While it’s important to understand the issues that drive axles face, it’s arguably more important to be able to recognize the symptoms of a failing drive axle. Failing to catch a drive axle on its way out can be extremely consequential.
Clicking Sounds You’ve probably heard a drive axle click while turning, as this is the most common symptom of a failing drive axle. The clicking typically occurs after the axle’s joints have become worn out. Listen closely to which side of your vehicle the sound is coming from in order to determine if the issue lies with the front drive axle or the rear drive axle.
Grease on the Tire As discussed earlier, the axle’s lubricated joints are covered with rubber boots that protect both the joint and its lubricant. You will most likely notice leaking grease on and around your tires if your rubber boots are wearing out or coming loose.
Vibration While Driving If your axle shaft or CV joint is going bad, it will not be able to balance efficiently while in motion. As a result, your car will vibrate as you drive and can increase along with your vehicle’s speed. Once the vehicle begins vibrating, this is typically the ultimate sign that your axle will need to be replaced rather than repaired.
The Consequences of Driving on a Bad Drive Axle A failing drive axle is something that should not be “put off for tomorrow” and should be dealt with as soon as the issue is discovered. Many drivers make the mistake of continuing to drive on a failing drive axle as technically the car is still able to operate. However, if your drive axle breaks while driving, it’s likely that you will end up in a serious accident.
Treating a failing drive axle comes with financial benefits as well. If caught early, components such as the axle boots can be replaced immediately, and you can extend the life of your drive axle overall. This will decrease the chance of a more serious issue developing as a result of operating the axle in the early stages of malfunction.