CV Joint Replacement Cost

For commonly owned vehicles, expect a replacement cost ranging from $600 to $1200, with labor being the major expense. For luxury or sports cars, expect to pay double.

Salman Chaudhary, Founder Pinkywheels.com

12/8/2023

CV Joint Replacement Cost
CV Joint Replacement Cost

CV Joint Replacement Cost

What is a CV Joint?

The CV joint, along with the CV axle, plays a pivotal role in transferring power from the engine to the wheels of your vehicle. Initially designed for Front-Wheel-Drive vehicles, CV axles were engineered to withstand extreme angles, making them adept at transmitting torque during steering maneuvers and encounters with bumps. Over time, their versatility led to their integration into All-Wheel-Drive vehicles, trucks, SUVs, and AWD cars, both on the front and rear.

CV Joint Components

A CV axle comprises two crucial components:

· inner joint connecting to the transmission or differential

· outer joint linking to the wheel hub.

These joints are designed to twist and turn while consistently delivering torque to the wheels, earning them the name "constant velocity joint." To ensure proper functioning, these joints require ample grease for lubrication. This is facilitated by heavy-duty rubber boots, resembling accordions, that encase each joint and flex with its movements.

Bad CV Joint Symptoms

Given their proximity to the road and exposure to elements like water, mud, salt, and grime, CV joint boots often face wear and tear. Cracks in the accordion-like ribs of the boots can lead to grease leakage, ultimately resulting in joint failure. Recognizing the signs of a failing CV joint is crucial to prevent further damage and costly repairs.

Common Indicators of CV Joint Issues:

  1. CV Joint Noise

Popping or clicking sounds, especially during turns, signal potential CV joint wear. Lack of proper lubrication can contribute to these audible warnings.

  1. Cracks on the Boot

Regularly inspecting CV boots for cracks during routine maintenance, such as an oil change, is essential. Grease around the joint indicates a damaged boot and an impending joint failure.

  1. Wobbly Axle

A failing CV joint can cause the axle to wobble, particularly noticeable when pressing the gas. Detecting axle movement by manually checking for slop or play near the joint can help identify the problematic axle.

  1. Bouncing or Vibrations

Severe bouncing or vibrations, especially during driving, suggests advanced CV joint issues. Driving in this condition poses risks, as a failed axle may become a hazardous projectile.

Causes of CV Joint Failures

Impact Damage

  • A direct impact, such as hitting a curb with the wheel turned, can damage the CV joint. Repeated impacts over time may cause improper wear and eventual failure.

CV Boot Compromise

  • The CV boot can tear from object impacts or wear and split due to aging. Once the lubricant escapes, the joint rapidly wears and fails.

Defects

  • Though uncommon, a defect in the CV joint can lead to failure.

Warranty Coverage for CV Joints

  • New Car Warranty: If your vehicle is under its new car warranty, consider seeking CV joint repairs under the warranty. Impact-related damage may not be covered.

  • Extended Warranty: Check your extended warranty contract to see if CV joints are covered.

CV Joint Replacement Cost
CV Joint Replacement Cost

Replacement Cost of CV Joints

  • Affordable Vehicles: For mainstream vehicles, expect a replacement cost ranging from $600 to $1200, with labor being the major expense.

  • Luxury or Sports Models: Owners of expensive European luxury or sports models may incur double the cost. Dealerships may charge about 40% more for the same service.

Repair vs. Replacement

  • Possible Repair: In some cases, the axle boot can be replaced, and the axle grease repacked. However, most mechanics prefer replacement due to potential hidden wear in the metallic parts.

Replacement of One or Both CV Joints

  • Impact Damage: If damage caused the failure, replacing only one side may be sufficient.

  • Wear and Tear: If wear is the cause, both sides may need replacement, especially for vehicles with over 100,000 miles.

Choosing a Mechanic for CV Joint Replacement

  • Qualified Mechanics: Any qualified mechanic can replace CV joints. Trusted vehicle repair chains or dealerships can perform the job, with dealerships likely charging more.

Alignment After CV Joint Replacement

  • Necessity: Alignment may not always be necessary, but if the failure was due to impact or if suspension parts are removed during replacement, an alignment is recommended.

DIY CV Joint Replacement

  • Skill Level: Replacing CV joints is a 2.5 on a scale of one to five, with one being simple tasks and five being complex overhauls.

  • Requirements: Watching instructional videos and having a complete tool kit and access to a lift are essential. Professional inspection post-replacement is advised.

CV Joint Maintenance

  • Non-maintenance Item: CV joints are not typically considered maintenance items. Visual inspections during routine scheduled maintenance are usually sufficient.

FAQs

What happens if a CV joint fails?

While it's uncommon for the joint to completely disconnect, a failing CV joint is usually detected by the owner through unusual noises or the presence of axle grease near a front wheel.

How much does it cost to replace a CV joint or CV axle?

The cost varies, but for pricey cars, it might be double the average. If opting for a dealer instead of an independent mechanic, expect an additional 40% to the cost.

Is a failing CV joint a serious issue?

Yes, it is crucial to replace a failing CV joint. The potential loss of control or rendering the vehicle undrivable are genuine concerns if the joint were to fail.

How long do CV joints typically last?

Automakers design CV joints to outlast the vehicle's warranty, often reaching or exceeding 200,000 miles. They are intended to last the full lifespan of the vehicle.

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