Need a CV Shaft Replacement?
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How Much does a CV Shaft Replacement Cost?
Connecting your powertrain to your car’s wheels are Constant Velocity shafts, or CV shafts.
Virtually all front-wheel-drive and all-wheel drive cars utilise CV shafts, and many 4WD vehicles and trucks with independent suspension do also.
It’s this shaft that allows the powertrain to continue transmitting power to the wheels, regardless if you’re driving straight or turning.
Through normal use, the CV joint can develop wear or the shaft itself can bend or break due to impact. While it’s not a part that normally needs to be replaced, it’s more commonly changed after 150,000km.
Car designs differ greatly – some CV shafts have a single CV joint while others have one at each end – so the cost to replace a CV shaft can vary from $300 to $1,300 or more.
Any CV shafts that power the primary drive wheels are likely to wear out first.
CV Shaft Replacement
What is a CV Shaft?
A CV shaft’s purpose sounds simple: to transmit power to the wheels during constant rotation while allowing the wheel to turn.
However, it’s not as simple as it seems. The component on a CV shaft that allows fluid movement with extremely little friction is a Constant Velocity (CV) joint.
This joint contains bearings inside a race and contained inside a housing on the axle shaft. When assembled, the bearings in the race act like a ball, rolling freely inside the joint a full 360 degrees.
A clip holds the CV joint and housing onto the axle shaft.
The complete joint is packed in high-temperature grease and enclosed in a rubber or polyurethane boot which is clamped to the axle shaft and the housing.
A vehicle with independent suspension will have a CV joint on both the inner and outer side of the CV shaft.
The joint must remain lubricated, clean and free of moisture. Once dirt or water enter the boot, the CV joint can quickly become damaged.
Should the concern be left uncorrected, the CV shaft may bind in the joint or housing and break, or the CV joint could disintegrate.
Once symptoms become noticeable, CV shaft replacement should be performed straight away.
Symptoms that your CV Shaft requires Replacement
- Binding or hopping feeling when turning
- Clicking or ratcheting noise when driving or turning
- Your vehicle won’t move any longer
- The CV shaft is broken and hanging underneath your car
How is CV Shaft Replacement Performed?
- The technician lifts the car on a hoist or secures it on jack stands
- The wheel is removed at the affected location
- The axle nut is undone from the wheel hub and broken loose from the hub assembly
- The CV shaft is removed from the transaxle or differential assembly and taken out of the car
- A new CV shaft is fitted in its place, then the axle nut is torqued to spec
- The wheel is refitted and the car is lowered to the ground
- A road test is performed by the technician to ensure the symptom has been corrected
Tips to Remember
- On some cars, the CV shaft can be repaired by a qualified shop instead of a complete replacement
- Grease leaking from the CV boot is an early warning sign – have it addressed before CV shaft replacement is necessary
How Important is Replacing Your CV Shaft?
It’s a critical repair. The responsibility for transmitting power to the wheels rests on the CV shaft and its parts. If the CV shaft is damaged or broken, your car may not operate reliably.
Worse yet, if your CV shaft comes apart while you’re driving your car, it could bind suddenly, cause loss of control, or cause an accident and place passengers and bystanders in jeopardy.
If you’ve read this far, you obviously care about your car. A lot. So next time you need a service, repair or inspection, visit AutoGuru.com.au.
We let you search and book from over 1,600 qualified mechanics, who eat car troubles for breakfast.
Image credit - Dennis Harper