Most vehicles make use of one or two CV (constant velocity) joints, which allow the wheels to turn. Structure-wise, they are an intricate ball and socket joint that connect the wheels to the transmission and the axles.
They transfer power from the transmission to the wheels to provide the force needed to set the wheels in action. Therefore, it won’t be an understatement to claim that a car’s performance depends a lot on the condition of the CV joint.
How long does the CV joint last?
Like any other auto body part, CV joints won’t last a lifetime. But then, they can easily last for several years and beyond. Depending on the quality and care, CV joints can last for 1,00,000 miles or five years, which is to say that you will face real concern from them very rarely. Of course, they do need periodic lubrication for longevity. In fact, the reason for them wearing out sooner than usual is due to the lack of lubrication.
Proper lubrication protects them from dirt, debris, rock, and whatnot. So, keep lubricating them and have a mechanic look at them every now and then. This will ensure that you get the most value from your investment in the CV joints.
What are the signs of a failing CV joint?
The best symptom is the one that signals you the soonest about the damage. You can look for one or more of these symptoms that will warn you of a failing CV joint.
Loud Noise: An audible clicking sound when turning the car is one of the most noticeable symptoms of a deteriorating CV joint. When the CV axles wear out, the joints lose their grip and make a clicking sound during a turn. The clicking sound gets significantly louder during sharp and fast turns.
Tire Grease: If you notice grease on the inside part of the tire, it could be due to the grease leaking from a torn boot, which may lead to CV joint failure. After all, a torn boot will make it easy for dirt and debris to make their way into the boot and cause damage to the CV joint.
Shaky Driving: If you notice that your car is bouncing, even when you are driving on a flat road, the chances are that the CV joint is damaged, which is causing the vehicle to bounce. Of course, to fully verify the cause of the bounce, you will have to take the car to a mechanic.
Vibrations: A worn-out CV joint will also cause your vehicle to vibrate a lot more than usual. You will find it very difficult to balance the car, even when the road is not uneven or filled with potholes. Basically, driving will seem like an uncomfortable affair, alerting you of potential damage to the CV joint.
Usually, car technicians advise vehicle owners to replace the CV joints completely as opposed to getting them repaired. This is not because they are keen on separating you from your hard-earned money.
The truth is, replacing them is a fairly straightforward process, which will cut the labor cost by half or even more. Therefore, it makes much sense to replace the CV joints when they are severely damaged.
Can you drive with a damaged CV joint?
Technically, you can drive with a damaged CV joint. But is it safe? Frankly speaking, it’s not safe to drive with a faulty CV joint simply because a severely damaged CV joint can disintegrate while you are driving. As a result, you could lose complete control of your vehicle.
And, you don’t need us to tell you what can happen when you lose control of your vehicle. The good news is that CV joint failure usually occurs with some predictable symptoms, allowing you to address the issue before anything goes drastically wrong.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace the CV joint?
A CV joint replacement cannot be done at a paltry sum of money. Not to mention that the cost would depend on whether you need a single or double CV joint replacement. For a single CV joint replacement, keep a spare budget of $150 to $800. The cost of a double CV joint replacement would shoot up quite a bit.
|Walmart||$150 – $300
|NAPA||$200 – $800
|Mr Tire||$150 – $740
|Midas||$155 – $650
|Your Mechanic||$170– $780
Depending on the work involved, you should be prepared to spend somewhere in the range of $225 to $1200. If we talk about the cost of the parts, expect to spend in the range of $150 to $400. Of course, the rest will go towards the labor cost because it’s quite a labor-intensive project.
How to replace a CV joint?
- The mechanic will start by jacking the vehicle and disconnecting the battery.
- He will allow some of the penetrating oil to soak into the retaining bolts.
- He will get rid of the brake lines or any other obstacles that may come in the way.
- For easier axle removal, the mechanic will loosen (but not remove) the sway bar end link bushing and strut top mounts.
- Then, he will loosen and remove the mounting bolts of the wheel side axle.
- Once the axle wheel is separated from the wheel, he will gently pull the axle from the differential or transmission.
- The mechanic will firmly place the replacement CV joint in the place of the former CV joint.
- Then, he will tighten the ankle bolts and check the ankle rotation. Finally, he will reassemble all the dismantled components.
Once everything is carried out, tire pressure will be checked. As expected, a road test will be performed to gauge how successful the repair was.
How can you save money on CV joint replacement?
If you buy the parts yourself from any reputable online store and hand it over to the car mechanic, you can save some money on the parts. You will still have to pay for the labor cost, which usually outweighs the cost of the parts themselves.
But then, you will still be able to reduce the cost by ordering the parts online and supplying them to a trained mechanic. Mechanical savvy guys can also attempt the repair themselves. But then, it’s only recommended to attempt a repair if you have done a similar job in the past. This is because a CV joint is a crucial component of a car, which is to say that there is no room for errors.