If your car has a bad CV joint, it can cause a number of performance issues to develop that can damage your vehicle, but does it affect the transmission?
Table of Contents
- Can a bad CV joint damage the transmission?
- What is a CV Joint?
- What’s the Difference Between a CV Joint and a CV Axel?
- How Long Do CV Joints Last?
- Are CV Joints Connected to the Transmission?
- How Can Bad CV Joints Affect the Transmission?
- Is it Okay to Drive with a Broken CV Joint?
- How Can You Tell if a CV Joint Needs to Be Replaced?
- How Much Does it Cost to Replace a CV Joint?
- Key Takeaways
Can a bad CV joint damage the transmission?
A bad CV joint can affect your transmission and axle seals. Once a CV joint is damaged, it will vibrate excessively, which can cause serious issues to your transmission as well as other components of your vehicle. Sings of a bad CV joint include noise when turning, vibrations, and tire grease.
After extensively researching automotive repairs, I have gathered enough information to determine if a bad CV joint can affect a car’s transmission.
My research has indicated that this is a key component of your vehicle that you do not want to neglect, as it can result in performance issues and safety hazards.
What is a CV Joint?
A CV joint is a ‘constant velocity joint’, which is a mechanical component found in every front-wheel drive vehicle, as well as some rear-wheel drive cars that have independent rear suspension.
The main purpose of a CV joint is to allow the driveshaft to transfer power without increasing friction. These are the two primary components of CV joints:
- Inner CV Joint
- Outer CV Joint
The inner CV joint is directly connected to the driveshaft and transmission – whereas the outer CV joint is connected to the driveshaft and wheel.
What’s the Difference Between a CV Joint and a CV Axel?
A lot of people often confuse CV joints with CV axles. Although both of these components are connected in the same system, they are actually separate from one another.
The CV axle is the central shaft for a rotating wheel. However, the CV joints are an assembly of cages and bearings that are directly connected to each end of the CV axle and allow the axle to have rotational power.
Both of these components are co-dependent and rely on each other to transfer power to create motion in the wheels of the vehicle.
How Long Do CV Joints Last?
If you are concerned about your CV joints affecting your car’s transmission, it is important to know exactly how long these components last so that you know when to get them serviced.
Although the amount of time that CV joints can last will greatly vary depending on a number of different factors, you can expect roughly 100,000 miles before they start to show clear signs of wear.
With that said, there are a number of factors that will affect the lifespan of a CV joint. Each car is different just like each driver is different, which is why giving an accurate estimate of how long a CV joint can last is rather difficult. In general, most CV joint replacements happen after 70,000 to 130,000 miles.
In my experience, I’ve found that how you treat a car will influence the health of the CV joints more than anything. If you use your vehicle for commuting and casual trips, there is no reason that you can’t maximize the life expectancy of a CV joint and potentially get 100,000 to 130,000 miles out of it.
On the other hand, drivers that take their vehicles on adverse terrain that involves constant bumps will find out that a CV joint can last 70,000 miles or even less – especially if you are off-roading.
Lastly, buying quality parts and materials will also affect how long a CV joint lasts. Reputable car manufacturers that design their vehicles with top-of-the-line parts and components can extend the life expectancy of a CV joint considerably.
Are CV Joints Connected to the Transmission?
There are some key parts of your vehicle that you do not want to run into performance or mechanical issues with and the transmission is certainly one of them.
That said, your CV joints are connected to your transmission and they can affect performance. Although either of the CV joints can potentially damage your transmission or hinder its performance, it’s the inner joint that will likely be the culprit.
As I mentioned, the inner CV joint is the component that is directly connected to the transmission. If you think that your CV joints are damaged, I would recommend getting them checked out right away, as this can be a serious issue and a safety hazard.
How Can Bad CV Joints Affect the Transmission?
The trickiest thing about noticing a bad CV joint is that the early signs are often hard to spot unless you are an experienced mechanic. That is why the early effects that the CV joint could end up having on your transmission are not very clear and will develop gradually.
As the CV joint starts to get worn down and damaged over time, you run a greater risk of mechanical issues developing. Most notably, the bad CV joint will impact your transmission and axel seals. This has to do with the CV joint being connected to your transmission differential.
Is it Okay to Drive with a Broken CV Joint?
If you know that your CV joint is bad, you should avoid driving at all costs until you get it fixed. You run the risk of getting into a serious accident if the CV joint fully breaks while you are on the road, which is why I recommend that you get the vehicle serviced as soon as possible.
As I mentioned, the most challenging thing about dealing with a bad CV joint is that you probably won’t notice that it is damaged.
The CV joint will perform its function for a while after wear and tear become apparent – with indications of it needing to be replaced being very difficult to spot.
That is why going for regular maintenance checkups is so important and having a bit of automotive knowledge is a huge plus so that you can identify these issues early on before they get worse.
Once a CV joint has been seriously damaged, your car will start to pull towards one side of the road and you will not be able to drive at all.
This is particularly dangerous if it happens while you are driving. So, if you are suspicious about the condition of your car’s CV joints, I advise you to get it checked out right away.
How Can You Tell if a CV Joint Needs to Be Replaced?
The early signs of a bad CV joint are hard to catch, but as the problem gets worse, symptoms will start to become more obvious. Once the CV joint starts to go, your car will give you some telltale signs that something is wrong.
During the first stages of the CV joint deteriorating, the indicators may be subtle, but you should not ignore any performance issue that you notice (big or small). However, as the CV joint gets more wear over time, performance will diminish and you can often spot the issue by physically examining your vehicle.
Noise When Turning
The most common sign of a broken CV joint is that the car will start to make a noise when you turn. In most cases, this will sound like a popping or clicking sound that gets louder the more that you drive.
You can test this by driving your car in a circle in a safe environment such as a parking lot. Try driving the car forward and in reverse in a circular motion and see if the popping or clicking becomes more evident. If so, you have a bad CV joint.
Bumps & Vibrations
In addition to noise, you may also feel physical vibrations while you drive your car. If you start to notice that your car does not feel as comfortable to drive and perhaps feels more rigid and bumpy, this can easily be a symptom of a bad CV joint.
You may notice this more when you drive your car at certain angles such as when you make turns – or it could be evident whenever you drive. It will really depend on how badly damaged the CV joint is.
A physical sign that your CV joint is damaged is grease on the edge of your tires. If you are concerned about one of your CV joints potentially being broken, examine the tires of your car after driving to see if you can spot any grease pouring or dripping alongside the rubber.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace a CV Joint?
Replacing a CV joint can be a pretty costly mechanical repair, which is why it is best to drive with care and prevent unnecessary damage from occurring.
However, all components naturally experience wear and tear – with CV joint replacements being inevitable. You can expect to pay anywhere from $165 to $800 to replace your CV joint.
The part itself only costs around $100 to $200, but the labor can easily end up being around $400 to $600 (or more).
- A bad CV joint can directly impact your transmission and axle seals.
- If a CV joint is damaged it will vibrate excessively and can cause serious issues to your transmission as well as other components of your vehicle.
- The physical signs of a bad CV joint are popping or clicking noises while driving, bumps & vibrations, and grease on the edge of your tire.