The function of constant-velocity joints, or CV joints, in a vehicle is to let power be transferred to the wheels from the transmission. Power is transmitted at a consistent speed of rotation while there is not much friction. In other words, power from the engine is transferred smoothly to the wheels of the vehicle, no matter what angle the steering wheel is being turned at.
You will find CV joints in all-wheel drive vehicles and front-wheel drive vehicles. As for rear-wheel drive vehicles that have separate rear suspensions, the half-shafts’ ends of the rear axle will have CV joints in them. There is a rubber boot which protects the CV joints. This part is called a “CV gaiter.” In every CV Joints, there is an outer joint and an inner joint.
The 5 Symptoms of a Bad CV Joint
If your CV joint becomes faulty, there are certain warning signs you can look out for. Below are the 5 main symptoms of a bad CV joint.
1) Tire Edge Grease
If there is grease along the edge of your tire, particular from a tear or tiny crack, then you could have a bad CV joint. If there is significant damage to the CV joint, darker colored grease might be visible on the rim and wheel’s interior.
2) Turning Causes Loud Noises
If you turn the steering wheel and hear a clicking sound or popping sound, then you probably have a broken or worn out CV joint. You can test if this is the case by doing the following: Shift the gear into reverse, turn the wheel all the way to one side, and step on the gas pedal. You will be going in a circle so obviously, make sure the area around you is clear. As you move backward in a circle, the popping sounds should get louder if you have a bad CV joint. You’ll either have to replace the joint or the entire shaft assembly.
3) Bouncy Driving
If you’re driving on a flat paved road and your vehicle is still bouncing you around, then you likely have a faulty CV joint. You can verify this diagnosis by going to an auto shop that can repair transmissions.
If the CV joint vibrates while you’re driving, then it must be worn out or damaged. A CV joint in this condition will not be able to balance properly during rotation. The more you accelerate the vehicle, the more intense the vibrations will become. If the vibrations become too excessive, then the vehicle will become more difficult to control and the overall riding experience will be impacted. This means the drive will become less comfortable and less safe for everyone in the car. The only solution here is to replace the CV joint.
5) Movement Causes Knocking Sounds
A CV joint that has become worn out from being used too much will cause a knocking sound. If you have a front-wheel drive car, this noise can come from the inner joint. If you have a rear-wheel drive car, then it can come from the outer joints or the inner joints. Knocking sounds can also come from the differential gears. To perform a self-diagnosis of the joint problem, put the vehicle in reverse and accelerate then decelerate. Alternate back and forth between the acceleration and deceleration. If you hear louder knocking sounds, then you have a bad CV joint.
Read also: 5 Types of Constant-Velocity (CV) Joints
The Average Cost of Replacement
A CV joint can cost between $95 and $210. If you are hiring a mechanic to perform a replacement, then your total price will be between $165 and $800. The price really depends on whether you’re replacing a double axle or single axle.
The joint replacement of a double axle will obviously be twice as expensive as a single axle. The parts cost for a double will be between $150 and $400. This makes the total cost of hiring a mechanic to perform the replacement between $230 and $1180. It all depends on the make and model of your vehicle and how difficult it is for them to perform the replacement job on your particular vehicle. The more time they need, the more the service will cost.
Remember: This is a huge service, so your auto technician or mechanic must conduct a general safety inspection, particularly an inspection of the boots and axles. If the tires have grease on them, then there may be a leak from the CV boots. Plus, any big clicking sounds which occur as you turn will mean that you need to replace the axles.