What Are CV Joints?

Constant velocity joints, better known as CV joints, are found at the ends of the drive shafts. They are essential to connecting the drive shafts to the transmission and wheels. Because of their function and location, these joints easily wear out over time. They can even break. To ensure that you understand the importance of them, it helps to know a little more about what they do and what happens when something goes wrong with them. There are two types of CV Joints. The Cardinal, which is usually found in heavy trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles and rzeppa CV joints found on most front wheel drive vehicles.

Function

Besides just holding the drive shaft in place, the CV joints also transfer power to the wheels from the transmission. Basically, they ensure that when you press on the gas, your wheels will turn. If the CV joint is not working properly, it may affect the way your vehicle handles. Often you will hear a popping or a clunk sound when shifting, which indicates something is wrong. If the joint breaks, it can stop the car from moving and can cause severe damage, making it essential component in your vehicle that needs to be kept in good condition.

Typical Issues

Most often, the main problem you’ll have with a CV joint is a crack in the boot that protects it. This boot keeps out dirt and other debris that wears down the joint. When the boot is cracked, all that stuff can get into it, wearing it down and causing a loss of lubrication. Typically, you will see issues with the outer joints more often than with the inner ones. 

It is a good idea to have them checked as part of your routine maintenance. If an issue is caught early enough, sometimes just the boot can be replaced. This can be a major time saver, not to mention cost saver. You can’t repair a bad joint, so if the joint is bad, it must be replaced. Replacing the whole joint is labor intensive, but if it is damaged, then it is well worth it to have it done as soon as it is discovered. Letting it go can add to the difficulties of getting it out, not to mention it can lead to further damage.

Your vehicle’s CV joints are something that goes through a lot just in its normal functioning capacity. They are part of ensuring that your vehicle keeps moving down the road. If they end up damaged, they need to be replaced. It can take a bit of work, but if they completely fail, it hinders your car’s ability to move, so replacing bad joints is well worth it.