4 Common Bad CV Axle Symptoms

Bad CV Axle Symptoms

If you are hearing strange clicking noises when you turn your car or feel vibrations when you hit the gas, your CV axle may be damaged.

The CV axle, or constant velocity axle, is a crucial component of your vehicle's drivetrain that connects the wheels to the transmission.

Over time, this part can wear down and become damaged, leading to a range of symptoms that can affect the performance and safety of your vehicle.

While a damaged CV axle might not seem like a big deal at first, addressing the issue promptly is essential to avoid further damage to your car and potential safety hazards on the road.

Not only can a damaged CV axle make your car handle poorly and reduce your fuel efficiency, but it can also cause your vehicle to break down entirely if left unaddressed.

In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about bad CV axle symptoms, from the common signs to the causes of damage and options for repair or replacement. We'll also provide tips for preventing CV axle damage and avoiding costly repairs.

What Is a CV Axle?

A CV axle, short for constant velocity, is a key component of your vehicle's drivetrain that helps transfer power from the transmission to the wheels. It's several different parts, including a shaft, CV joints, and boots.

The CV joints allow the axle to flex and move with the suspension as the wheels turn, while the boots cover and protect the joints from dirt and debris.

The CV axle makes your car move forward or backward by allowing the wheels to turn. If you hear strange noises or feel vibrations while driving, your CV axle could be damaged and need repair or replacement.

It's essential to take care of your CV axle to keep your vehicle running smoothly and avoid more costly repairs down the line.

Bad CV Axle Symptoms

If you're experiencing any issues with your vehicle's drivetrain, one potential culprit could be a bad CV axle.

This crucial component transfers power from the transmission to the wheels, allowing your car to move forward or backward.

When a CV axle goes bad, there are several symptoms you may notice. Here are a few of the most common bad CV axle symptoms, according to carrchevrolet.com:

1. Clicking Noises When Turning

One of the telltale signs of a bad CV axle is a clicking noise when turning. If you hear a clicking or popping sound when making a turn, it could be a sign that the CV axle is damaged.

This is especially true if you hear the noise when turning at low speeds or when accelerating.

2. Knocking Sound

Another possible symptom of a bad CV axle is a knocking sound. If you hear a knocking or thumping sound while driving, particularly when going over bumps or rough roads, it could be a sign that the CV axle is damaged.

This could indicate that the joints are worn or that the axle is bent or broken.

3. Grease on the Inside or Edge of Tires

You may also notice grease on the inside or edge of your tires. This could signify that the CV axle's protective boot has torn, allowing oil to leak out.

This can cause damage to the CV axle and be a safety hazard, as it may make your tires more slippery and reduce traction.

4. Vibration While Driving

Finally, if you notice a vibration while driving, particularly at higher speeds, it could be a sign that the CV axle is damaged.

This vibration can be felt in the steering wheel or throughout the entire vehicle and can be caused by imbalances or damage to the CV axle.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it's essential to have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

They can diagnose the issue and recommend the appropriate repairs to keep your vehicle running smoothly and safely.

What Causes A CV Axle To Go Bad?

According to Elite Auto Experts, a CV axle can go bad for various reasons. One common cause is wear and tear over time, as the CV joints and boots can become damaged or worn out from repeated use.

This can lead to a loss of lubrication and increased friction, which can cause the joint to fail and the axle to break.

Another potential cause of a bad CV axle is damage from road debris or potholes. Driving over rough or uneven terrain can stress the CV joint, causing it to become worn or damaged.

This can lead to symptoms like clicking or popping noises while turning and vibrations or shaking while driving.

In addition, bad or damaged engine mounts can cause the CV axle to break or become damaged. Engine mounts help stabilize the engine and transmission in the vehicle, and if worn or damaged, they can put additional stress on the CV axle.

This can cause the joint to fail and the axle to break, leading to more severe problems with the drivetrain system.

