Are you experiencing some weird popping or clicking noises whenever you turn the steering wheel? Well, you might be experiencing bad CV joint symptoms. If this is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic.
Having a problem like this can be a frustrating thing to deal with. Mainly because these joints are one of the most important components of your suspension. They are part of your axles and they basically allow you to move on the road. Meaning that they transfer the torque to the wheels. Basically, they are in charge of delivering the power.
Sadly though, they can fail sometimes and you end up with a broken CV joint. This is a common thing, especially when the rubber boot breaks off and debris enters the component.
Resulting in permanent damage of this component. And this is the thing you want to avoid. This is why you need to always inspect these boots and make sure that when they fail they are detected on time and replaced. But we are going to help you out with that.
First, we are going to cover what is this component and why it is so important. Then we will learn the causes of why it fails and the CV joint grease that is used. Later on, we will cover the bad CV joint symptoms and the noise they produce. Lastly, we will discuss repairs and the cost of replacing the CV joint. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
What Is A CV Joint
Now before we dive into more complex topics, let’s learn more about the basics of the CV joint? What this component is and why it is so important? Then we will cover the bad CV joint symptoms that often occur. If you feel like you are up to the task, then you can move to the symptoms. If not, keep up with us for a bit while we cover the basics.
A CV joint in simple words is a constant velocity joint. There are six spheres inside which are bounded to an anti-fall gate. This gate prevents the spheres from falling when the shafts are aligned. And these components are hidden under a rubber boot and greased up.
They are part of the CV axle actually. Every axle has two of them. One inner and one outer joint. What is good about these joints is that they are far more flexible than the solid axles back in the day.
Meaning that they adapt to the surface of the road. They are not stiff and this is why they are the first choice for a lot of automakers nowadays. These designs greatly improved the drivability of modern cars and also the performance they deliver.
Cars handle like they are on rails nowadays unlike in the past when they were all over the place at high speeds. But these components do sometimes break. And in the following chapters, we are going to explain that in-depth.
Broken CV Joint
Now as we covered the basics of this component and we learned what it does and how it works. Let’s now focus on the prime reasons why you have a broken CV joint What causes this component to fail?
Knowing this stuff is rather an essential thing if you want to avoid your axle failing and you be needing to replace it. It will save you a few hundred dollars on buying a new axle for your car. That’s why pay attention to them and make sure that you fix the problem the soon it appears. Now let’s get into the causes.
1. High Mileage Accumulated
This will be especially noticeable if you live in a place where roads are not that good. Cars do not love potholes and poor road surfaces.
Not to mention the mileage accumulation that these components have. If your car has reached 100,000 miles, then these axles probably need replacing with new ones.
Sometimes it is better to replace these components as prevention and avoid some catastrophic failures that happen rarely. But they can happen if the axle is put against too much stress. But what is the second and most probable cause for the failure of these components? Let’s elaborate on that next.
2. Damage To The Rubber Boot
The second and most probable cause for this CV joint to fail is the damage to the rubber boot around this joint.
This is a thick rubber boot but with long use and abuse, plus the age that accumulates on. It starts to develop cracks. And these cracks cause the grease inside to leak out and the metal starts to friction.
The more friction, the greater the extent of damage that is created inside. Meaning that it is really essential to detect this on time before the boot fails completely and you drive your car like this for a long period of time.
Also, sometimes the clamps that are holding the rubber boot fail. And they also let the debris enter the joint and ruin the axle. Now let’s discuss more the grease that is used in these components.
CV Joint Grease
This lithium grease contains a lot of different compounds. Namely graphite and molybdenum disulfide.
These compounds really work well with your axle and protect it in any circumstances. Such as sliding, impact, and absorbing shocks.
What is bad though, is that when this grease leaks out, the axle is unprotected. Meaning that the joints will suffer tremendously and will wear down at a great pace since they are not lubricated. In this case, they will start to produce different types of symptoms. And more on that we are going to cover in the following chapters.
Bad CV Joint Symptoms
Now as we covered the basics of this component and the causes why it is failing. Let’s now learn the bad CV joint symptoms.
