Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Is It Safe to Drive With a Damaged CV Joint?

Is It Safe to Drive With a Damaged CV Joint?

In a front-wheel drive car, the axles are connected to the wheels with CV joints. These allow the axle and wheel to flex as the car drives (to account for turns, uneven surfaces, and more). However, the joint itself is a weak point in the system. It needs lubrication, and it needs to be protected from dirt, dust, rocks and other debris. If the boot that seals the CV joint is damaged, the grease will leak out and contamination will set in, eventually causing the joint to fail. Is it safe to drive with a damaged CV joint?

Some things to watch for include:

  • Busted boots: If the problem is just a busted CV boot, you might be able to drive for some time before having work done. Here’s the thing, though – the longer you drive with the boot busted, the more dirt and grime contaminates the joint, and the more grease leaks out. If caught quickly, you can usually just have the boot replaced, rather than the entire joint.

  • Clicking/popping/clunking: If you hear a clicking, clunking or popping noise from the front wheels, particularly while turning, it means that the situation has progressed to the point that the CV joint is damaged. These cannot be repaired – only replaced. You can drive on a damaged CV joint for a little while at least, but there’s no telling how long it will last. There are many factors, such as where you drive, the amount of dirt/dust/debris in the areas you drive, how much water gets into the joint, and more.

  • CV joint failure: In a worst case scenario, your CV joint will fail. Essentially, this will break the axle, leaving you with a car that won’t go anywhere. If this happens while you’re driving, it can be serious, leading to a total loss of control.

If you suspect that your CV joint is damaged, it’s important to fix it as soon as possible. This is a critical component, and if it fails completely, the situation can be severe.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Find the Keyless Code on a Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer
Many Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers were manufactured with an option known as the Ford keyless entry keypad. Some models refer to it as SecuriCode as well. It...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...

Related questions

Q: Clunking noise when accelerating, only in drive

As you may know, this is a common sign of a failing CV joint. A CV (Constant Velocity) joint is a shaft that connects the transmission to the wheels, essentially transferring the power from the drive train directly to the...

Q: How long does it take to change rear end on 2003 ford f150

The time depends on whether you are dropping in a pre-assembled (re-built or used) axle/differential or are talking about re-building what you have. To just remove and re-install the entire assembly would require roughly 7 to 11 hours depending on...

Q: I have a crunching/grinding noise when turning

If you have 4 wheel drive, the noise might be due to a failed outboard CV joint. Another possibility is brake interference or wheel bearing noise although if you had a defective wheel bearing you would normally hear the noise...