All front-wheel drive cars have Constant Velocity joints or CV joints on both ends of the drive shafts (half shafts). Inner CV joints connect the drive shafts to the transmission, while the outer CV joints connect the drive shafts to the wheels. Many rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive cars as well as trucks also have CV joints. The CV joints are needed to transfer the torque from the transmission to the drive wheels at a constant speed, while accommodating the up-and-down motion of the suspension. In front-wheel drive cars, CV joints deliver the torque to the front wheels during turns. There are two most commonly used types of CV joints: a ball-type and a tripod-type. In front-wheel drive cars, ball-type CV joints are used on the outer side of the drive shafts (outer CV joints), while the tripod-type CV joints mostly used on the inner side (inner CV joints).
CV Joint Problems
Common CV Joint Problems
For smooth running, a CV joint uses a special lubricant that is packed in and then sealed by plastic or rubber boot secured with a pair of clamps. As long as that boot is undamaged, the CV joint should last a long time without maintenance. It is more likely that your car will rust through before the CV joint goes. However, a damaged or cracked protective boot opens up a whole world of pain as lubricant spills out and water infiltrates the joint. This causes the CV joint to corrode and fail. Outer boots seem to be the more vulnerable ones, probably because they must withstand more motion than do the inner boots. A properly trained and certified technician will inspect your CV boots for tears, cracks and other damage whenever you bring your vehicle in for scheduled care.
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