CV Joint (How it Works, Symptoms, Problems & Fixes)

Is your car not accelerating very well as it should? Is the vehicle bouncing or jumping while you drive? One of the common reasons for this is a faulty CV joint. 

A constant-velocity (CV) joint is one of your vehicle’s components whose primary duty is to help transmit power from the transmission to the wheels. The power is transferred At constant rotation, and there’s little or no friction because of the cv joint. 

This implies that power produced by the engine is easily transferred to the vehicle’s wheels regardless of the steep position of the wheel.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about your vehicle’s Cv joint, how it works, bad cv joint symptoms, Cv joint replacement cost, and how you can go about cv joint replacement.

What Is A CV Joint

Constant velocity joints, also known as CV joints, are a vehicle’s components that help the driveshaft to transmit power through a changing angle and at a steady speed with negligible friction. 

Constant velocity joint can be found in all front-wheel cars at their respective end of shafts(half shafts). The internal CV joint is connected to the shafts and the transmission, while others are connected to drive shafts and wheels. 

Trucks, rear-wheel drive, and four-wheel drive cars all have CV joints. 

By moving torque from the transmission, the CV joints ensure that the wheel can be driven at a steady speed while maintaining the up-and-down movement of the suspension.

With the aid of CV joints, front-wheel-drive cars receive torque during turning.

There are two types of CV joints found in cars: the ball-type and the tripod-type Cv joints. 

In front-wheel-drive cars, the outer driveshafts use ball-type CV joints, while the inner driveshafts are typically equipped with tripod joints. 

Bad CV Joint Symptoms

Here are some common bad CV joint symptoms. If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately take your vehicle to repair.

1. Vibrations While Driving

The vibrations you feel in your car when you are driving it or accelerating it indicate a severe issue that needs immediate attention.

Vehicle vibration can make it very difficult to drive. This problem can sometimes be attributed to a defective CV joint, though there may be other factors involved.

Therefore, you should have your vehicle examined and repaired by a specialist.

2. Grease Flows To The Edges of Your Tires

While you drive and your vehicle spins, grease will be collected at the CV joints’ boots. The boots help to stop grease from leaking.

A CV joint is damaged if there is grease around the tire edge, especially if there is a crack. An immediate fix is required to stop the damage from spreading. 

If the leak from the joint is dark in color, it is due to poor lubrication, and your CV joint may have been affected by it. Before proceeding with any form of repair, ensure you know the exact cause of the problem. 

3. Cv Joint Noise

The typical symptom of a damaged CV joint is a clicking noise sound. However, it is not advisable to make a quick conclusion, instead take the vehicle to a nearby mechanic to examine your car and know what the problem is. 

When your car CV joint gets worn out or damaged, it will lead to wobbling in the vehicle’s axle and produce a knocking sound. The sound may be coming from the inner joint or the outer joint. 

Take your car for a quick check when this sound continues and becomes louder. However, there’s a test you can perform to help examine if the CV joint is the problem. 

Accelerate and decelerate your vehicle in reverse; while doing that, pay attention to the vehicle sound. If you hear the loud growing sound, it means that your car CV joint has become faulty. This test is essential because it gives you a head start in solving the CV joint problem. 

4. Noises When Turning Your Steering Wheels

If your car is making awkward sounds as you turn the steering, it could be a sign that your CV joints are damaged. This sound may lead to a more severe problem if not attended to as soon as possible. 

5. Car Bounces While Driving

It is abnormal for your car to bounce or jump as you drive, except it is running on uneven roads; if it does hop or jump, your CV joints could have a problem.

When you notice your car bouncing or jumping while driving without climbing any obstacle, it is a sign for you to visit your mechanic for a proper check. 

It would be best if you took these signs seriously when they surface because leaving them unattended can lead to more fatal damages. 

Also Read: Why Won’t My Brake Lights Turn Off (Causes & Fix)

How to Test a CV Joint

How to Test a CV Joint
Credits: Tyler Olson / Shutterstock

Follow these steps to know how to test your cv joints for faults

  1. Examine the inside of the CV boots and check if it’s is torn; a touch light should assist you to see clearly. 
  2. Look closely at the CV joint; can you find any grease on it? 
  3. Use your thumb to hold the CV axle; try pushing it back and forth, in and out; if your CV joint is good, you notice a slight movement as you move in any direction.
  4. Drive the car to a large field or an open space without interruption. Move the steering wheel to a direction and drive the vehicle in that direction, forming a circle. Change the steering to the opposite direction and drive the car in that direction. If you hear a clicking sound as you drive, then there is a high possibility that your CV joint is faulty.

CV Joint Replacement Cost

On average CV joint replacement costs between $190 – $800 for a single CV joint replacement. The cost of a CV joint can range from $95 to $210 while the cost of hiring a mechanic to replace the CV joint will range from $165 to $700.

Depending on whether you are replacing a single or double axle, the cost of a double axle is twice that of a single axle.

For dual axles, the price ranges between $150 and $400. The total cost to hire a mechanic will be around $230-$1180.

Your car make, and model can affect these costs for repair and replacement. If the time for doing this repair comes up due to other related problems in the car, the mechanic may charge more. 

A safety inspection must be carried out on the car components, especially the axle and boots. If the tires are covered with grease, it is a sign of a leak in the CV boots, raising the cost of replacement. A good mechanic will know how to examine all these before coming up with a repair price. 

