An axle is a type of shaft that rotates a wheel or gear. Different axles are used in vehicles today, such as half shafts, axle shafts, and CV shafts. These terms are often used synonymously, however, there are differences in their working and design. CV axles are very common today in most front-wheel-drive vehicles. They transfer engine power from the transmission to the front wheels. A car axle rarely breaks until it suffers from a strong impact or a big crash. If it fails, the symptoms of a bad CV axle shaft can be easily identified. If you are planning to replace your vehicle’s CV axle and wondering about the CV axle shaft replacement cost, this guide has you covered. This article will help you understand the cost of CV axle shaft replacement and the factors associated with it so you can make a sound decision and plan your repairs.
In this article:
1. What Is A CV Axle And How Does It Work?
2. How Does A CV Axle Goes Bad?
3. What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad CV Axle?
4. What Is The Cost Of The Replacement Of A CV Axle?
5. Factors Affecting The Cost Of CV Axle Replacement
6. How To Replace A CV Axle Shaft?
- Step 1: Removing The Old CV Axle
- Step 2: Installing The New CV Axle
7. Tips While Replacing A CV Axle
1 What Is A CV Axle And How Does It Work?
The function of an axle is to connect the transmission gears to the wheels and transfer power from the engine to the wheels of your vehicle. CV stands for Constant Velocity, which is a mechanical joint responsible for transferring the torque from the transmission to the drive wheels at a constant speed/velocity while accommodating the up-and-down motion of the suspension. CV axles are common in front-wheel-drive vehicles, all-wheel-drive vehicles, and some rear-wheel-drive vehicles that use independent suspensions.
As the tie rods steer the wheels, the CV assembly transmits continuous power to the wheels unaffected by the direction of the wheels. This is possible because of the two joints attached to the CV shaft – the inboard and outboard joint. The outboard joint is a fixed ball joint that features six ball bearings between the inner and outer housings and is held together by a cage. The machined grooves or tracks allow the bearings to slide, providing flex during operations. This mechanism helps in providing the same input and output speed irrespective of the joint’s operational angle. Therefore, it is called a constant velocity joint. This outboard joint connects the drive shaft to the wheel, whereas the inboard joint connects the shaft to the transmission. The inner joint also features a sliding unit to compensate for the suspension movement. It is also known as a sliding joint.
2 How Does A CV Axle Goes Bad?
Lack of lubrication inside a CV joint is the main reason behind the failure of a CV axle, which is often caused by a broken CV joint boot. This inevitably leads to moisture and all sorts of debris getting into the joint, which causes significant wear and tear. A badly worn-out CV joint can even break while driving, which could create a potentially hazardous situation. An average CV axle shaft lasts 1,00,000 km to 1,50,000 km, but sometimes they wear out soon depending on driving habits, terrains, and external road elements.
3 What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad CV Axle?
It is important to be aware of some symptoms of a bad CV joint axle shaft. The sooner you can spot these signs, the less money you will end up spending on repair or replacement work. Keep yourself safe by avoiding a mishap and preventing a CV joint failure by reading some of the most common symptoms of a bad CV joint below:
1. Knocking Noise
The most common symptom of a bad CV joint is knocking and screeching noise while turning. This usually happens due to the lack of lubrication inside the CV joint or when the joint is on the verge of failure. The louder the noise, the more is the risk of total breakage. However, such a sound also arises due to the bad ball joint and worn-out tie rods. If your ball joints are falling, get them checked and replaced. Refer to our ball joint replacement cost guide for cost estimates.
2. Grease Leakage
If you notice grease under your car or on your tires, it could be because of a bad CV joint. Damaged CV joint boots lead to grease leakage and allow the CV joints to sustain further damage. Get your CV joints checked for damage. It the boot has been damaged for a long time, your CV joints might be faulty and need to be checked.
3. Steering Vibrations
A worn or damaged CV joint will vibrate while you’re driving. CV joints in this condition will not be able to balance properly during rotation. The more you speed up, the more intense the vibrations will become. This is a sign of a bad CV axle, which can lead to excessive vibrations, making it difficult to control the vehicle. In worse cases, the vehicle starts to bounce, and in such a condition; it is advised not to drive your vehicle.
4. Wobbly Axle
Another sign of a bad or failing CV joint is a wobbly wheel, especially when you press the gas pedal. If you suspect your axle shaft is the culprit, go under the vehicle and try to push the axle up and down and side to side. Any slack or movement in the axle confirms that the CV shaft is damaged.
