Is Your CV Axle Leaking? What a CV Axle Is, Signs of Leakage, & How to Fix It

Have you noticed recent grease leaks or vibrating axles when you drive your vehicle? If so, these could be signs that you have a CV axle leaking. From rear-wheel drive to all-wheel drive to crossover cars, CV axles are a standard fixture for most vehicles. Keep ready for your guide to what a CV axle is, what it does, signs of leakage to look for, cost considerations, and so much more.

What Is a CV Axle and What Does It Do?

Short for constant velocity axle, a CV axle transmits power from the transmission in your vehicle’s engine to the wheels which cause the car to move forward. The CV axle sports a flexible joint component which makes it possible for your car wheels to move when you drive.

A CV axle features a protective casing or rubber boot called the CV boot. The CV boot is supposed to ward off debris like dust and dirt and ensure there is sufficient grease circulating to keep the CV axle well lubricated.

If you discover your CV axle leaking, it is likely because the boot or seal has sprung a leak. Here are the key signs to look for to know right away if you might have a CV axle leaking.

What Are the Signs of a Leaking CV Axle?

A grease leak is the most common sign you’ll witness with a CV axle leaking. With extended use, wear, and tear, the CV boot can dry out which results in tears and cracks. Once that happens, the CV boot will allow grease to seep through inside the wheel. The lubricant could also spread to the chassis and other underside portions of your vehicle.

If you’ve started to notice clicking sounds when you turn coming from the direction of the axle, this is not something you should ignore. These clicking sounds could reveal that the CV axle has loosed so much that play has started, in which case you will have to replace the entire joint.

Vibrations are another vital sign of a CV axle leaking, because the faulty boot will start to vibrate as it lets debris, dirt, and excess moisture seep. Most of the time, you will also need to conduct a full replacement of a vibrating CV axle.

Should You Drive with a Leaking CV Axle?

While a CV axle leaking may not cause problems right out of the gate, once you detect any of the signs noted above or suspect there may be an issue, you should stop driving the vehicle immediately until you resolve the problem. If the CV axle wears out too much, it can erode as you drive and eventually render the vehicle inoperable.

Repair Costs

The costs to repair a CV axle for parts alone can range anywhere from $90 up to over $200. However, when you factor in the prices of labor, you can expect to pay upwards of $800 total for a complete replacement.

How to Fix Your CV Axle

If you decide you’re up to handling your CV axle issue on your own, here’s what you need to do to fix your CV axle leaking at home.

● Begin by jacking up your vehicle, disconnecting your car battery, and letting the oil lubricate the retaining bolts.

● If you have a rear drive car, you won’t have to worry about disassembling the suspension system. All you have to do is get the brake lines out of the range of any wrenches you’ll be using.

● It might be helpful to slightly loosen the sway bar bushings and strut top mounts so you’ll have an easier time disengaging the CV axle.

● Next, loosen and take out the bolts securing the wheel side axle in place.

● You’ll want to disengage the wheel from the axle, but be careful that you don’t allow the shaft to dangle from the differential or your transmission. Otherwise, this could harm the oil seals.

● Pull out the axle without bending the seals.

● Be sure to take any existing ABS rings, axle seals, and other moving parts from the old CV axle and transfer them to the new replacement axle.

● Carefully maneuver your new CV axle into position. The component should click into place.

● Remember to use the right torque on your CV axle bolts and confirm the proper rotation before reassembling.

There you have it! The simple guide to fixing your CV axle leaking before it gets out of hand. Just like you wouldn’t hit the road without purchasing insurance for your vehicle, don’t get behind the wheel if you suspect you might have a faulty CV axle plaguing your vehicle’s performance. Ready to discover how much your current vehicle is worth? Use the quick and easy car finder to see used car values, new car prices, specs, and more!