5 Common Symptoms of a Bad CV Joint/Axle [Inspect and Fixes]

Constant Velocity joints, commonly known as CV joints, are an important part of your vehicle’s system that helps to transfer power from your transmission system to the wheels of your vehicle. Because of these sets of joints, you are able to easily control your wheels through the steering wheels. So you see how important this component is to your vehicle’s suspension system; that’s why you need to have good knowledge of the symptoms of a bad CV joint, to enable you to take necessary precautions on-time.

CV joints are seen in all models or types of vehicles, though the location of these joints may vary in them. The CV joints are protected by an outer and inner joint and also a rubber boot. Having a bad CV joint can be very dangerous, especially when not noticed early. You will be educated on the signs to note if you have a failing CV joint.

Common symptoms of bad CV joint

Below are 5 popular symptoms of a bad CV joint. Please make sure you take your vehicles for repairs immediately you experience any of these signs:

Symptoms of a Bad Cv Joint

Vibrations While Driving

It can be very stressful to pinpoint the cause of vibrations while driving your vehicle to a faulty CV joint, as there are a lot of faults that can cause vibrations in your CV axle while driving. However, if you notice the vibrations are serious while you accelerate, it might be due to a bad CV joint or your entire CV axle. Therefore, it is important you get your car checked when you notice vibrations in your vehicle because whatever the cause may be, it can’t be good.

Moreover, experiencing vibrations in your vehicle while you drive makes it a lot difficult to take control of your vehicle, which is not safe at all.

Flow Of Grease On The Edges Of Your Tires

There is some amount of grease in the boots of your vehicle’s CV axle joints as the axle spins while you drive your vehicle. These boots prevent the grease from leaking. So if you notice grease on any of the edges of your vehicle’s tires, especially if it comes out from a mild crack, it means you could have a damaged CV joint. You need to get this checked out on-time in order to prevent spreading of the damage in your vehicle.

If the grease escaping from your wheel is of a dark colour, it is most likely that the CV joint of your vehicle is damaged due to lack of lubrication. But ensure you are certain of the cause before you carry-out any repair.

Growling Or Knocking Sound

Experiencing a growling or knocking sound does not necessarily mean that you that your vehicle has a damaged CV joint. There are quite a few faults that can occur in your vehicle that cause knocking sounds being produced while you drive your vehicle. So you need to take your vehicle to the mechanic’s shop for an inspection.

But a faulty CV joint is part of the major faults to consider that can be responsible for this problem. A worn-out or bad CV joint makes your vehicle’s axle system to wobble which produce growling or knocking sounds. For FWD vehicles, the noise can be from the inner joints while for RWD vehicles from any sections of the joints. Your differential can also produce these types of sounds.

If the sound gets louder, you need to get this checked out immediately, or you can reach out to us to help out. After we conduct a diagnosis on your vehicle, we will be able to hit the actual cause of this problem and get it to resolve ASAP.

You can diagnose this problem yourself by accelerating and decelerating your vehicle while in reverse mode, if you hear loud growling sounds, then your CV joint or axle is at fault.

Noises When Turning Your Steering Wheels

Steering noise produced each time you turn the wheels of your vehicle can depict that your vehicle’s CV joints are damaged. It is not a normal condition for your car to produce noises when you try to make a turn while driving. So you need to get your vehicle examined. If your CV joints are actually damaged, then you need to replace it immediately.

Vehicle Bounces While Driving

Your vehicle’s CV joints might likely be faulty if your vehicle bounces or jumps while you drive on uneven pavement or even when you drive on smooth roads. Your CV joints also assist in making sure that you do not experience any vibration while driving. However, you need to verify the cause.

Please, you should not ignore any of these signs if notice as the results can lead to a costly damage of your vehicle.

How to inspect the bad CV joint

To inspect a bad CV joint, first, you examine the rubber boots found on the axle shaft next to the wheel. If you notice any tear or it’s covered with grease, the CV joint is likely to be faulty.

inner cv joint symptoms

Move frontward and backwards quickly in a straight line, but smoothly, and take note of any shuddering found in the axles and listen for any clunking sound. Again if grease is seen on the inside or edges of the tires, a bad joint may be the cause.

Vibration while driving is another thing to check out for while inspecting a faulty CV joint. If your car suddenly stops moving while driving, it could be as a result of a faulty cv joint.

This can be carried out by turning the steering wheel all the way to a particular side and accelerating slowly, turning in a circle. Repeating this action several times, listen out for any snapping sound; this is an indication of a bad joint. It is also indicated by a cloud clicking when turning. This is also one of the most noticeable and the most common sign.

When CV joints get worn out, the joints become very loose and make clicking sounds when turning. Also, CV joints are inspected for signs of cracks, rips, tears and punctures, which causes grease to leak out and dirt in. Also, inspect for loose and missing clamps.

The CV joint can also be inspected by placing your car in reverse then crank your steering to one side, and then drive the car backwards in a circle. You can inspect for loosed joints. The car will make a clicking sound when turning left or right.

