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Your Cv axle (drive shaft) worn out? » Read more about common malfunctions • Repair • Replacement manual
As its name already implies, the drive shaft is responsible for the drive – or more accurately the torque transmission to the wheel hub. In other words: without the drive shaft, the car doesn't move at all. A defect of the drive shaft is treacherous; breakage often causes further damage potentially leading to serious accidents.
Where to find the drive shaft
- The drive shaft is directly connected to the wheel hub and disappears in a hole in the wheel arch where it is connected to the gearbox.
- It can be easily identified by the rubber sleeves (dust boots).
How does it function?
- On the side of the transmission, the drive shaft is often equipped with conic cog-wheels or crown wheels. On the side of the wheel sits an axle journal.
- When torque is generated, several joints work to compensate the height differences. The drive shaft with its joint construction is alternatively called a cardan shaft.
What happens in case of a defect?
- Clacking, gnashing and grinding noises during driving indicate a defect of the drive shaft.
- Additionally, a defect causes the steering wheel and/or gear stick to vibrate.
- If it breaks, loose, smashing components can cause serious damage or provoke accidents.
- Its construction is robust, although wear is pre-programmed. Mechanical damage due to wear is therefore the most important cause of damages.
- If lubrication is failing, the drive shaft could jam.
- Wear of the joints can cause many different symptoms.
To the garage or DIY replacement?
- Even though its replacement is not very complicated, these important repairs should be left to a professional mechanic, as optimal fit and adequate lubrication lasting several years are essential. Furthermore, the garage can be made liable in case of malfunctions.
Symptoms are not always specific
All symptoms of a potentially defective drive shaft could also be caused by other parts. Therefore you can only trust your gut feeling or possible experience. Symptoms are likely to vary according to car model. In the Opel Corsa a knocking sound is typical, whereas the Renault Twingo is known for its humming sound when driving through a curve. The Ford Mondeo is a "knocker" as well, although this greatly depends on speed. Certainty of diagnosis can only be obtained by checking the components. A visual check ensures whether everything is properly sealed or cracks have developed. Further mechanical tests might show if the metal structure is still solid.
Drive shaft sleeve – component of the drive shaft
It may last a while until the cardan shaft starts to wear out. This is not necessarily the case for the drive shaft sleeve as a drive shaft component. It protects important components against dirt, moisture, and dust and prevents the lubrication grease from leaking out. If it is defective, checking the drive shaft for possible damage is necessary. In case of damage, replacement is unavoidable. If damage is timely found, ideally only the sleeves need to be replaced. This repair is considerably cheaper. Sleeves and shaft are thoroughly tested at MOT inspection. An intermediate check is always useful.
What costs can be expected
Provided they have been optimally maintained, drive shafts can last a car's entire life span. However, this does not necessarily apply to the rubber sleeves although they should last at least 150.000 kilometres. The price for this car component lies between 100 EUR (c. £90) and 500 EUR (c. £450), higher prices being the result of more complex constructions. With an expense of £450 or more, this repair could considerably compromise your wallet. To ease the pain we recommend comparing the prices in our shop, as we can offer spare parts – always in OEM-quality – often considerably cheaper than manufacturers recommend. You can save even more with our action discounts.