Constant velocity joints are part of the driveshaft. They are responsible for transferring power from your vehicle’s transmission to its wheels without causing hardly any friction.
You will find CV joints in all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive vehicles. As for rear-wheel drive vehicles that have separate rear suspensions, the half-shafts’ ends of the rear axle will have CV joints in them.
When your CV joint starts to go bad, there will be obvious symptoms that will present themselves. Below are five of the most common signs of CV joint failure.
1) Vibrations If there is a damaged or worn CV joint, then it will start to vibrate as the vehicle is in motion. The vibrations will become more excessive as you step on the gas pedal and accelerate faster.
If you go too fast, your ability to control the vehicle will be limited which could put you and other drivers on the road in danger. Rather than continuing to put people at risk, take any early vibrations as a warning sign that you need to get your CV joint replaced.
2) Grease on Wheel or Tire Grease coming out of a small crack or tear is an early sign of the CV joint boot failing. If the damage is larger, you might see dark grease splattered on the inside of the wheel rim and around the area inside of the drive wheel like in the photo.
3) Inner CV joint failures Inner CV joint failures are rare. One of the symptoms of a failed inner CV joint is lateral (side-to-side) shaking or vibration during acceleration. A worn-out inner CV joint may also cause clunking when shifting from Drive to Reverse or from accelerating to decelerating.
4) Loud Turning Sounds Whenever there is loud popping or clicking noises as you’re turning the steering wheel, it could be attributed to a bad CV joint.
Depending on the seriousness of the universal joint, you may need to replace the whole shaft assembly in addition to replacing the CV joint.
5) protective boot cracks The most common problem with CV joints is when the protective boot cracks or gets damaged. Once this happens, the grease comes out and moisture and dirt get in, causing the CV joint to wear faster and eventually fail due to lack of lubrication and corrosion.
Usually outer CV-joint boots break first, as they have to endure more movement than the inner ones. CV boots are typically inspected during regular maintenance visits.