4 What Is The Cost Of The Replacement Of A CV Axle?
If you have a bad CV axle, it’s better to have it changed before it snaps and causes your vehicle further damage. A typical CV axle replacement cost can be somewhere between $300 to $800, including the labor charges and the cost of parts. The labor cost of replacing your CV axle can range from $100 to $200. If you’re replacing the CV axle in pairs, you’re looking at a total cost of $600 to $1200. However, these prices can vary depending on your location and type of vehicle. If you are an experienced DIYer, you can save money on the overall replacement cost by replacing your CV axle shafts yourself. If your CV joint is still in good working order but the CV boot is worn out, get it replaced. It stops the grease from leaking and protects the CV joint from dust and water. A CV boot can cost you around $300 to $500 to have both the boots replaced in your car.
Some sample costs of replacing CV axle shafts for some popular car models are mentioned in the table below. These prices are an estimate and are subject to change. They do not include taxes, diagnostics, and other charges.
|$204 – $257
|$90 – $230
|Dodge Ram 1500
|$300 – $420
|$30 – $230
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500
|$550 – $828
|$80 – $280
|$550 – $824
|$70 – $135
|$130 – $150
|$73 – $125
|$150 – $200
|$70 – $165
|$167 – $192
|$85 – $154
|GMC Sierra 1500
|$700 – $800
|$80 – $288
|Mazda 3 Series
|$761 – $766
|$420 – $470
|Jeep Truck Wrangler
|$400 – $488
|$70 – $215
5 Factors Affecting The Cost Of CV Axle Replacement
The cost of replacement of a CV axle mainly depends on whether you’re replacing a double or single axle. The constant-velocity joint replacement cost of a double axle will be approximately twice as expensive as a single axle. Also, there are some other factors too that affect the overall cost of replacement.
1. OEM Vs. Aftermarket
The OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) CV axle shaft costs more compared to aftermarket ones. Aftermarket parts are better if you want to save money on your CV axle repair because they are cheap. These aftermarket parts are offered with similar specifications, fit and function as the OEM parts. Aftermarket parts offered by reputed brands also come with OEM equivalent warranties and they are designed to meet or exceed OEM performance.
2. Make and Model
Another significant factor affecting the CV axle replacement cost is your vehicle’s make and model. For example, if you own a truck like a Ford F-350, the price of a CV axle can vary between $250 to $300. Whereas, the same part costs $50 to $80 for a KIA.
3. CV Axle Placement
Modern cars are equipped with two CV axles on the left and right sides of a front-wheel-drive vehicle. The CV axle connects the outer ball joint, inner ball joint, and transaxle. If your vehicle has an independent suspension at the rear, you will have four CV axles. The cost of replacing CV axles at the rear of the vehicle is less compared to the front because of the absence of the steering system and ease of repair. Therefore, the labor charge is less compared to front CV axles. If your vehicle uses CV axles on all wheels, the cost of replacing them will increase further.
4. Parts Replaced
A CV shaft is also known as a half axle that connects the two CV joints. Usually, when a problem arises in the CV assembly, it’s the constant velocity (CV) joints that fail. However, in some cases, the shaft can also get damaged by an accident. If you are doing the replacement yourself, you can replace a CV shaft and reuse the old ball joints. If you are getting it replaced by a mechanic, a better option would be to purchase the whole CV assembly with new ball joints because the cost of labor can increase in detaching and reassembling the ball joints. A complete new CV axle shaft assembly takes less time to replace and saves money on overall labor costs.
5. New Vs Remanufactured CV Axles
You can always go to the dealership and purchase a new Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) CV axle shaft. For many years, new axles were only available at dealer sources, which were quite expensive. In the last few years, aftermarket brands have been providing remanufactured CV axles, which are equivalent to OEM products and are rebuilt to their specifications. These aftermarket CV axle shafts feature reconditioned, greased, and machined CV joints to ensure they offer OE fit, form, and function. There are several brands that offer remanufactured car parts and are widely used today to save the replacement costs on a vehicle. If you are changing your CV axle shaft, the cost can vary sharply for a new CV axle shaft and a remanufactured one.
6 How To Replace A CV Axle Shaft?
Replacing the CV axle shaft yourself can save you a lot of money on the total replacement cost. Although replacing CV shafts is a technical process that requires skill, you will need some tools that you might not have in your garage. If you plan on reusing your old ball joint, the replacement process can be tough. However, if you are replacing your compete CV axle assembly, it is a comparatively simple task and you can refer to the stepwise method below.