Knowing the symptoms will be extra essential for you as a car owner. Namely, because you will be able to diagnose the problem quickly and effectively by knowing with what you are dealing. So, what are these different types of symptoms? Let’s elaborate on them in the following chapters and learn them in depth.
1. Grease On The Tire Sidewall
The first in our list of bad CV joint symptoms is the grease that will be noted on the sidewall of the tire.
As you know, the sidewall is the wall of the tire. There is an inner sidewall and an outer sidewall. In our case, the inner sidewall will be covered in grease if there is a leak from the axle.
This is hard to note though since we rarely look under the car and the condition underneath. Meaning that we will not notice this problem and then leave it like this. But if you really notice the issue. You will be able to fix it quickly.
This is why having ramps at home to change the oil and inspect the undercarriage of the car is very useful. If you detect these problems on time, you will get away with a smaller cost to sort them out. Now let’s move to the next symptom.
The second in our list of bad CV joint symptoms is the situation with the vibrations. Vibrations on the steering wheel will be quite noticeable when you are having a problem like this component.
But why is this the case? Well, this is the case because the wear and tear inside of the component are too much for them to handle. Whenever there is metal rubbing against metal and is not greased up. It will start to create friction. And the more friction will be, the more the axle will lose balance.
The more balance the axle loses the more vibrations inside of the cabin on the steering wheel will be noticeable. And this is the thing you don’t really want in your car. Because vibrations can be really annoying and also ruin your driving experience. That’s why you need to check the undercarriage.
Mainly because the vibrations are created also by other components. Like bad control arm bushings, bad tie rods, and bad wheel bearings (which you can diagnose by learning how to tell if wheel bearing is bad or if you have a loose wheel bearing). Now let’s move to the next symptom in our list.
3. CV Joint Noise
The third in our list of bad CV joint symptoms is the CV joint noise. As you probably know, besides visual symptoms there are some audible symptoms that are associated with this problem. Meaning that you will experience them to a great extent when you have a problem with this component.
These sounds include clicking, clunking, or popping sounds when the car steering wheel is turned and the car moves. While you cornering, these sounds will be most pronounced. And you should not ignore them. If you do, you might be risking a complete failure of this component and your wheel collapsing.
In addition to this, there are noises that develop under the deceleration of the car. You prepare to come to a stop and the car simply starts producing noise as you come to a halt.
This is another very common symptom that should not be ignored by you and you should give everything to diagnose the issue as soon as possible.
Noises are one of the most precise symptoms that could serve the purpose of diagnosing a problem. If you notice that there is a sound, you only need to go on the web and watch some videos and determine what is causing the issue. It’s that easy!
Even though, a little bit of mechanical knowledge is essential. And that’s why we are here for. Now let’s move to the next symptom.
4. Car Feels Unsafe At Higher Speeds
And the last in our list of bad CV joint symptoms is the situation when the car feels rather unsafe at high speeds. This situation can be caused by a number of things. But one of these axles could be the culprit as well.
The car will doesn’t feel well while driving at higher speeds because the axle or joint is worn out and starts to lose balance while spinning very fast.
There will be an increase in vibrations and you will feel rather uncomfortable pushing this vehicle. And it is a rather dangerous thing if you do. This is why you need to notice this and act accordingly before the problem becomes bigger. But how you can diagnose this problem with a bad joint? Let’s elaborate more on that in the following chapter.
Diagnosing The Problem Of Bad CV Joint
Now let’s take a look at how you can diagnose a bad CV joint. What you could possibly do to determine if the joint on your car is rather unsafe and worn out? Let’s elaborate.
Well, the first thing you will probably want to do is to take a look at the symptoms that we covered above. If you start to notice symptoms like clicking or popping while turning the steering wheel. Then you definitely have a bad axle and you will have to replace it. This is just a dead giveaway of this problem.
In addition to this, the noises that develop while you come to a halt will also be quite noticeable and difficult to ignore.
And not to forget the vibrations that will develop and you will be able to experience these vibrations through the steering wheel or through the dashboard. There will be vibrations and rattles going everywhere.
But the easiest way that you can inspect and diagnose a bad CV joint is to look underneath the car. You need to check all the boots and see if the clamps are sitting in place.
