What Are the Symptoms of a Bad CV Joint?

A bad constant velocity joint may exhibit symptoms such as a clicking noise, vehicle vibrations under acceleration, or clunking while the vehicle changes gears. The clicking noise may be more prominent while turning, and may increase in volume over time, eventually developing into a squealing or grinding noise. Car owners can test for this noise by turning sharply while reversing, which makes the noise more apparent, explains Prime Choice Auto Parts.

Drivers experiencing vibration under acceleration can check if it is related to a failing CV joint simply by removing their feet from their gas pedals. CV joint-induced vibration should stop immediately upon removal. To test for CV joint-related clunking during gear changes, drivers can shift into reverse and accelerate, listening for the clunk as the car engages the reverse gear. This action makes the noise more pronounced than it is moving forward, notes Prime Choice Auto Parts.

Additionally, car owners can directly inspect their CV joints for failure. CV joints are covered by rubber shields, called boots, that protect their lubrication. Any rips or tears in the CV boot that can let in objects, or even just air, require replacing, at least, the boot. Customers can test if the tear has ruined the joint by feeling the grease inside the boot. If it does not feel smooth and slippery, the CV joint must be replaced. If the grease still feels in good condition, owners can clean the joint, reapply new grease and replace only the rubber boot, according to Prime Choice Auto Parts.