CV Axle Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

CV Axle Replacement
The average cost for a CV axle replacement is between $1,365 and $1,753. Labor costs are estimated between $128 and $162 while parts are priced between $1237 and $1591. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
Note about price: This service is typically done as part of a bigger, more expensive repair, so the estimate you see above may not represent your total cost. Some of these bigger related repairs are listed in the table below. Talk with a RepairPal Certified shop to learn which repairs may be right for you.
CV Axle Replacement

What is a CV Axle Assembly?

A CV axle assembly is a drivetrain component on a vehicle that delivers power from the transmission to the wheel. It is commonly used in front-wheel-drive systems, but can also be found on all-wheel-drive, and even some rear-wheel-drive vehicles with independent suspensions.

How does a CV Axle Assembly work?

CV axles are different from the straight axles of old, where a pair of rods ran through a cylindrical tube, connected on one end to a gear box (differential), and, on the other end, to the wheel hub. The CV axle assembly features joints at each end of a short shaft that move to accommodate the many angles it faces as part of a front wheel drive system. Also known as a "half shaft", the CV axle assembly is connected to the transmission on one end, and to the wheel hub on the other. Near each end is a universal joint that is capable of moving in several directions while the shaft is spinning. That way, it can travel over bumps in the road with the suspension, while at the same time it can turn with the steering.

What are the symptoms of a bad CV Axle Assembly?

The CV (constant velocity) joints near each end of the axle assembly slide back and forth inside a cup, or housing. The joints are lubricated with grease and sealed inside a pair of rubber boots. These boots hold the grease inside, and they keep the dirt and grime outside. Otherwise, the CV joints would deteriorate rapidly. But, over time, the boots can become worn and can crack or tear. Some of the grease escapes and dirt enters the joint, causing it to break down. When this happens, the CV joint develops excessive play in its bearings. A repetitive clicking sound may be heard when the vehicle is accelerating through a curve - such as on a freeway entrance ramp. A clunking sound may be noticed upon deceleration. Vibration may be felt when traveling at highway speeds. A visual inspection of the CV axle shaft will usually reveal grease seeping from a crack or tear in one of the boots.

Can I drive with a bad CV Axle Assembly?

As a CV axle assembly begins to deteriorate, and symptoms start to appear, the vehicle is still driveable. Once the process of breakdown in the CV joints begins, however, it does not reverse. The problem will continue to worsen. If left for too long, a CV joint can break apart, causing considerable damage to the steering and suspension and possibly a loss of control of the vehicle. At the least, the vehicle will be undrivable. The axle should be replaced sooner than later - before it fails.

How often do CV Axle Assemblies need replacement?

A CV axle assembly should last the lifetime of the vehicle. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for an axle to fail. If a CV joint boot cracks or tears, it is only a matter of time before the joint wears out. If a boot is compromised, it can be replaced. If the problem is recognized before other symptoms happen (clicking or clunking sounds when driving), the life of the axle can be prolonged. Replacement of the boots on a CV axle requires that the entire assembly must be removed from the vehicle and disassembled. Because of this labor-intensive approach - and because there is no guarantee how long the joint may last after being compromised - many owners choose to have the entire assembly replaced instead.

How are CV Axle Assemblies diagnosed?

To diagnose a failing CV axle assembly, a technician will remove the wheel and inspect the CV joint boots for wear and cracks. If the boots are damaged, replacement is indicated. If no visible signs of wear appear, it may be necessary for the technician to take the vehicle for a test drive to evaluate the symptoms. Sometimes a damaged CV axle assembly is noticed during other repairs or inspections.

How is the CV Axle Assembly replaced?

To replace a CV axle assembly, a technician will need access to vehicle-specific repair information. The means of connection between the axle and the transmission differs from one model to the next. For instance, some axles feature a hidden snap ring that retains the axle inside the transmission. The technician will lift and support the vehicle and pull the wheel and tire. The axle nut is removed and the lower control arm ball joint is disconnected so that the wheel hub and steering knuckle can be moved out of the way. The outer end of the axle is pushed through the wheel hub to release it from the front suspension and steering. The axle assembly is supported to avoid damage to the oil seal between the transmission and the axle, and the axle is disconnected from the transmission. A new axle assembly is fitted into place, and the front suspension and steering components are reinstalled. Finally, the hardware is torqued to manufacturer's specifications and any lost fluid is replaced. On some vehicles, additional disassembly of suspension parts might be necessary.

RepairPal Recommendations for CV Axle Assembly issues

RepairPal recommends the use of new replacement CV axle shafts. It is increasingly economical to do so, and new axle assemblies are more reliable than rebuilt units. In addition, there is little advantage to replacing the CV joint boots. The cost of repair is nearly as much as the cost of a new axle, and there is no guarantee that permanent damage has not already been done to the joint.

What to look out for when dealing with CV Axle Assembly issues

There is no set-in-stone timetable for the lifespan of a CV axle assembly once symptoms of wear appear. Road conditions, aggressive driving, weather, and the like, all play roles in the breakdown of the CV joint once a boot has broken open. Because the results of a failed axle are severe, replacement should be considered as soon as possible.

Can I replace the CV Axle Assembly myself?

Only someone with considerable experience in replacing suspension components - and access to vehicle-specific repair information - should attempt replacement of a CV axle assembly. Care must be exercised to prevent damage to the transmission or steering and suspension components, as well as to the new axle assembly.

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