a trouble-free ride.

This Article Contains: 

Let’s dive in.

4 Common Symptoms of a Bad CV Axle

The CV (Constant Velocity) axle — containing the inner CV joint, the outer CV joint, and the CV boot, work together to transfer engine power to the wheels and allow for smooth suspension and steering.

A broken CV joint or damaged CV boot can lead to car axle issues, resulting in these common symptoms:

1. Clicking or Popping Noise

The inner CV joint in the car axle allows the axle to flex and rotate while maintaining power delivery to the wheels. Over time, the protective CV rubber boot surrounding the CV joint can tear or degrade, leading to joint damage. When you have a faulty CV joint, the metal parts can rub against each other, producing a distinct clicking or popping noise, especially during turns. 

2. Vibration Or Knocking Sound

A CV joint failure can lead to a damaged CV axle, causing it to lose its shock-absorption capability and disrupt smooth wheel rotation. This malfunction can manifest as a vibration or knocking sound transmitted through the steering system and the vehicle’s chassis.

3. Grease Splatter on Undercarriage

The CV boot protects the CV joint on the CV axle, and this CV joint boot houses the crucial grease that keeps the CV axle joint lubricated. However, when the CV boot degrades due to heat, aging, or damage from road debris, the grease within the CV boot escapes. This grease leak can gather on the vehicle’s undercarriage, resulting in visible splatter marks.

4. Loss of Power

A damaged axle can hinder power transfer from the transmission to the wheels. This causes power loss as some engine torque is lost in the faulty CV axle instead of reaching the wheels. The extent of power loss depends on the severity of the axle damage. 

If these symptoms are not detected promptly, they can lead to extensive damage and expensive repairs.

Next, let’s explore the potential repair costs. 

How Much Does a CV Axle Replacement Cost?

Replacing a bad axle costs about $1,500, with costs for one entire CV axle ranging from $700 to $1,000 and labor around $200. To break it down further, a bad CV joint costs $250 to $700, and a damaged CV joint boot costs between $120 and $350. 

Each axle replacement takes roughly one to three hours and is best entrusted to a skilled mechanic with the required expertise and tools. Let’s take a look at how it’s done. 

How to Replace a CV Axle? 

Here’s the step-by-step process a professional mechanic would follow to replace a faulty CV axle:

  1. Use a jack to raise the front of the car and secure it with jack stands for safety.
  1. Next, use a lug wrench to remove the affected wheel and the axle nut.
  1. In the engine compartment, disconnect the bad axle from the transmission.
  1. Insert the new CV axle into the transmission and secure the other end firmly into the wheel hub.
  1. Put the wheel back in place, tighten the lug nuts securely, and reattach the axle nut.
  1. Carefully lower the car from the jack stands.
  1. Go for a test drive and ensure the vehicle operates smoothly.

Your safety on the road is paramount. That’s why getting answers to some common questions surrounding bad CV axle symptoms, a damaged CV joint, or a CV boot is crucial.

4 FAQs About CV Axles

Here are the answers to four frequently asked CV axle-related questions: 

1. How Does the CV Axle Work?

Here’s how different parts of a constant velocity axle ensure efficient power distribution and smooth steering:

Note: The CV axle joint is an integral part of the drive shaft of a front wheel drive car. Each wheel has two CV joints — one connecting the transmission to the axle and the other to the wheel. 

2. Is it Safe to Drive with CV Axle Problems?

Driving with a faulty CV axle is unsafe. A faulty or damaged CV axle can compromise the functionality of your car’s steering wheel.  It can also lead to complete CV axle failure, increasing the risk of accidents. 

Also, remember that a CV boot or CV joint failure can damage other auto parts, resulting in costly repairs. If you suspect a problem, have it inspected and repaired by a qualified mechanic promptly. 

3. How to Differentiate Between a Bad Wheel Bearing and a Bad CV Joint Sound?

Clicking or popping is associated with a bad CV joint sound, while a roaring sound is linked to a bad wheel bearing. Here are some key differences to keep in mind:

4. How to Extend the CV Axle Lifespan? 

Here’s how to reduce the likelihood of a broken CV joint, damaged CV joint boot, and CV axle failure: 

Final Thoughts

A bad CV axle can cause steering difficulties, vibrations, unusual noises, and, in some cases, safety concerns like loss of control. Prompt inspection and repair are crucial for a smooth and safe driving experience.

If you need a CV axle replacement, you can rely on a trusted service provider like AutoNation Mobile Service to ensure the job is done efficiently and professionally. Our mobile mechanics are available seven days a week, and we offer a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your confidence and peace of mind.

Contact us today for all your car maintenance and repairs.