Signs of a Bad CV Joint
Driving a vehicle with a bad CV Joint is extremely dangerous and could prove costly in the long run by causing further damage to related parts. When you have a failing axle shaft, you have a chance of having it completely fail while you are driving your vehicle. This can result in a serious accident causing substantial damage to your vehicle, or worse it could be fatal. If you notice your vehicle displaying bad CV Joint symptoms, take it to your mechanic immediately and have it repaired.
The most tell-tale CV Joint symptom is a clicking sound that is apparent when you are turning. Over time, this clicking noise will get louder, and if it is left long enough it could turn into a loud metal-on-metal screeching. One of the best ways to listen for the clicking noise is in reverse, turning around in a circle. The clicking caused by a failing CV Joint will be more apparent under this test.
A second symptom would be vibrations in your vehicle when you accelerate. If you are accelerating and experiencing vibrations, remove your foot from the gas pedal. If the vibrations stop when you take your foot off of the pedal then the vibrations may be caused by the CV Joint. Further inspection of the part itself will be needed.
Another bad CV Joint Symptom that may be apparent is a clunking sound that occurs when the gears on your vehicle change. When you change gears you would notice a hesitation followed by a clunking noise. Once again, testing for this clunking noise can be done in reverse. If the sound is being caused by a failing CV Joint, accelerating and decelerating in reverse will make the noise more pronounced.
If you do suspect that your CV Joint is failing, you will want to perform a visual inspection of the part. The CV Joint is covered by a boot that protects it from road debris, and keeps the joint greased and lubricated. The CV boot is a rubber boot with folds in it that is next to the wheel. When you are inspecting the CV Boot you are looking for splits, tears or holes in the that could potentially be allowing air and debris into the joint. When the air gets inside of the boot, it dries up the lubricant, a terrible condition for parts that operate metal-to-metal.
If a CV Boot failure is found early enough, you may be able to re-apply grease to the joint and just replace the boot. Check the grease inside the boot. If it feels gritty, contaminants have entered the boot. At this point, you will need to clean the CV joint and inspect it before determining if you have to replace the CV Joint. However, if you have been experiencing noise from the joint as described earlier, you will have to replace the CV Joint.
Failure to replace a failing CV Joint is incredibly dangerous, as the part can potentially fail at high speeds putting you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road at serious risk. Now that you know the CV Joint Symptoms, you can troubleshoot a failing part and have it fixed before it causes catastrophic failure.