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CV Joint Replacement Tips

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When front-wheel drive first became popular around the 1980s, I wasn’t even alive or thought of. However, constant-velocity or (CV) joints were thought into existence in the industry then, and have been connecting your vehicle’s transmission to its wheels since.

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Sometimes though, CV joints can fail or wear, usually caused by a torn, cracked, or leaking boot. Even a small pinhole or hairline crack will allow grease to be lost from the joint due to the centrifugal force generated by the rotating joint. In this Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio video, we discuss the best tips to replace your customer’s failed or worn CV joints.

Although some rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles also use CV joints, most are found on front-wheel-drive cars and minivans. Various types of CV joints are used on vehicles, but most outer joints are a Rzeppa design with six balls that ride in races between the inner and outer joint housing. A steel cage holds the balls in position. Over time, the windows in the cage can become worn, allowing the balls to rattle and pop when the vehicle is steered to the left or right. This produces a clicking or popping noise that is a classic symptom of a worn CV joint.

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Not to mention, by the time the leaky boot is discovered, many CV joints are badly contaminated or worn and need to be replaced. CV joints and boots can be replaced individually, but most professional technicians and even do-it-yourselfers prefer to replace the whole half shaft assembly with a remanufactured shaft.

Reman shafting is a much faster, easier and less messy way of replacing a bad boot or CV joint. Not to mention, there’s also less of a chance for installer error and comebacks with a preassembled shaft.

On a high-mileage vehicle with a bad CV joint or boot, it’s often a good idea to replace both shafts at the same time. Often, the right (passenger side) shaft fails first because right turns are at a sharper angle than left turns, and right turns are more common than left turns. Consequently, the right outer CV joint and boot are the first to go. Special tools that may be needed to replace a shaft include a hub puller to separate the outer CV joint from the steering knuckle and wheel bearing, and/or a hydraulic press for older Asian vehicle applications with press-fit wheel bearings.

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