Often when drivers start to hear unusual noises or feel unusual occurrences in their vehicles, they are not sure what the problem may be. If there are unusual noises or vibrations, particularly during turns, then the problem is likely to be within the vehicle's CV joints. Drivers can compare the symptoms that they are experiencing in their cars to the common signs of CV joint trouble to determine if further action is necessary.
How a CV joint works
Constant velocity, or CV, joints work in pairs with an inner CV joint and an outer CV joint on each side of the vehicle's transmission. Each pair sits on one side of the transmission, connecting to the wheel through the vehicle's axle. The inner CV joints transfer force or energy from the transmission to the outer CV joints and, therefore, to the drive wheels. The CV joint consists of bearings, or large metal balls, within an enclosed housing covered by a rubber boot.
Replacing the entire CV joint is an expensive prospect, but drivers can avoid massive repair bills by diagnosing the problem early. Initial problems may be as simple as replacing the grease or putting a new boot in place. Left for too long, however, the CV joint can stop the vehicle in its tracks.
Abnormal noises when turning
CV joints that are in good repair do not usually make any noise. Failing CV joints can make a wide range of noises when the vehicle is in the midst of a turn. The noises can range from humming or growling sounds all the way to clicks, pops, clunks, or whines. The noises start out at a low volume, which increases as the problem worsens.
Vibrations when turning
In addition to noises, the CV joints can vibrate or bounce during turns. Occasionally, the vibrations may become apparent before drivers are able to hear sounds, especially if drivers typically turn the radio up while driving. As with the noises, vibrations tend to start out subtly, gaining in frequency and strength as the problem worsens.
Abnormal noises when speeding up or slowing down
Since the inner CV joints connect directly to the transmission, failure of the inner joints in particular can mean noises when the vehicle speeds up or slows down. These noises are more likely to be clunking sounds, particularly when the gears change. The noises grow louder the faster the driver accelerates or decelerates.
Hesitation when speeding up or slowing down
As the problem with the CV joints worsen, the transmission cannot transfer power correctly to the CV joints, although it is still functioning correctly. As that happens, the vehicle hesitates when the driver tries to accelerate or decelerate. This symptom is usually one of the latter indications that there is a problem with the CV joints.
Damaged CV boots
The CV joint, itself, is not visible to the vehicle owner because a rubber boot covers it to keep it greased and to protect it. The boot has grooves to allow it to move smoothly over the joint, but those grooves develop weaknesses and can wear thin and tear. Once this happens, grease leaks out or becomes contaminated with road grit and then damages the CV joint further. If vehicle owners catch the problem when the boot first receives damage, they may be able to prevent other problems from developing.
Tools for replacing CV joints
Once vehicle owners determine that the CV joint needs replacing, it is important that they have the right items for the job. In addition to replacement CV joints, CV boots, and grease, owners need a torque wrench and sockets that fit the CV joint's lock nut. The vehicle's owner's manual should specify any additional tools that the CV joints require. In some cases, ball joint styles need additional tools in order to remove them from the vehicle.
How to buy CV joints on eBay
Once you know that you need to replace your CV joints, or even just some related parts, you need to find the right replacements to fit your vehicle. To begin, type the phrase "CV joints" along with the make, model, and year of your vehicle into the search bar on any eBay page. If you need a specific part, such as a CV boot, then include the term in the search. You can then narrow the results by a variety of different elements using the available filters on the page.