A CV Joint, also known as a constant velocity joint is a component on all front wheel drive cars and some all wheel drive and rear wheel drive cars. They are necessary because they allow the rotational force to go from the engine to the wheel while allowing the wheel to move up and down over bumps and uneven surfaces
CV Joints can almost be a lifetime part for a car or truck. It’s not unusual to see car’s with 250,000 miles on them with the original CV joints in place. The most common problem with CV Joints is if the rubber boot that surrounds and protects it becomes damaged.
How to Tell if Your CV Joint is Damaged
- There are a few possible symptoms that would indicate a damaged CV joint.
- Grease or lubricant leaking from the joint onto the wheel
- A cracked or damaged rubber boot around the CV joint
- A repetitive clicking noise while turning
- A clicking noise when driving straight can indicate damage to the inner CV joint
- Experiencing shaking throughout the vehicle when picking up speed
How to Prevent CV Joint Replacement
A CV joint is basically a wear and tear item that will degrade over time; however spotting an issue early can help avoid more costly repairs so it is recommended to inspect CV joints at regular intervals with regular routine maintenance such as oil changes.
Inspect the CV joint boot at each wheel to see if there are indications of cracks or leaks. An unlubricated CV joint is more likely to fail so it is important to note if the boot is leaking lubrication.
Inspect the CV joint clamps that hold the boot in place. Even if the boot itself is not damaged a failure in the clamps could result in a loss of lubrication and damage to the joint.
CV Joint Replacement
If you a car owner catches a worn or damaged boot early enough it will be adequate to replace only the joint and nothing else. Cost of parts will vary greatly car to car but it would likely cost $250 to $900 to have a CV Joint boot replaced. Doing it yourself is viable for an intermediate mechanic but could be a challenge if you do not have the necessary tools and equipment.
If the joint itself needs to be replaced the cost will be substantially higher. A truly damaged CV joint cannot be repaired and will need to be completely replaced. This may also require replacement of the half shaft which will come with substantially higher cost as well. Again the cost of the parts and labor for replacing both the CV joint and the half shaft will vary greatly depending on what model of car you have.