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View Full Version : What happens to CV axles when they go bad?


fbrdphreak
05-18-2009, 12:14 PM
So say your CV axles are exhibiting the clicking when turning noises. What happens to the axles in the long-term, i.e. towards failure? What aspects of driving are effected? Do the wheels not maintain proper speeds when turning? Do the axles lock up altogether and you crash off the road? What happens if the problem progresses? Or rather, what causes the clicking anyway?

StageLeft
05-18-2009, 12:36 PM
Wheels do maintain proper speed, there's no way they cannot. From what I have read, this problem can be left for a time, but understand that as time goes on an integral moving part has less and less lube, and as there is less lube, but the same demand, you'll see increased heat, so a critical failure is a definite possibility, though nobody can tell you when that will happen. Boots rip all the time and people's cars hardly ever crash them off the road, but it could happen.

I don't believe the axle is responsible for holding the wheel in place to any extent (not positive), so if it disappeared, you'd be fine, but if it did decide to lock up, it would impact that one side, since the wheel is irrevocably attached to it.

Billb2
05-18-2009, 12:56 PM
Eventually the CV joint (that connects the two halves of the axles together) fails and the two halves separate.
Then the transmission can no longer power the wheel.

They never get better.

Sooner is better than later.

jtvang125
05-18-2009, 01:14 PM
I had a situation where there was total failure in one side of the CV axles. I was on the freeway going about 70 and started feeling a slight pull to the right. Slight turned into extreme where I needed both hands to keep the steering wheel straight. Thinking I got a flat I pulled over and checked the tires. All fine but as I got back around to the driver side I saw tons of smoke coming out around the left front tire. Thinking it was my transmission I tried to move my car back a little to see if it was leaking any fluids to the ground. Started the car, put it in reverse but nothing. All I heard was grinding but the car would not move. Had to get it towed.

Basically the rubber boot around the cv joints rip and all the grease inside flies out while driving. Less luburcation causes the clicking noise. If you continue driving on it something similar to what happened to me will result. It possibly can cause you to lose control of the car if you're going at high speeds or during a turn but probably not that likely. Even if one side completely fails, the car will not move.

halik
05-18-2009, 02:05 PM
Originally posted by: fbrdphreak
So say your CV axles are exhibiting the clicking when turning noises. What happens to the axles in the long-term, i.e. towards failure? What aspects of driving are effected? Do the wheels not maintain proper speeds when turning? Do the axles lock up altogether and you crash off the road? What happens if the problem progresses? Or rather, what causes the clicking anyway?

Clicking means there's a play in the CV joint, which generally means there isn't/wasn't enough lubricant and the parts wore out.

I think what actually happens inside is the ball eats away at the cage and the outer race making a pit and the click you hear is the ball rolling over the pit when the wheel is turned hard (hard turns force the balls roll back and forth in the race)

If you leave it as is, the center cage of the CV joint will explode and you'll end up stranded. Ask me how I know.

StageLeft
05-18-2009, 02:13 PM
Originally posted by: jtvang125
I had a situation where there was total failure in one side of the CV axles. I was on the freeway going about 70 and started feeling a slight pull to the right. Slight turned into extreme where I needed both hands to keep the steering wheel straight. Thinking I got a flat I pulled over and checked the tires. All fine but as I got back around to the driver side I saw tons of smoke coming out around the left front tire. Thinking it was my transmission I tried to move my car back a little to see if it was leaking any fluids to the ground. Started the car, put it in reverse but nothing. All I heard was grinding but the car would not move. Had to get it towed.

Basically the rubber boot around the cv joints rip and all the grease inside flies out while driving. Less luburcation causes the clicking noise. If you continue driving on it something similar to what happened to me will result. It possibly can cause you to lose control of the car if you're going at high speeds or during a turn but probably not that likely. Even if one side completely fails, the car will not move.Makes sense. As it got hot and jacked up the friction it started to act as a brake on that side.

Budmantom
05-18-2009, 09:26 PM
Originally posted by: jtvang125
I had a situation where there was total failure in one side of the CV axles. I was on the freeway going about 70 and started feeling a slight pull to the right. Slight turned into extreme where I needed both hands to keep the steering wheel straight. Thinking I got a flat I pulled over and checked the tires. All fine but as I got back around to the driver side I saw tons of smoke coming out around the left front tire. Thinking it was my transmission I tried to move my car back a little to see if it was leaking any fluids to the ground. Started the car, put it in reverse but nothing. All I heard was grinding but the car would not move. Had to get it towed.

Basically the rubber boot around the cv joints rip and all the grease inside flies out while driving. Less luburcation causes the clicking noise. If you continue driving on it something similar to what happened to me will result. It possibly can cause you to lose control of the car if you're going at high speeds or during a turn but probably not that likely. Even if one side completely fails, the car will not move.



I would imagine that it was making horrible noises the last few months before it came apart?

jtvang125
05-19-2009, 10:09 AM
Originally posted by: Budmantom
Originally posted by: jtvang125
I had a situation where there was total failure in one side of the CV axles. I was on the freeway going about 70 and started feeling a slight pull to the right. Slight turned into extreme where I needed both hands to keep the steering wheel straight. Thinking I got a flat I pulled over and checked the tires. All fine but as I got back around to the driver side I saw tons of smoke coming out around the left front tire. Thinking it was my transmission I tried to move my car back a little to see if it was leaking any fluids to the ground. Started the car, put it in reverse but nothing. All I heard was grinding but the car would not move. Had to get it towed.

Basically the rubber boot around the cv joints rip and all the grease inside flies out while driving. Less luburcation causes the clicking noise. If you continue driving on it something similar to what happened to me will result. It possibly can cause you to lose control of the car if you're going at high speeds or during a turn but probably not that likely. Even if one side completely fails, the car will not move.



I would imagine that it was making horrible noises the last few months before it came apart?

Nope, I was driving the car all day and it wasn't clicking. Must have started on the long trip going back home. With the road noise and mainly long straights of the freeway I probably didn't hear and clicking until it was too late.

Rifter
05-25-2009, 05:01 AM
It can be driven that way for a few months but thats as long as i would let it go, when i bought my current car the CV boot was ripped drivers side and it started clicking within 2 months and by 4-5 months was getting pretty bad especially when turning tight at low speeds like in my parking garage. Axels are cheap and easy to replace, i would do it as soon as i could afford it after the clicking gets bad. Dont forget to replace the axel seals on the trans side when you get it done as you would not want to have to pay to pull them out again to replace a $8 seal, some old seals look fine but start to leak when you install a new axel, best to spend the $16 and get the seals replaced while the axels are out.