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. 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 Symptoms of a Bad CV Joint
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
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
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:
- Shift the gear into reverse
- Turn the wheel all the way to one side,
- 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
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
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
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
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.