Also Read: Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost

CV Joint Replacement Procedure (How To Replace A CV Joint)

Step 1

Get your safety wears and put them on, ensuring you are not leaving anyone behind. Then bring your toolbox close. Your gloves, safety boot, and covering all must be on you. Do not start anything without them; safety always comes first. 

Step 2

Use the wrench from your toolbox to lose the hub nuts. But, do not entirely remove the nut, don’t exceed a quarter turn. The impact wrench should not be used because hitting the nut will lead to wear, and your CV joint may get damaged.

Put a barrier at your car’s front and back tires; this will help hold the vehicle from rolling. You can also use the break. Some manufacturers encourage the replacement of hub nuts; the repair guide of your car will assist you in this.

Step 3

Use your car jack to lift your car, ensure that the jack is firm on the ground. This will help ensure that your vehicle’s weight is evenly distributed, assuring safety while it gets worked on from underneath.

Also, ensure that your jack is in good condition before using them. You can now remove the log nuts after that.

A lift will serve as a good option for lifting your car, putting the transmission on neutral, turning off the car engine, and closing the doors. Ensure that the place recommended by the manufacturer is where the chock and adaptors of the lift are placed. 

Step 4

Look closely to see how the inner joint fits to the transaxle. The CV joints are attached to the stub shaft, which means you should remove the internal CV joint.

For many vehicles, the stub shaft at the inner CV joints is placed by the gear and circlip. You will need a boot clamp tool to pull the joint outwards successfully. This will assist you in tightening the CV boot camp and make it lesser challenging to remove the joint. 

Step 5

Sometimes the inner joint is placed inside the transaxle, and the outer joint has a stub shaft; before you remove the inner joint out of the transaxle, the stub must be detected from the steering wheel knuckle. 

Step 6

Disconnect the tie rod ends and drags the outer stub through the housing. This will help remove the outer CV joint from the hub housing. The brake caliper may also need to be removed. 

Step 7

You can take off the joint by passing it through your wheel hub; however, you must have free movement of your knuckle before doing this. Be mindful of using the thread; you can damage it if you forcefully hit the joint. 

Step 8

As soon as your CV joints become free, use a rope to hold it up until the entire joint is removed from the transaxle. Don’t allow your CV joints to hang; this can damage the hose. 

Step 9

Once all the joints have been removed, you can now replace them. To fix a new joint, use a joint banding device to attach the axle back. Fix back the wheels and tighten the loose nuts before lowering your vehicle. 

Watch this video to get more information on how to replace a CV Joint

CV Joint Frequently Asked Questions

What is a CV joint in a car?

A CV joint, or Constant velocity joint, allows a drive shaft to transmit power through a variable angle at constant rotational speed without any increase in friction or play. These joints are used primarily in front-wheel drive vehicles.

Can you drive with a bad CV joint?

A damaged CV joint is dangerous to drive with. The grease that seals the CV joint will leak out if the boot is damaged. This will cause contamination to build up and eventually lead to the joint failing. A badly worn CV joint could cause the car to stop working and even become undrivable.

How much does cv joint repair cost?

On average CV joint repair costs between $190 – $800 for a single CV joint repair. The cost of a CV joint can range from $95 to $210 while the cost of hiring a mechanic to replace the CV joint will range from $165 to $700.

How hard is it to replace a CV joint?

it isn’t difficult to replace a cv joint. It shouldn’t take more than four hours to replace both cv joints. However, you will need a bit of knowledge about cars to carry out the task

Does a bad CV joint make noise?

Wearing out or damaged CV joints or CV joint boots might make strange clicking sounds every time you apply pressure to the vehicle. The noise may get louder if the car is driven over bumps a lot.

What happens if the CV joint breaks while driving?

Your car will pull to one side when a CV joint fails while you drive. This is because one of the wheels loses its power. The joint will break completely, and the wheel that corresponds to it will stop turning. Although the engine might still be running, the car won’t move. Slowly steer your vehicle off the roadway and call a tow truck.

What causes CV joints to go bad?

The most common issue with CV joints is when protective boots crack or get damaged. This causes the grease to leak and dirt to get into the CV joints, which can cause them to wear quicker and eventually fail from lack of lubrication.

What happens if you don’t fix CV joints?

If the CV joints fail, the car won’t accelerate because it can’t transfer torque to either the drive shafts or the wheels.

Can a bad cv joint affect the transmission?

Yes, a bad cv joint can affect the transmission of your vehicle. A bad cv joint causes vibrations on your vehicle’s transmission, constant vibrations can put an uneven strain on bearings, bushings, and other parts of your transmission

Conclusion

Continuous velocity joints, also known as CV joints, are part of a vehicle’s components that helps the driveshaft to transmit power through a changing angle and at a steady speed with negligible friction. 

The CV joints are an essential part of your car; your car won’t move without them. If you notice any sign relating to CV damage, please ensure you visit a mechanic and fix the problem before it graduates to a severe problem. 

Scott Greene is a seasoned automotive technician for over 5 years and has been deep into advanced automotive diagnostics for a couple of years. He Loves writing about Automotive Diagnostics and Repair, Trouble codes, Buyer guides for various car parts and accessories, and lots more. 

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