5 Symptoms of a Bad CV Joint (and Replacement Cost)

Last Updated on May 27, 2020

The function of constant-velocity joints, or CV joints, in a vehicle is to help transfer power to the wheels from your transmission. Power is transmitted at a consistent speed of rotation when there isn’t much friction.

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In other words, power from the engine is transferred smoothly to the wheels of the vehicle, no matter the angle of the steering wheel.

You will find CV joints in all-wheel drive 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 called a “CV gaiter”, as well as an outer and an inner joint.

Top 5 Bad CV Joint Symptoms

There are certain warning signs to look out for when it comes to CV joint failure. Below are the 5 most common symptoms of a bad CV joint:

#1 – Tire Edge Grease

CV joint is bad

When you spot grease along the edge of your tire, particular from a tear or tiny crack, it could be a sign you could have a bad CV joint. A significantly damaged CV joint means darker colored grease might be visible on the rim and wheel’s interior.

#2 – Turning Causes Loud Noises

steering wheel makes noise when turning

When you turn the steering wheel and hear noises such as a clicking sound or popping sound, it’s very likely you have a broken or worn CV joint. You can test this by doing the following:

  1. Shift the gear into reverse
  2. Turn the wheel all the way to one side,
  3. Step on the gas pedal.

You will be going in a circle, so 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

slow acceleration

You likely have a faulty CV joint if you’re driving on a flat paved road and your vehicle is still bouncing around. You can verify this by going to an auto shop that repairs transmissions.

#4 – Vibrations

steering wheel shakes

A worn or damaged CV joint will vibrate while you’re driving. CV joints in this condition will not be able to balance properly during rotation. The more you accelerate, the more intense the vibrations will become.

When vibrations become too excessive, the vehicle will become more difficult to control and your 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

tire noise

A CV joint that has become worn out from being used too much will cause a knocking sound. This noise can come from the inner joint on a front-wheel drive car.

For rear-wheel drive, it can come from either the outer or 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 acceleration and deceleration and listen for louder knocking sounds. This is proof of a bad CV joint.

CV Joint Replacement Cost

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CV joint replacement cost

A CV joint itself can cost between $95 and $210. Hiring a mechanic to perform a replacement will be between $165 and $800.

The price mainly depends on whether you’re replacing a double or single axle. The constant-velocity joint replacement cost of a double axle will be approximately twice as expensive as a single axle, with the parts cost for a double running between $150 and $400.

This makes the total cost of hiring a mechanic to perform the replacement between $230 and $1180.

Another factor is the make and model of your vehicle and how difficult it will be for them to perform the replacement job. Obviously, the more time they need, the higher the service cost.

Remember, this is a large service job, so your auto technician or mechanic must also conduct a general safety inspection, particularly of the boots and axles. When the tires have grease on them, there may be a leak from the CV boots.

Additionally, any big clicking sounds which occur as you turn will mean you may need to also replace the axle.

 

36 thoughts on “5 Symptoms of a Bad CV Joint (and Replacement Cost)”

  1. Thank you I am sure of my problem after checking this site. Other problem is I pressure washed undercarriage of 2004.5 dodge ram 3500 4×4 5.9 Cummins 24 valve 48re auto transmission has olly reverse and 1rst gear

    Reply
    • Hi sorry ,so I’m having an issue my car is making a type of cracking sound when I either pull away or reverse ,or if my cars parked in a certain angle and it’s time to move.,it’s definitely coming from the front wheels .

      Reply
      • It’s probably best that you get this checked out in person. I could take a guess, but I wouldn’t have a whole lot of confidence in my answer without hearing it in person.

        Reply
  2. We have a 2011 Maserati Grand Tourismo convertible and it is making a clicking or tapping noise when we start moving or slowing down. It sounds like it is coming from the passenger rear wheel.

    Reply
    • Check the passenger rear tire to see if there is a rock or screw lodged in it. It may help to remove the wheel from the vehicle if you are able to. That will enable you to inspect the brakes as well.

      Reply
      • Bad vibration could be caused by many things. Make sure your lug nuts are tight, your wheels are balanced, and your alignment is good. If the vibration persists, I would have a shop look at it to figure out what’s wrong. If the vibration is really bad, don’t drive it until you know what the problem is.

        Reply
  3. My car only makes a knocking/wobble sound when I’m braking. It’s not my barkepads/Rutter’s because I already changed both 5 months back. It’s been doing this for a long time and has progressively gotten worse. Is this a cv joint problem?

    Reply
    • You’d likely feel a bad CV joint whether you were braking or not.

      I wouldn’t rule out brakes just yet. See if the new brake rotors show any signs of overheating. This usually looks like blue hot spots. Sometimes the metal or pad material looks smeared instead of uniform, and you may notice fine cracks in the rotors as well.

      If you’re not sure if the rotors have overheated, you could try feeling each brake rotor with a gloved hand to see if one is hotter than the others after driving. Be very careful if you decide to try this, as the rotors will be really hot. You may want to start by feeling the lug nuts first; they’ll still be warm, but much cooler than the rotors themselves.

      If you see any signs of overheating, you may have a seized caliper. A seized caliper won’t release completely, which causes excessive heat in the brake rotor. Brake rotors that get too hot will often warp and cause the symptoms you describe.

      Reply
  4. hi, i have had a cv joint on my 93 daihatsu applause replaced and now its starting to knock again, after only a couple of months

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      • I’m driving a 2012 nissan almera. Recently there’s a sound coming from front wheel when acceleration come to 60 and disappeared when the speed reached 80. Pls help as the cv has been greased at inner and outer part the sound still there.

