To hear a Constant Velocity (CV) Joint noise when driving straight might be a common issue but not something you should ignore. A noisy CV joint is an indication that it needs repairs on a priority basis.
The most common reason behind the constant click noise made by a CV joint when you’re driving your vehicle in a straight direction is a damaged CV joint boot. The broken boot allows the dirt and grease to mess up with the CV joint, prompting it to make a noise when driving.
Let us first understand Control Velocity (CV) Joint in any vehicle and its importance. After that, we’ll get back to various possible reasons behind it making noise when driving in a straight direction, along with its possible solutions.
Constant Velocity (CV) Joints: Function, Types, and Importance
Constant Velocity (CV) joints can be found in every front-wheel drive (FWD) car and are at the drive shaft ends. In addition to the FWD cars, many rear-wheel drives and four-wheel drive cars, along with trucks, use CV joints.
Function of Constant Velocity (CV) Joints
Control Velocity joints are responsible for transferring the torque from the transmission system of any vehicle to its steering wheel at a constant rate. In addition to transferring torque, CV joints also facilitate the regular up-down motion of the suspensions.
The transfer of torque at regular intervals is responsible for ensuring that you can turn your vehicle on time and not cause an accident. In addition to it being a crucial part of the suspension system, they serve as an essential link between the transmission, shafts, and wheels.
Since the Constant Velocity joints are used primarily on front-wheel drive vehicles, the joints will transfer the torque into the vehicle’s front wheels while making any turn.
Types of Constant Velocity (CV) Joints
Constant Velocity (CV) joints are some of the most durable parts of your vehicle. They are covered tightly with a unique type of grease, rubber, or boot. Two additional locks support them, and they can easily last for a couple of years without any maintenance, let alone any wear and tear.
Two types of CV joints get used in any vehicle: Tripod-type and Ball-type CV Joints.
- Tripod-type CV Joints: They are also known as Inner CV Joints and are used to connect or link the vehicle’s transmission and drive shafts or axle.
- Ball-type CV Joints: They are also known as Outer CV Joints as they are used to connect the drive shafts to the wheels of any vehicle.
Importance of Constant Velocity (CV) Joints
It’s only when both types of Constant Velocity (CV) joints: interior and exterior CV joints, are working in sync with each other that you’ll be able to drive your car safely.
If even any one of the CV joints is flawed or not working correctly, it can disrupt the vehicle’s whole transmission from drive shafts to wheels, causing your vehicle to wobble and lose control in between the drive.
Therefore, for the safety of all the people present in any car or truck, you should keep a check on the Constant Velocity (CV) joints of your vehicle. They are durable and require almost zero maintenance but can cause serious harm if neglected for a long time.
Signs You Need To Check Your Vehicle’s Control Velocity (CV) Joint
As highlighted in the section above, the Control Velocity (CV) joints play a crucial role in transferring torque constantly. In addition, if the CV joints are not working correctly, they might also cause trouble starting your car, especially in the winter season.
There is no doubt that CV joints play an important role in any vehicle. If you notice any of the four signs mentioned below, then it’s time to get your CV joints and boots checked.
1. Clicking or Squeaky Noise
Do you often hear some random clicking or squeaky noise when you start your car? The following are some of the very common reasons behind that.
- Problems with the battery
- Something stuck in the engine
- Using a bad or poor-quality muffler
- Faulty suspension system
- Broken Control Velocity (CV) Joint and Axle
However, suppose you hear a loud and clear ‘pop’ sound from your car as soon as you start it or even when you’re driving in a straight direction on a highly smooth road. In that case, it’s a clear indicator that there is something wrong with the Control Velocity (CV) joints and excels of your vehicle.
The pop sound results from the CV joints getting loose and getting apart from the Control Velocity (CV) axle. The CV axle is responsible for keeping the CV joints in place and making them work in sync, transferring torque simultaneously and speed.
So, when even any one of the CV joints gets loose or breaks free, it can cause your vehicle to make a squeaky. In the worst-case scenario, if both the joints break free, it can damage or break the CV axle and cause a sudden loud sound.
Apart from the single pop noise, you might also hear a rhythmic knocking sound, which is also an indicator of broken CV joints or CV axels.
2. Grease Stains Around Tires
To notice mud, water, and sand stains around your tires is pretty standard whenever you drive your car. However, if you notice grease stains or an unhealthy amount of mud out of nowhere, it’s because of broken Control Velocity (CV) boots.
As you know, every CV joint, interior as well as exterior, is secured with grease. However, have you wondered how that grease stays intact? The answer to this: with the help of Control Velocity (CV) boots.
