CV Joints

CV Joints

CV joints (constant velocity joints) are flexible joints that evenly transfer power & torque from a vehicle’s transaxle or differential to the CV axle half shafts and onto the wheels at a constant speed, while accommodating the up-and-down motion of the suspension. All front-wheel drive cars have CV joints on both ends of the drive shafts. Inner CV joints connect the drive shafts to the transmission, while the outer CV joints connect the drive shafts to the wheels. Many rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive cars as well as trucks also have CV joints. 

 

 There are two most commonly used types of CV joints: a ball-type and a tripod-type. In front-wheel drive cars, ball-type CV joints are used on the outer side of the drive shafts (outer CV joints), while the tripod-type CV joints mostly used on the inner side (inner CV joints). Front-wheel drive vehicles have two CV axles in the front, rear-wheel drive vehicles with independent rear suspension have two CV axles in the rear, and all-wheel drive vehicles have four CV Axles connected to the drive wheels. There are several intricate parts that make a CV joint work, but the two most important parts – and the parts most likely to need service – are the cage and bearings that give the joint its fluid flexibility, and the CV boot that protects the bearings. Since functioning CV axles and CV joints ensure that power is continually transferred to the drive wheels, a corroded, locked up or otherwise malfunctioning CV joint will often result in lost power transfer and CV axle failure.

 

The CV joints are packed with a special grease and sealed tight with the rubber or plastic boot, that is held in place with two clamps. CV Joints rarely need maintenance and can last very long, as long as the protective CV Joint Boot is not damaged. Problems occur when the plastic or rubber boot becomes cracked. Once this happens, the grease comes out and moisture and dirt get in, causing the CV joint to wear faster and eventually fail due to lack of lubrication and corrosion. Common symptoms of a damaged or worn out CV Joint include: grease leaking from cracks onto the wheel rim or inside the wheel well,  hearing a clicking sound from the wheels when going around turns at slow speeds, noises when the car is driving straight (possible damage to the inner CV joints), vehicle shuddering during acceleration and clunking when shifting from Drive to Reverse.

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