Both all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive vehicles have CV joints, as do some rear-wheel-drive vehicles. The constant-velocity joint is designed to move power from the transmission to the wheel. It provides the power your vehicle needs to keep the tires spinning. When the CV joint fails, it will generally give you warning signs before it just falls off.
1. Grease on Your Tires
If you see grease on the edge of your tires, that grease could be coming from your CV joint. When the CV joint gets damaged, grease can spill out of the joint and onto the edge of the tires. You will see the grease on the rim and interior of your wheel.
2. Clicking and Popping
When the joint starts to go out, it will make sounds. It generally makes a clicking or popping noise as it wears down. You will hear this sound when you turn the wheel all the way to the left or right; whichever side has the bad joint. You may also hear this sound when you shift into gear or step on the gas pedal. You can also drive around in a circle and see if you hear the clicking sound to confirm that it is worn down.
3. Bouncy Ride
When everything is working correctly, you should enjoy a smooth ride. When the CV joint is worn out, you may feel a little more bounciness as you drive around. This is not the only thing that can make your vehicle feel a little bouncier. If you feel a bounce when you are driving around, you will want to get that checked out and confirm if the CV joint is faulty. If so, you will need to replace it.
When the CV joint is worn down, your tires are not going to be properly balanced. Improperly balanced tires will result in vibrations as you drive. As you go faster, the vibrations will increase in intensity. Vibrations that increase in intensity as you drive usually mean that your tires are out of balance or that the CV joint is worn down. With a damaged CV joint, the intensity of the vibrations will increase over time if you don't address the issue, and you will start to notice them when you are driving at lower speeds. This will impact your ability to handle your vehicle safely.
With a CV joint, once you start to notice signs that it is damaged, that generally means that it has to be completely replaced. This job should only take a few hours for a qualified mechanic to perform, and you will be driving smoothly and safely again. Visit an auto shop that is qualified to work on your vehicle, such as Hillside Imports, to replace your CV joint.