You know that your car has wheels which are driven by an engine producing power. But between the engine and the drive wheels, there is a complex system of parts which convert the explosive energy of internal combustion into rotational energy that can then spin your car’s tires. One of the most important parts closest to the car’s wheels are Constant Velocity – CV – joints. All front-wheel drive cars have CV joints on both ends of the drive shafts. Many rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive cars and trucks also have CV joints. Inner CV joints connect the drive shafts to the transmission, while outer CV joints connect the drive shafts to the wheels. They are needed to transfer the torque from the transmission to the drive wheels at a constant speed while accommodating the motion of the car’s suspension.
Your car’s CV joints are packed with special grease and sealed tight with a rubber or plastic boot that is held in place with two clamps. CV joints usually don’t need any maintenance and can last very long – even hundreds of thousands of miles – as long as the CV boot protecting them is not damaged. Usually, if problems occur with your CV joints, it is because the boot has cracked or been damaged, allowing the protective grease to come out and moisture and dirt to get in. This can lead to accelerated wear due to lack of lubrication and corrosion. Outer CV boots usually fail first because they move more than the inner ones. Your mechanic should inspect all CV boots during regular maintenance visits, checking for cracks, tears, and other damage.
If you see grease on your CV boots, it is usually indicative of a small crack or tear, an early sign that it has started failing. If you continue to drive your car with a badly damaged CV joint boot, the joint itself will wear out and eventually fail. If your car is clicking or popping when turning, it can be a sign that you have a badly worn CV joint. In extreme cases, a CV joint can even disintegrate while driving, leading to dangerous loss of control.
If you notice a damaged CV joint boot early enough, usually all that is needed is replacing the boot and repacking it with fresh grease, which will be much cheaper than replacing the entire CV joint or drive shaft. This will usually cost a few hundred dollars, depending on how hard it is to do on your car. However, if the CV joint itself is worn out it will have to be replaced entirely with a new part, sometimes including a new drive shaft. This could easily cost double the price of just a new CV boot.
If you notice any signs of a damaged CV boot or worn CV joints, bring it in to Orozco’s Auto Service in Long Beach or Bellflower today for a checkup. Our ASE certified mechanics are fully qualified to take care of all of your CV joint problems!
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