The CV boots are responsible for ensuring that the joints are constantly lubricated with grease while the CV axle keeps rotating. Without the boots covering the CV joints, all the grease would leak and stain the surroundings of the tire.
So, if you notice grease marks on your tire, know that the Control Velocity (CV) boots have been damaged or broken. The broken CV boot would automatically mean that the CV joints are also damaged due to the lack of lubrication and the protection layer.
3. Vibrations While Driving
A great driving experience is when you don’t feel any vibrations or bumps while driving or sitting on the passenger side. There isn’t any reason to feel vibrations in your car unless there is a speed breaker or if you step on your brake pedal abruptly.
However, if you feel your car vibrating, especially when you step on the accelerator pedal, it can be due to a broken Control Velocity (CV) axle and joints.
A broken CV axle not only dismantles the joints but also creates obstacles that prevent the working of the CV joints. The obstacles are in the form of an untimely transfer of torque, causing your car to vibrate.
If you feel violent vibrations that keep increasing with the vehicle’s speed, you can be sure that it’s because of a broken CV axle. The intense vibrations can also make their way towards your car’s steering wheel, making you lose control of the car.
4. Shaking Steering Wheel
If you ever come across any situation where the steering wheel of your car starts to shake violently out of the blue, then you should get your car checked immediately. The primary reason behind this is a broken Control Velocity (CV) axle.
When a CV axle breaks, it can come in between the working of the suspension system by damaging its part. Since the suspension system is responsible for the steering mechanism of your car, a broken CV joint can cause your steering wheel to shake.
However, the shaking of the steering wheel occurs when the damaged CV joints and axles have been in your car for a long time. If you repair or replace them as soon as you notice the initial symptoms, you can avoid this situation.
Since the primary sign of a damaged CV joint is a constant clicking noise made by it, read on to know the reason behind the noise and its possible solutions.
Why Does A Control Velocity (CV) Joint Make Noise?
The first sign of a loose or damaged Control Velocity (CV) joint is hearing a clicking, squeaky, or pop sound coming from it. Since there are multiple reasons behind any noise coming from a car, it can get challenging to identify its exact source.
So, to help you figure that out, we have mentioned the various reasons behind the CV joint noise when driving straight. All these reasons will help you confirm the CV joint as the noise source and allow you to repair it.
1. Damaged CV Boot
The starting block of the chain of events that is responsible for the clicking or pop sound made by Control Velocity (CV) joints is damaged CV boot and clamps. Both of them are responsible for keeping the joints in place and protecting it from external damage caused by the roads and dirt.
CV boots act as a protective layer for the CV joints to protect them from dust and debris. Once the CV boots are damaged, it would result in the loosening of the CV joints due to the damage caused by the debris.
The loose CV joints further create a squeaking sound every time they move. If you ignore the sound for a long period, the joints might crack the CV boot and clamp or entirely fall out.
2. Corrosion Due to Lack of Lubrication
As soon as the Control Velocity (CV) boots and clamps are broken or even slightly cracked, grease will start leaking out of it. The main work of the grease is to act as a lubricant for the CV joints, and once it’s gone, the joints become prone to corrosion and damage.
When the CV joints are not smooth or lubricated enough, they won’t allow the CV axle present in the vehicle to rotate and work appropriately by constantly making contact with it, resulting in the CV joint noise when rotating tires.
Apart from the sound, both the CV joints and axle will become more prone to corrosion as the grease won’t protect them from moisture. Moreover, corroded parts make much more noise and disturbance as compared to regular parts in any vehicle.
3. Damaged or Broken CV Axle
The last block of the chain responsible for the CV joint noise is a damaged or completely broken CV axle. In addition to the noise, a damaged Control Velocity (CV) axle can have some serious repercussions as well in the form of damaging the suspension parts of your vehicle.
A CV axle breaks when it’s no longer attached to the CV joints after the CV boots and clamps break down. So, when the CV joints are not in their desired function, they come in contact with other parts, including the suspension system, and create a sound.
Therefore, apart from the CV axles, you should also choose high-quality suspension parts and system for your vehicle to reduce the sound and trouble.
4. Blocked Bearings
In addition to the chain of reactions mentioned above, blocked bearings also contribute to the clicking sound made by CV joints.
There are many bearings present inside Control Velocity (CV) boots and joints. The role of these bearing is to provide flexibility to the CV axle whenever it moves and preventing the axle from damaging the CV joints.
So, when the CV boots get damaged, it allows debris to come in contact with the bearings and block them. The blocked bearing doesn’t allow the CV axle to work smoothly and makes a clicking sound whenever the debris in the bearing comes in contact with the CV axle.
How to Stop Control Velocity (CV) Joint From Making Noise?
