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As every vehicle needs to be driven round corners and over varying terrain, special components called CV (constant velocity) joints need to be installed to allow the drive components to interact with the wheels (which move in a variety of different directions).



What Is a CV Joint?

A CV joint enables the axle to which it is fitted to move through a range of different directions, while still functioning perfectly. If it weren’t for the CV joint, then an axle would detach itself from the transmission or gearbox component to which it is fitted, or would likely fail completely. The CV joint essentially links a road wheel that moves up and down with the component providing the power, which is always stationary and there are CV joints on either end of the axle for full flexibility.

How Does a CV Joint Work?

Several types of CV joints are typically used on the inboard and outboard ends of an axle. The inner CV joint which connects to the transmission will be somewhat simpler and have a tripod style of housing, permitting the axle to move in or out to a degree. Within these CV joints is a carrier that has several needle bearings and allows for a certain amount of movement.

The CV joint on the outside of the axle, however, must be able to move in many different directions (especially in front drive cars) but does not need to telescope inward or outward. Within the housing here are bearings that can pivot around the center, where there is an inner race and a carrier. All of these CV joints need to be protected from the elements at all times and are covered by rubber boots, held on with strong clips and packed tightly with grease.

How Is a CV Joint Made?

There are several different types of CV joint, but they are all typically made from hardened alloy steel to help with durability. While it is possible to dismantle them to repair and repack, they are typically purchased as complete units by the manufacturer and more recently are pre-installed on replacement CV axles.

How Does a CV Joint Fail?

  • Protective boot is damaged or cracked
  • Wears out after extensive use

What Are the Symptoms of Failure?

  • Shuddering or shaking during acceleration
  • Noise when shifting from forward to reverse
  • Grease on the floor or inside the wheel rim

What Are the Consequences of Failure?

  • Transmission damage
  • Loss of drive

CV joint replacement is achieved by pressing them onto the axle using a special tool. It’s much more common these days to replace the axle, which will come with the joints already installed.

If you have questions or concerns about the CV Joint or any of your vehicle’s components, come into your local Pep Boys where we can answer any question, help you find any part, or perform any vehicle service you might need.