It's also important to note that overloading your vehicle beyond its capacity can cause excessive stress on the CV axle, leading to damage over time.

This is especially true when driving over large bumps or potholes, which can cause the CV joint to become dislodged or damaged.

How To Diagnose a Bad CV Axle

Diagnosing a bad CV axle is essential to vehicle maintenance, and it's important to know what signs to look for when inspecting your vehicle.

The best way to identify a bad CV axle is to visually and physically check the part. Here are some steps to take when diagnosing a lousy CV axle, according to Automotive Super Center:

1. Enable the Parking Brake.

Before you begin, make sure your vehicle is parked securely with the parking brake enabled. This will ensure that the car won't move while you're inspecting the CV axle.

2. Raise the Front of the Car.

With the parking brake enabled, use a jack to raise the front. Make sure to use jack stands to secure the vehicle and prevent it from falling.

3. Check the Axles at the Point of Their Inner and Outer Joints.

Once the vehicle is raised, you can visually inspect the CV axle at its inner and outer joints. Check for any signs of damage or wear, such as cracks or breaks in the joint.

4. Look for Damaged or Cracked CV Boots.

One of the most immediate signs of concern is whether or not the CV boots are damaged or broken.

These rubber boots cover and protect the CV joints, and if they are damaged, they can allow dirt and debris to get in and grease to leak out.

5. Check for Excess Grease.

Seeing or feeling a lot of grease can signify that the CV joint is damaged and needs replacing.

The grease lubricates the joint and prevents friction, but if it's leaking out, it can cause the joint to wear out faster.

6. Test Drive the Vehicle.

After visually inspecting the CV axle, take the car for a test drive. Pay attention to unusual noises or vibrations, especially when turning or accelerating.

It could signify that the CV axle needs replacing if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

How To Fix a Bad CV Axle

If you have diagnosed a bad CV axle, it's crucial to take action to fix the issue before it leads to more severe problems with your vehicle.

Here are some steps to follow to fix a lousy CV axle, according to Cartreatments.com:

1. Purchase a Replacement CV Joint.

The first step to fixing a bad CV axle is to purchase a replacement CV joint. The cost of a CV joint can range between $95 and $210, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

2. Remove the Old CV Axle.

To replace the CV joint, you will need to remove the old CV axle from your vehicle.

This typically involves removing the wheel and disconnecting the axle from the transmission.

3. Install the New CV Joint.

Once you remove the old CV axle, you can install the new CV joint. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully to install the join correctly.

4. Reassemble the Vehicle.

After installing the new CV joint, you will need to reassemble the car. This typically involves reconnecting the axle to the transmission and reattaching the wheel.

5. Test Drive the Vehicle.

Once you reassemble the car, take it for a test drive to ensure that the CV joint is working properly.

Pay attention to any unusual noises or vibrations, as these could indicate that the joint was not installed correctly.

If you are not comfortable performing a CV joint replacement yourself, it's crucial to hire a qualified mechanic to complete the replacement for you.

The cost of hiring a mechanic to perform a replacement can range between $165 and $800, depending on your vehicle's make and model and the repair shop's location.

While hiring a mechanic may be more expensive, it can ensure that the replacement is done correctly and prevent more severe problems with your vehicle in the future.


To wrap things up, the CV axle is a critical part of a car's drivetrain system that can wear down over time due to regular use or damage from rough roads.

Diagnosing any issues with the CV axle early on using the aforementioned bad CV axle symptoms is essential to prevent more severe problems with the vehicle down the road.

If you notice any bad CV axle symptoms, such as damaged CV boots or excess grease, it's vital to fix the issue as soon as possible.

While fixing a bad CV axle may require purchasing a replacement CV joint and performing the replacement yourself or hiring a mechanic, the cost is well worth it to ensure that your vehicle runs smoothly and safely.

Regular maintenance and upkeep of the CV axle can help prevent issues and keep your car running for years.