If the clamps are not sitting in their position or the boots are torn up and leaking. Then you definitely have a big problem that needs solving. More precisely a bad axle that desperately needs to be replaced if you want to resume driving safely on the road.
That’s why in the following chapter we are going to cover the CV joint replacement and learn more about how you can replace this component using common tools. Frankly, it is dead easy to do. Even though it might look scary at first glance.
CV Joint Replacement
When it comes to CV joint replacement we can tell you that sadly this is not possible to do. When you do a replacement, you replace the whole axle that has two of these joints. A completely new unit is quite essential if you want to get the problem solved. But how this component is replaced? Let’s elaborate.
The first thing you will probably need to do is to lift the car in the air and secure it with jack stands. This is essential for your own safety. Remember, safety is the number one priority.
Then the next thing you want to do is to remove the wheel and then the control arm bushing to release the control arm. For this, you will need a bit of persuasion. Meaning that a hammer will be needed to remove the ball joint from the position.
Then you can remove the wheel hub assembly with the strut altogether and secure it. After you do this, half of the job is done.
The next thing you want to do is to remove the inner side of the axle that goes into the transaxle or differential. You can try to pull it out by hand. But sometimes it can be really stuck and difficult to remove.
So, you will need to get a special tool to pull this off. There are tools online that you can get for cheap and use to remove this axle.
After you removed the old axle, you need to install the new axle. For this, you will need to grease up both ends and slide in the new axle on both sides. Make sure to be gentle and not damage anything. Then put everything back together and CV joint replacement is done.
CV Joint Repair
Now let’s discuss the repair of this component. Is it possible? Well, it is, if it is detected on time. Meaning that you need to detect the issue before it becomes a problem.
You need to notice when the rubber boots start to give up and replace them if you don’t want to replace the whole axle soon. If you do this, you will only have to replace the boots and apply grease to the component before assembly.
CV Joint Replacement Cost
The labor is also expensive and could cost you anywhere between $250 and $500 to replace both of the axles. This is why you need to know this stuff before you take your car to a shop. Get the cheapest deal possible if you want to save some money.
CV Joint Repair Cost
The CV joint repair or also known as rubber boot replacement is relatively cheap. Depending on which boot you need to replace.
If its the outer one that is closer then it will cost you about $150 with the labor and parts. If its the inner one, it could cost you about $200 to $250. That’s why rather replace the whole unit.
In this article, we covered quite a bit when it comes to the CV joint. First, we learned what this component is and why it is so important. We learned all the causes why it starts breaking and starting to produce a lot of troubles for the owners.
Then we discussed the main symptoms of this problem which are the clicking and popping noises that are mostly heard when this component is broken as well as the noises when the car produces on deceleration.
Then we discussed the diagnostic process and this process is easily done by observing the symptoms as well as doing some visual inspection.
And lastly, we discussed the replacement process as well as the replacement cost for this component.
Now let’s answer some common questions when it comes to this component.
What Is A CV Joint
A CV joint is a constant velocity joint that is used to connect your transmission with the wheel. Constant velocity joints are movable joints. Just like our elbows or knees. They move up and down allowing a comfortable ride without any hiccups.
CV Joint Noise When Driving Straight
Noises when driving straight can be caused by this component but only when decelerating. Under acceleration, noises are not that noticeable. It greatly depends on the extent of the damage as well as the speed you are going.
How To Tell Which CV Joint Is Bad
Telling if a constant velocity joint is bad is a relatively easy process. The first thing you need is to observe clicking and popping noises when turning. Also, noises, when the car decelerates quickly, are noted. The next thing you want to do is to inspect the joints and observe the condition of the rubber boots. If they are worn out or torn up then the component will require replacement. If not you will be good to go.
How Much Is A CV Joint
The average cost for an axle that has two joints is between $150 and $350. Depending much on the make and model that you have. Some cars are higher class and parts for them tend to cost more than your regular Chevy.
How To Remove CV Joint From Axle
Removal of the CV joint from the axle is not possible unless you want to destroy the axle. The joints are there and are not removable. If you want to remove them, you will have to remove the whole axle from the car and install a brand new one.