Constant Velocity joints or CV joints look like ball connections that allow a shaft to rotate and transmit power. These joints have to be kept lubricated to avoid friction and protected from debris. Once it is damaged it will make maneuvering the car harder. These steps will show you how to spot a damaged or bad CV joint.
- Unusual noises when making turns. As you are driving on the road and you make a turn at the corner, if you start hearing unusual sounds coming from under the car then this is one of the symptoms of a bad CV joint. These noises will sound like something is clicking beneath the car every time you turn the steering wheel. Although if these clicking noises just come and go and it isn’t consistent then maybe the damage to your CV joints isn’t as bad yet, but it would be wise at this point to bring it in to a mechanic so he can look under the car and see if the CV joint is damaged.
- Evidence of a damaged boot. If you suspect that there is something wrong with your CV joint, look under the car if you can spot the CV boot. It would look like the rubber end of the plunger with a lot of folds. The CV boot protects the joints found on the center of the wheel connecting to the drive shaft. Check each one on the wheels and the connecting shaft and see if you can find tears or if they are out of position. You might have to get underneath the car to take a closer look. Use a flashlight if there is not enough light to visibly check for tears and use a damp rag to clean dust, mud or grease build up. The CV boot keeps the joints free of debris and preserves the lubrication on the joints. Once this is broken it can cause the lubrication to dry out.
- Steering wheel feels heavier. When you are driving your car in a straight line you wouldn’t probably notice anything wrong with the CV joints but as you make turns, that’s when you’ll feel the effects of a bad CV joint. The steering wheel will start to feel tighter and heavier and you can hardly make simple turns to the left or right. In severe cases you might even feel heavy vibrations like you are driving down a rocky road. When this happens, stop the car in a safe area away from traffic and turn off the engine. Get underneath the car and look for damages to the CV boot first then check for leaking lubricants from the CV joints. If you can unclip the CV boot from its position, you will expose the CV joints and this will be easier for you to inspect the bad CV joint.
A damaged CV joint can cause serious accidents if not spotted early on. There will be telltale signs and you must pay close attention to how your car feels when you are driving it.