- Drain Pan
- Car Jack
- Jack Stands
- Wheel Chocks
- Torque Wrench
- Hammer or Mallet
- Pry Bar or CV Axle Puller
- Socket Set
- Lug Wrench
Step 1: Removing The Old CV Axle
- Park your car on a leveled surface, secure the vehicle’s wheel using wheel chocks, and engage the parking brakes.
- Take a lug wrench and loosen the wheel’s lug nuts. Do not remove the lug nuts completely.
- Place a jackunder the car to lift it off the ground and install the jack stand under the vehicle. You can also refer to the owner’s manual for the right placement of the jack.
- Remove wheels by loosening the lug nuts using a lug wrench. Remove the hubcap to access the axle nut and loosen it using a breaker bar.
- Remove the axle nut and the brake assembly using a wrench and socket. Remove the brake caliper. Detach the brake fluid hose and set it aside safely to keep it secure.
- Unbolt the castle nut on the outer tie rod and remove it from the steering knuckle using a tie rod end puller tool. You can also refer to our tie rod replacement guide for an easy stepwise method on how to remove tie rods.
- Unbolt the hub from the strut by loosening the bolts that held them together. Once these bolts are removed, the hub should only be connected by the axle through the center hole.
- Remove the CV axle from the hub by hitting the CV joint with a drift chisel and a hammer. You can also use a screwdriver to pop the CV joint out and disconnect the CV shaft from the hub assembly.
- Before removing the CV shaft completely, place a drain pan underneath the engine where the other end of the CV shaft is connected to the transmission.
- Use a pry bar to remove the CV axle from the engine side. If the axle doesn’t come loose, try twisting it back and forcing it to break the seal.
It’s normal for some transmission fluid to leak out as you remove the axle from the CV joint. Replace the CV shaft seal if you see any transmission fluid leaking. Use a seal puller tool to get it out, if it’s jammed.
Step 2: Installing The New CV Axle
- Just as you removed the old CV axle, insert the new one into the same spot in the transmission housing. The peg will slide in until the axle is flush against the housing. Use a rubber mallet to gently tap it from the other side of the axle, to get it seated into place.
- Reinsert the other end of the axle shaft through the hub assembly in the same spot where you removed the old axle.
- Reattach the tie rod to the steering knuckle and rejoin the hub with the strut. Use a torque wrench to fasten the bolts to the recommended specifications.
- Reinstall the brake rotors and brake calipers. Make sure the brake line is not damaged in the process and working fine.
- Fasten the axle nut to the specifications mentioned in the manual using a torque wrench and replace the hub cap.
- Reattach the sway bar if removed earlier, and fasten the lug nuts to reattach the wheel.
- Refill the transmission fluid recommended for your vehicle.
- After the wheel is attached, you can lower the car by removing the jack and jack stands. Tighten the lug nuts and remove the wheel chocks to take the vehicle for a test drive.
7 Tips While Replacing A CV Axle
- If you are not experienced in carrying out vehicle maintenance and haven’t changed the suspension or related parts of your vehicle, we recommend you consult a professional. There are some vehicle repairs that should be done by qualified mechanics to prevent any further issues.
- Use a torque wrench to tighten the nuts and bolts to the torque values specified by the manufacturer. You can also refer to the user manual for specific torque values. Never use a power tool to torque the spindle nut because you can damage the spindle nut and the outer CV joint.
- A CV boot failure is a bad news for any CV joint because, if the boot fails, the CV joint will lose its lubrication and eventually fail. While installing the CV shaft, ensure the boots are secured properly and show no signs of visible damage like cracks and splits.
- Before replacing the old CV axle shaft, check whether the new axle shaft has the same specifications or not. It should have the same compressed length, same inner and outer stub length and spline count for proper fitment, and inner and outer seal diameters.
- Check the transmission fluid for discoloration while replacing the CV axle shaft. It’s advised to replace your transmission fluid and seal if necessary.
If your CV axles have a sensor ring around the outer joint, handle the shaft with care during installation. Any damage to the sensor ring can cause the Anti Lock Braking (ABS) system to get damaged and malfunction.
How much to replace the cv joint?
