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CV Axle Shaft Assembly Replacement
What is a CV Axle Assembly? And Why Should You Care?
Nearly every car on the road today has CV Axles. Without them, your car doesn’t move – at all. For all front-wheel, all-wheel, and most newer 4-wheel drive vehicles, the CV Axle/Shaft transfers power from your transmission to your wheels. If one breaks, one of your wheels won’t spin – that’s a problem.
A CV axle/shaft assembly replacement requires the removal of the wheel hub, detaching it from the suspension, and then removing the CV axle. This is a straightforward job that requires a moderate amount of labor, although it is a common repair.
What Is CV Axle/Shaft Assembly Replacement?
The CV axle is attached to your transmission. The transmission takes the power generated by your engine and redistributes it to the wheels based on speed and a variety of other powers. Since the transmission is in the center underneath your car, how does the power get from there to the wheels? That’s’ right, it’s the CV axle – also called the CV shaft assembly.
As most sedans are front-wheel drive, the CV axles connect to the front and right tires. There are separate axles for each side. If one breaks, then the other is still fine. They are not dependent on one another.
The CV axle connects to the wheel through the hub – the center of the wheel. To replace the CV, the wheel has to come off, including the breaks. It also must be detached from the suspension, which usually includes ball joints, tie rods, sway links, and sometimes control arms. As such, the repair cost is usually fairly high due to the increased labor costs.
Signs Your CV Axle is Failing
There are a few telltale signs that a CV assembly might be failing – here are a few:
- Car vibration, particularly as speed increases
- Clicking noise when the car is turned in either direction
- Grinding noise near wheel area
- Grease all over the wheel area
How Much Does a CV Axle Cost to Replace?
Expect to pay in the vicinity of $400-$600 to replace one CV shaft assembly. There is the possibility you may only have to pay to repair the CV boots. These are the rubber coverings that conceal the bearings within the housing of the axle that allows the wheel to move.
If the rubber boot gets damaged, then it should be replaced. Dirt and other muck can enter and cause the bearings within the axle to fail. If you only need a boot replacement. Expect a much lower price tag – around $200 – $300.
What Happens When CV Shafts Fail?
The most common failure in a CV axle is when the rubber boot ruptures and dirt, gravel, and moisture foul up the bearing inside the boot. When this happens, the wheel cannot turn as freely as it would like. Grease escapes, the CV joint will heat up, then eventually start grinding as all the grease departs through the boot.
When this happens, you’ll know pretty quickly. Your car will start to grind, clunk, and generally sound terrible. When this happens, you should call a tow truck even though the car can technically still move.
For other issues like clicking and mild vibration, you can still drive your car. In some cases, your CV will still last for a good while longer. However, it isn’t wise to let these problems sit, because they will get much worse if left unattended.
What to Look for In a Service Provider?
When looking for a service provider to repair your CV axle, your best bet is to first ask around. Ask people you trust where they take their care. Since a CV assembly can be replaced by any competent auto repair shop, you will not have any lack of options.
Take a look at online reviews of service providers near you. Email or, even better, go in person and ask them what their process is for fixing a CV axle. If they can give you a comprehensive overview of the process, including a road test and fluid top-off or replacement, then you can rest assured that the service center is doing its due diligence when it comes to your car.