When there is a constant leakage of grease from your vehicle, it is a sign of a bad or worn out CV joint, so this is one of the things to be inspected when checking out for a bad CV joint. The CV joint grease can also spin out of the joint, covering everything in that part of the system, which are tire, brake calliper, hub housing, or shock absorber.

A faulty CV joint results in axle failure, which makes your car not safe to drive due to poor handling ability of your vehicle.

Always remember that whenever you want to carry out a CV joint inspection on an FWD vehicle or a small van, you need to check the boots of all the CV joints. Inspect the boots for tears, cracks, damages, splits, or punctures. Replacing just your CV joints when your boots are bad will be of no use as faulty boots can quickly damage your joints.

When and how to replace the bad CV joint

If you have a bad or completely faulty CV joint, you need to replace it immediately. There are many options to choose when replacing your faulty CV joint; you can use joints that have been recycled, replace your entire CV axle with either a new or recycled CV joints, you can purchase new joints. A lot of mechanics prefer changing your whole CV axle because this will also take away any mild that is building up in your axle system, and it will help reduce the time use in fixing this problem.

Also, if you have a new CV axle installed in your vehicle, it will help improve the performance of your vehicle, making driving very comfortable. Plus, you won’t have to worry about faults occurring in your axle system anytime soon. How easy will you be able to change your CV joint, depends on the model of your vehicle. Performing this might need you to have some special tools to make the process less difficult. However, this guide will help you replace the CV joint of your vehicle easily.

#First thing is to put on your safety wear, basically your gloves, and a coverall. If you do not have a safety kit, you need to get one. It is not advisable for you to perform any repair without putting on safety gears. It is for your own safety. Nobody likes it when they are injured or bruise, so you should avoid it now. Also, bring your tools box at close reach.

#Use a wrench to loosen the hub nuts of your wheels but make sure you do not completely loosen the nuts. You can make about a quarter turn. Please do not use an impact wrench in doing this because hammering your hub nuts can make it easily wear out. It can also completely damage your vehicle’s CV joint, which might still be reusable.

Make sure you block the back and front of your tires, so your vehicle does not roll. You can also apply brakes. Some vehicle manufacturers advise that the hub nut of some vehicles should be replaced when removed because it will not be able to retain torque. So you might want to check the repair guide of your vehicle.

#Lift your car with your jack enough to properly place your jack stands. Ensure that your jack is placed on solid ground as well as your jack stands. This will make sure the weight of your vehicle is evenly distributed and also safe for you to work under your vehicle. Please inspect your jacks, make sure they are fit for use. After raising your vehicle, you can now completely remove your tires from your vehicle by taking-off the lug or hub nuts.

A car lift is another option to consider in lifting your vehicle. Ensure the transmission system is put in a neutral position. Close your vehicle’s doors, turn off the engine and check for any obstruction. Set the lift’ adaptors and chock devices in places that are recommended by the manufacturer. Then you can now begin lifting your vehicle.

#You need to now see how your inner joint is fixed to your transaxle. If your CV joint is fixed to the stub shaft. Then you have to detach the inner CV joint. On a lot of vehicles, the stub shaft of the inner CV joint is held by the differential gear with the help of a circlip. To pull your joint outward successfully, you might need a boot clamp tool; this will help you do this easily and also tighten your CV boot clamp.

#If you have the inner joint fixed into the transaxle and your stub shaft houses the outer joint. Then your stub needs to be removed from your steering knuckle before you will be able to pull out your inner joint from the transaxle.

#To remove your outer CV joint from your hub housing, disconnect your tie rod ends to force the outer stub joint back through the hub housing. You might also need to take-off your brake calliper.

#Once your knuckle can freely move, you can remove one end of the joint through your wheel hub. Please do not forcefully hit one end of the joint so as not to damage the thread on the joint.

#When one end of the CV joint is free, support it with any piece of rope until the whole joint is removed from the transaxle. You should not allow your CV joint to be left hanging so there will be no effect on the hose.

#Once you have completely removed your joint, you can now easily replace it. You can use a joint banding tool to install the new joint into your system easily and couple your axle system back. After coupling, fix your wheels and lower your vehicle. Then completely tighten the lug nuts of the wheels.

Symptoms of a bad CV joint/Axle – YouTube

Final Words

It is important to note the symptoms of a bad CV joint, so you will know when this fault occurs in your vehicle and also advisable to check the repair manual of your vehicle before you start any repair; this is because some vehicle manufacturers have some repair specifications that need to be followed.

Strictly follow the guide highlighted above when you want to change your CV joint, and you should have no problem. If you need any help, always let us know.

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Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a seasoned automotive technician for the past 9 years, and a technical writer. He loves writing about auto professional repair guides, DIY repair guides, and buyer’s guide. After spending six years in the automotive workshop, he decided to impact his knowledge to people aside his domain, and he has achieved this by centering his Automotive writing skills on REPAIRS.

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