There is only one way to stop the Control Velocity (CV) Joint noise when driving straight, and it’s to replace them as soon as possible. In addition to the CV joints, if you also find a damaged CV boot, clamp, and axle, you should replace them as well.
One can’t repair Control Velocity (CV) joints or any other CV components as they are highly durable. So, the only way to stop the constant, annoying sound made by the Control Velocity components is to replace them with the new ones.
There are two ways to replace the Control Velocity (CV) joints and other components. Either you can take your car to a mechanic and allow the team of professionals to fix that, or you can replace it yourself.
How to Replace the Control Velocity (CV) Joints and Axle Yourself?
We understand that going to a mechanic always is not an option, mainly just for the clicking sound made by the CV joints and axle. So, we have mentioned below the steps to replace the CV Joints and other components in your car quickly and with ease.
1. Get the Required Tools and Kits
Before you start the process of replacing the Control Velocity (CV) elements in your vehicle, you need to have your mechanical tools box, new CV elements, and safety kit by your side.
The Control Velocity (CV) elements can include everything ranging from joints to complete axels. The Mechanical Tools Kit includes essential tools such as screwdrivers, jack, screws, etc. Lastly, it would be best if you also kept a first-aid box in case of any emergency.
2. Remove the Axle Nut
Before you lift your vehicle to check the CV axle and joints, you need to remove the axle nut located at the center of the wheels of your vehicle.
You can apply some lubricant or motor oil into the axle nut and then use a unique Cotter Pin to remove the axle nut from your vehicle’s tires without using much of your strength.
3. Lift Your Vehicle
Now comes the step that marks the official beginning of any vehicle or automotive repair. You can lift your vehicle by using either a jack or a car lift. You can choose any one of the two, depending on which one you know how to use perfectly.
4. Remove the Wheels
Once your vehicle has been lifted, you need to remove the lug nuts and carefully move on to remove the wheels. After removing wheels, use a work light to navigate your way through the brake rotor and caliper.
Before moving on to the next step, you need to positively lock the brake caliper of your vehicle by suspending it with a cord. Not doing so will result in breaking your vehicle’s brake line and your brakes getting damaged.
5. Detach the Tie Rod
After successfully locking the brake caliper, you need to remove the outer tie rod of your vehicle to detach it from the steering knuckle. You’ll be required to use a lubricant to remove the rod, or in challenging conditions, use a hammer to hit the tie rod slightly.
However, make sure that you don’t break it apart while hitting the rod by hitting on its thread.
6. Remove the Hub to See the CV Axle
After that, you need to make your way toward the hub and strut part of your vehicle. You’ll notice that the hub and strut connect with the help of a couple of bolts.
Remove the bolts and the hub so that you can access the Control Velocity (CV) Axle of your vehicle.
7. Remove the CV Joints and Axle
Now, we’ve reached the main part of the CV joint and axle repairing process. You’ll now need to remove the Constant Velocity (CV) Axle of your by using a screwdriver or a pry bar and check out the back end of your CV axle.
The back of the CV axle connects to the transmission system. Therefore, while breaking the seal, there are chances of some of the transmission fluid leaking, which is normal. Once you’ve removed the seal, your CV axle will come out on its own.
8. Place The New CV Joints and Axle
Now, you need to place the new Control Velocity (CV) elements: CV joints, CV boots, CV clamps, and CV axle into the place of the old parts. You only need to replace the damaged parts as there is no need to replace the entire CV axle.
You can similarly place all the parts to how you removed them, using a screwdriver and tightening and loosening the required bolts. You can use a particular CV joint boot clamp tool to place the CV axle back to its position at last.
9. Place All the Parts Removed Before
Now once you’re done replacing the required Control Velocity (CV) parts of your vehicle, it’s time to fix those parts as well that you removed at the beginning of the process.
You need to place back the hub, tie rod, brake caliper, wheel, and all the other bolts and tools back to their original place by following the same steps you used to remove them.
10. Lower Your Vehicle
Lowering any vehicle after repairing it is the most challenging task and much more complex than lifting it. It requires essentially doing the lifting process in reverse but with more caution so as not to damage your automobile’s underside or suspension.
Control Velocity (CV) Joint noise when driving straight isn’t something that you should take lightly as it can be a warning sign for bigger problems. You can eliminate the chances of things getting worse by quickly identifying the reason behind it and replace the CV elements as soon as possible.
Since you can’t repair CV joints and axels, they need replacing with new ones. We have mentioned the ten-step process through which you can replace all the CV elements without harming yourself.
However, it’s suggested that if you notice any other sign such as shaking steering or vehicle, you should take your vehicle to the mechanic and let them examine and solve the problem.