        Reply
        • I don’t know. Make sure the wheels are balanced, check the wheel bearings, and check the tie rod ends. I recommend having the vehicle inspected by a mechanic so you know exactly what’s wrong. That’s not the kind of issue you want to mess around with.

  5. We have a 2005 Seibring touring that feels like driving with a flat or a wobble. I thought CV joint but I raised the car and there is no movement and no clicking noise. Any ideas to check?

    Reply
    • If it wobbles with the tire rotation in a straight line, it’s probably something to do with the brakes or tires. Check your lug nuts to make sure they’re all tight. Make sure there’s nothing interfering with the brakes. I would take each wheel off to give everything a good shake, and to see if there’s anything caught in the wheel.

      Reply
  6. I’ve got a 06 hummer h3 and pretty sure I’ve had bad cv axle because of the old popping and clunking noise it had it all of a sudden I made a sharp left hand turn to go up hill and no warning no nothing it stopped pulling so I had to be towed home I get it home..And on driver side the cv axle is out like 4 to 6 inches and grease and fluid leaking from it…would that top it from moving at all some plz help????

    Reply
  7. I have a 2000 Honda passport. I don’t quite know how to explain my problem.
    When I start out and I step on it. It catches like there is a brake on Then it jumps forward and the tires squeal and it lets loose It runs fine until I have to stop and step on it again. If I start out slow it almost never has that problem. People have said it might be the CV joints.

    Reply
    • That’s strange. Does it feel like something is binding when you step on the gas? Does it feel more like stumbling, where the car suddenly has no power?

      This seems like something that will be tricky to diagnose without having someone drive the vehicle to feel what you’re feeling. I think you should bring it to a shop to get it diagnosed as soon as you’re able to. It doesn’t sound like it’s safe to drive it that way.

      Reply
  8. I heard the sound even I renewed the CV joint when I check the transmission by moving the transmission it has space and sounds qaqaqaqa.why is there any thing to fill the gap or space.or to narrow.

    Reply
  9. I have a 05 Yukon the sounds like it grinds turning left or right. I also get the grinding noise when I break sometimes and also when I turn with a bit of speed (10-12mph)?

    Reply
    • I’m not really sure, it could be a lot of things but a grinding noise is never good. I would take it to a shop to have it inspected. It may be a brake or suspension issue.

      Reply
  10. I have a 2007 Ford Freestar.Noticed it vibrating and shaking terribly one day, next day it stopped moving. Looked under it and had grease outside of boot and tranny fluid running out the other end. Had it hauled home and the wrecker guy said it wouldn’t stay in place in park, had to chain it down more. Never did make any sounds, is that possible for a cv joint or could the transmission have an issue? My daughter had an issue with it not wanting to move at one point in the past.

    Reply
    • I’m not sure, I suppose it could be either one. I’d take it to a shop to have it looked at. The mechanic should know pretty quickly if it’s a bad CV joint.

      Reply
  11. Just bought a 2011 Nissan Rogue and started to notice a clunking sound when my foot is on the gas AND I am turning left or right; as if from a stop sign. The clunking sound does not happen without my foot on the gas. And the clunking sound is absent when accelerating without turning… the clunking sound happens with a jerking, almost slipping, motion. The jerking/clunking will happen once or twice right after I’ve straightened out and then goes away as I speed up.

    Reply
    • It could be a bad CV joint, a bad transmission mount, bad motor mount, or even a sway bar bushing that’s binding.

      You could try lubricating the sway bar bushings using a silicone grease or spray. When the sway bar binds in the bushing and then releases, it’ll feel like the whole end of the car is suddenly shifting over to one side. I’m suggesting this option because it is the easiest to fix and practically free if you feel comfortable crawling under the car to spray a little goop on each of the bushings.

      Reply
  12. Replaced the complete CV axle brand new from Cardone and when i put the 2006 Ford Escape in reverse a loud noise is present. If I move from reverse to drive seems ok. Almost every time reverse is when I notice the noise. Seems to go down the road ok. No clicking when turning or strait away. Just when I go into reverse…. like a lot of backlash in the joint.

    Reply
  13. Yes I just installed a 2inch leveling kit on my 2020 Tacoma with 1 inch in the rear and now I’m hearing a slight grinding sound when I’m doing around 30 miles an hour can also feel it in the gas pedal do you have any idea what it could be

    Reply
    • I’m not sure. Double check your work to make sure you didn’t miss any bolts and torqued everything to spec. Is there any chance the grinding sound is unrelated? Perhaps some gravel stuck in a brake caliper?

      If the grinding persists and you can’t find the problem yourself, I would take it to a shop just to have them check it out. That’s not the type of issue you want to mess around with.

      Reply
  14. I drive a 2011 Ford Edge FWD. clunking noise when turning left or right Ford dealership said it was right bushing and clunking still there . Took back and than they said it was front sway bar and control arms replaced and still clunking on turning. I have done some research and told them to check. CV joint and tie rods they quickly said No. it has cost me so far 1300.00 plus an alignment 384.00 because they had to drop the right strut in order to achieve the correct specs. I am stressed and concerned . Need your advice. Thanks

    Reply
    • It sounds like they’re just throwing parts at your car instead of doing a proper diagnosis. I would find another dealership, or maybe an independent shop if you can.

      When you go to the dealership, be as descriptive with the problem as possible. Say phrases like “the clunk sounds like metal on metal” and “the clunk only happens at 20 mph and when I turn the steering wheel at least a full turn”. That type of information is incredibly useful to technicians. Make sure they are able to replicate the issue before you drop the car off. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  15. Have a 2015 Chevy traverse with 66,xxx miles. Went to the dealership for 4 new tires, rear brakes and rotors. When I get there to pick up I was informed the front left cv joint or axle I can’t remember which is leaking and needs to be replaced .

    Reply

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