Do you wonder how vehicles transfer power from the transmission to the wheels despite the changing driving patterns? The answer lies with the constant-velocity (CV) joints. The joints facilitate the smooth transfer of engine power, even as the steering angles change from time to time. CV joints are available in all vehicles. You must pay attention to the quality of the CV joint whether you own an all-wheel drive, front-wheel drive or rear-wheel-drive car.
A CV joint damage does not occur on the mechanical components alone. The damage could happen on the protective rubber, CV gaiter, that protects the CV-joint assembly. How can one identify if the CV joint is damaged? Are these symptoms visible, or do they require specialist inspections? Let us look at popular signs.
Loud noises when turning
Once in a while, you may notice loud noises when navigating corners. A popping or clicking sound is a sign that the CV joint is bad. Before you resort to replacing the CV joint, it is crucial to perform a practical test. Find an open space, change the gear to reverse and turn the wheel fully to one side. Begin accelerating at the appropriate speed in reverse.
As the vehicle moves, you begin hearing the popping or clicking sounds. The sound amplifies if the CV joint is damaged.
Grease on the edges of the tire
CV joints are lubricated to keep them in perfect working conditions. The garter holds the grease in place. However, when CV joint damage begins manifesting, the driver may notice spots of grease around the inner walls of the tire or rim. The grease color indicates the level of damage. The darker color indicates that the damage is significant and requires immediate remediation.
Knocking sounds when driving
The degree of CV joint damage varies. Failure to identify damage at an early stage causes dire effects on the functionality of the CV joint. Knocking sounds for front-wheel drives is an indication that the inner joints are damaged. A CV joint damage for rear-wheel drive could be on the inner or outer joints.
Accelerating and decelerating rapidly in reverse is an effective way to validate that the knocking sounds are due to damaged CV joints.
CV joints primarily stabilize the transfer of rotational engine power to the wheels. It ensures that the driver enjoys a smooth ride on different road surfaces. With time, a driver experiences rapid vibrations when accelerating on the road. These vibrations impede steering control and make high-speed driving unbearable.
Driving on the highway on a mechanically sound vehicle should be as smooth as possible. Once in a while, drivers may experience a bouncy ride despite driving at moderate speed on a dry, tarmacked road. The bouncy feel is an indicator that the CV joint requires immediate attention.
Cost of replacing CV joints
Several issues affect the cost of replacing a CV joint.
- Type of axle- Does the vehicle have a single or double axle?
- Type of vehicle- Model, size and intensity of work
- Are you replacing the CV joint or hiring a mechanic?
The cost of a CV joint is between $95 and $210. Professional mechanics charge $165 to $800 to replace CV joints. The cost increases if the replacement is done on a double axle.
If you notice the abovementioned issues when driving, you should visit a repair shop and replace the CV joint. That way, you enhance the safety and avoid additional repair costs due to extended component damage.
How do I know if I have a bad CV joint?
If you have a bad CV joint, you notice spots of grease on the tire. The vehicle vibrates when driving on dry roads. You may hear a knocking sound when accelerating.
What causes a CV joint to go bad?
Most CV joints get damaged when the protective rubber cracks and permits moisture into the joint. The joint corrodes or wears in the long run due to poor lubrication.