The cost of replacing a CV joint depends on the age, make, and model of your vehicle. If you own a mainstream affordable vehicle, the price to replace a CV joint is likely to run in the range of $900 to $1200. The majority of the cost will be labor. If you own a pricey European luxury or sports model, expect to pay double.
How much does it cost to replace the front axle?
The cost of replacing a front axle depends on the make, model, and age of your vehicle. The average cost to replace a front axle is between $550 to $740. However, the price can vary depending on the type of vehicle you have. If you own a mainstream affordable vehicle, the price to replace a front axle is likely to run in the range of $500 to $600. The majority of the cost will be labor. I hope this helps!
How long does it take to replace a cv axle?
The time it takes to replace a CV axle depends on the make and model of your vehicle, as well as the experience of the mechanic. Replacing a CV axle can take around 2 to 3 hours. However, this is just an estimate and the actual time may vary depending on the complexity of the job and the tools available.
What happens when a cv joint fails?
A CV joint, or Constant Velocity joint, is a device that connects the drive shaft to the transmission and the wheels of a vehicle. It is responsible for transferring torque from the transmission to the drive wheels at a constant speed, while accommodating the up-and-down motion of the suspension.
When a CV joint fails, it can cause a variety of symptoms. The most common symptom of a bad CV joint is a clicking or popping noise when turning. The noise gets louder when accelerating in turns. In the worst cases, a badly-worn outer CV joint can even disintegrate while driving, which could create a potentially hazardous situation. Inner CV joint failures are rare. One of the symptoms of a failed inner CV joint is lateral (side-to-side) shaking or vibration during acceleration. A worn-out inner CV joint may also cause clunking when shifting from Drive to Reverse or from accelerating to decelerating.
How much to replace a cv boot?
The cost of replacing a CV boot depends on the make, model, and age of your vehicle. According to FIXD Research Team, the average cost to replace a CV boot is between $124 to $343 depending on whether you go to a mechanic or do it yourself. If you decide to go to a mechanic, the cost can range from $298 to $343. However, if you decide to do it yourself, the cost can be as low as $124. The actual cost may vary depending on the type of vehicle you have.
What happens when the cv axle goes bad?
When a CV axle goes bad, it can cause a variety of symptoms. The most common symptom of a bad CV joint is a clicking or popping noise when turning. The noise gets louder when accelerating in turns. In the worst cases, a badly-worn outer CV joint can even disintegrate while driving, which could create a potentially hazardous situation. Inner CV joint failures are rare. One of the symptoms of a failed inner CV joint is lateral (side-to-side) shaking or vibration during acceleration. A worn-out inner CV joint may also cause clunking when shifting from Drive to Reverse or from accelerating to decelerating.
Should I replace both cv axles at the same time?
There is no need to replace a pair of CV axles when only one is damaged. However, some mechanics recommend replacing both axles at the same time to ensure that your vehicle’s drivetrain is working properly, to save on labor costs, and to maintain optimal performance and safety. If you can afford it and if you think the undamaged axle is likely to get damaged soon after replacing the damaged one, you may choose to replace both axles.
Can you replace the cv axle yourself?
Yes, it is possible to replace a CV axle yourself. However, it requires some mechanical skills and tools. You will need to remove the vehicle’s hubcap, cotter pin, and axle nut, and then remove the wheel and brake assembly. Once you have access to the CV axle, you can remove it and replace it with a new one. The process can take around 2 to 3 hours and requires some experience and expertise. If you are not confident in your mechanical skills, it is recommended to take your vehicle to a professional mechanic.
How to remove a broken cv axle from the transmission?
Removing a broken CV axle from the transmission can be a challenging task. One technique to remove the inner CV axle from the transmission is to use a flathead screwdriver or a small pry bar. If the axle does not come loose immediately, try to break the seal by twisting it back and forth. Another method is to put a long screwdriver or a long 3/8 inch extension through the transaxle to the end of the broken axle shaft to tap on the end of the broken axle shaft and drive the broken axle shaft splines out of the transaxle. You can also drill a hole in the end of the broken axle and tap threads into it so that you can attach a slide hammer to the broken end of the axle shaft.
How much does a drive shaft replacement cost?
The cost of replacing a drive shaft depends on the make, model, and age of your vehicle. The average cost to replace a drive shaft is between $300 to $1,500 depending on whether you go to the mechanic or do it yourself. If you decide to go to a mechanic, the cost can range from $400 to $1,500. However, if you decide to do it yourself, the cost can be as low as $300. The actual cost may vary depending on the type of vehicle you have.