Axles are absolutely essential for delivering power from the trans-axle to the wheels. CV axles allow this to take place while maintaining a high level of flexibility. If roads were billiard table-smooth, we wouldn’t need axles that could move with the suspension. Unfortunately, suspension travel and steering require axles that cope well under these circumstances.
On front-wheel drive vehicles, the front wheels are tasked with driving the vehicle along with their traditional steering duties. CV axles deliver power to the front wheels while allowing them to pivot at the same time. Not only are CV axles a common feature on front-wheel drive vehicles, they’re also used on rear-wheel drive cars that employ independent rear suspensions. The angles created by the movement of the suspension require an axle that can move up and down as well.
CV axles can go bad over time, requiring immediate repair or replacement. There are many ways to tell if it needs replacement. From the inside of the vehicle, drivers can tell if the CV axle is going bad just by listening for metallic clicking from the front wheels while making a turn. Drivers may also hear that clicking noise or clunking upon acceleration and deceleration.
Another way to tell if the CV axle needs replacement is by looking at the CV axle boots. Located at the ends of the axle, these boots contain the lubricant needed for the CV joint. If the boot is torn apart or loose, grease can leak out from the joint. Without any lubricant, the joint makes contact with bare metal, making that tell-tale metallic clicking noise. The joint is also exposed to the elements, making it susceptible to rust and corrosion.
Whenever the CV axle experiences these issues, it’s best to have the unit replaced as soon as possible. Failure to act quickly can result in the axle breaking, causing other types of damage to the vehicle. Most automotive service facilities can complete a CV axle replacement in under an hour.