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Axle shafts are commonly referred to as “CV axles” or “half-shafts.” An axle shaft is a narrow, pole-like part that connects a wheel to the gears in the transmission. Axles are part of the system that enables the wheels to rotate. One end of the axle shaft is connected to the transmission and the other end is connected to the wheel. The transmission rotates the axle shafts, which rotates the wheels. Without the axles, the tires will not rotate and the car will not move.
Axle shafts are comprised of four components: shaft, CV joints, grease and the boots (grease container). The most common reason for the axle to fail is because of the torn boots (grease leaking out). Without the grease, the CV joints will not get lubricated, dirt will enter the joint and the whole axle will eventually wear out.
Every time you get a major service, the mechanic should perform a basic safety inspection that includes a visual inspection of the axles and boots. If there is grease found around the tires, it is likely that CV boots are leaking. Also, if you hear a loud clicking noise when you make a turn, it can mean that the axles are bad and need replacement.
Axle shafts connect your transmission to your wheels. When you step on the gas pedal, the transmission gears turn the axle shafts, which then turn the wheels. Broken axle shafts will not rotate, and there will be no connection between your transmission and your wheels; as a result, your wheels will not move.