How to tell the difference between bad wheels bearing bad CV joint

How to tell the difference between bad wheels bearing bad CV joint

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How to tell the difference between bad wheels bearing bad CV joint

Indeed, it is known that a bad wheel bearing will produce a regular rumbling noise whenever the vehicle is rolling while the CV joint will make a clicking sound when your vehicle is making a turn, whether right or left. Most times, a bad CV joint will make a clicking noise when steering the car left or right.

How to test CV joints (signs of bad CV joint)

It is the duty of CV joints in a vehicle to help transfer power to the wheels from your transmission. This means that power is transmitted at a consistent speed of rotation whenever there isn’t much friction.

Here is how to test CV joints

Procedure 1

Check for the rubber boots located on the CV joint shaft next to the wheel. But in case it shows sign of damage or is covered with grease, then the boot has been compromised.

Procedure 2

Just accelerate and decelerate faster, but smoothly, noticing any lurching or shuddering located in the CV joint while listening for a clunking sound. Now turn the steering wheel all the way to one side and then slowly accelerate, by turning in a sharp circle. You can now repeat in the other direction. When you find any loud clicking, snapping or popping sounds, it is an indication of a bad joint.

You should lift the vehicle up with the jack and then set it on the jack stands, with the frame of the vehicle so that the stand will not interfere with the CV joint rotation. You can just place one of your hand on each side of the CV joint, after which, twist the axle back and forth to the opposite directions. In case it feels excessively sloppy or it makes a clicking sounds, then the joint needs to be replaced.

Related Article:

Here are 5 signs of bad CV joint

Note that you will notice warning signs whenever your CV joint is failing. So here are the 5 most common signs of bad CV joint:

#1. The Tire Edge Grease

Whenever you spot some grease along the edge of your tire, especially from a tear or tiny crack, then it could be a sign you have a bad CV joint. As you know, a significantly damaged CV joint simply means darker colored grease might be visible on the rim and on the wheel’s interior.

#2. Turning Causes Loud Noises

Whenever you turn the steering wheel, and then hear noises such as a clicking sound or a popping sound, it means that you might have a broken or worn CV joint. However, you can test this by doing the following:

  • Shifting the gear into reverse
  • Turning the wheel all the way to one side,
  • Stepping on the gas pedal.

Note that you will be going in a circle, so ensure the area around you is clear. And as you move backward in a circle, the popping sound will get louder once you have a bad CV joint. So you’ll either have to change the joint or the entire shaft assembly.

#3. Bouncy Driving

Note that you might likely have a faulty CV joint when you’re driving on a flat paved road and then your vehicle is still bouncing around. However, you can verify this by going to an auto shop that repairs transmissions.

#4. Vibrations

Any worn or damaged CV joint will normally vibrate while you’re driving. Any CV joints in this condition would not be able to balance perfectly during rotation. Meaning, the more you accelerate, the more intense the vibrations will become.

Whenever the vibrations become too excessive, then the vehicle will become more difficult to control and then your overall riding experience will be impacted. Meaning your driving will become less comfortable and less safe for everyone in the car. Replacement is the only solution.

#5. Movement Causes Knocking Sounds

Any CV joint that has worn out due to overuse, will cause a knocking sound. Sometimes this noise can come from the inner joint if it’s a front-wheel-drive car.

But for rear-wheel drive, it can come from either the outer or inner joints. Note that knocking sounds can also come from the differential gears.

However, to perform a self-diagnosis on the joint problem, just put the vehicle in reverse and accelerate, and then decelerate. Try to alternate back and forth between acceleration and deceleration, then listen for louder knocking sounds.

How To Check A CV Joint For Play

This can be found in all front-wheel-drive and many rear-wheel-drive cars, CV joints transfers torque from the Drive shaft to the wheels and then permit the vehicle suspension system to go up and down without the driver noticing each bump.

Note that CV joints are protected by plastic or rubber boots which hold in the grease the joints are packed in. but once the boot fails, dirt and moisture displace the grease, impairing the joint.

By examining the CV boots at the first sign of trouble, it can help save the CV joints.

Here is how to check a CV joint for play:

  • Step 1: Just park your car on a level surface. Doing this is for your own safety.
  • Step 2: Try to slide under the front of the car as far as possible. However, to make getting under the car much easier, lie on a car creeper, a wooden or even plastic board on casters.
  • Step 3: Find the drive axles. This is the shafts connect the wheels to the car’s transmission
  • Step 4: Find the plastic or rubber boots within each end of each axle. Remember that these are the constant velocity boots, or CV boots, and there are four in all.
  • Step 5: Check the CV boots for symptom of wear or damage. Note that things like cracks, tears, rips, splits or punctures will all permit the packing grease to leak out, which will also allow dirt and moisture in. Please also look for loose or missing clamps.
  • Step 6: Check the boots for leaking grease. Once you notice greases, you can just rub it on your palm. And if the grease feels gritty, then it has been contaminated with dirt, and so has the CV joint too. So the joint itself should be inspected, cleaned and repacked with another fresh grease; but remember that this is usually best handled by a mechanic.

How To Tell Which CV Joint Is Bad

Indeed, all front-drive and all-wheel-drive cars uses half-shaft axles to connect the transmission to the front and sometimes the rear wheel hubs.

These joints at either end of the axle which allows it to articulate with suspension movement are all called CV joints due to they allow the axle to bend while continuing to spin.

The CV joints typically last about 100,000 to 150,000 miles. But bad CV joints tells these symptoms, sometimes diagnosing inner versus outer CV joint failure can sometimes be a bit tricky.

  • Step 1: You should shift the vehicle into drive while your foot is on the brake and listen. Any bad CV joint will immediately exhibit a clunking noise as the transmission engages. Once there’s a clunking sound, during this phase of testing, it can indicate either an inner or outer CV joint failure; but if you listen closely, you may be able to tell which side it’s coming from.
  • Step 2:  Now accelerate your car to about 10 MPH and keep the speed. You can now depress the accelerator very fast so your car shoots above 20 MPH and then listen for another clunking noise. You should accelerate from 20 to 30 MPH and listen for noises, and then 30 to 40 MPH. sometimes you may also hear a light thump under sudden braking.
  • Step 3: Now shift the car into reverse and jab the throttle quickly for a few times. In case you hear a similar sound but far softer clunk than you did when accelerating, then you certainly have a bad inner CV joint. However, listen carefully for a grumbling vibration, this could indicate damage or severe wear on the inner CV joint.
  • Step 4: Try eliminating any possibility of it being an outside CV joint failure by just doing an acceleration testing while you are driving around in a fairly close circle. In case the CV joint gets louder or quieter or even have a noticeably changes in pitch while you are turning in either direction, then you have a bad outer joint. But if the wheel angle doesn’t affect the CV joint sound noticeably, then it’s the inner joint.

How To Tell The Difference Between Bad Wheels Bearing And Bad CV Joint

One of the most common symptoms that a wheel bearing is bad is when you hear a grinding or grating noise that seems to be coming from one of your car wheels.

Though it’s not always very easy to tell which wheel is making such noise.

But one thing to note is that the grinding noise will become more loudly as you drive faster. This noise occurs because metal is now grinding on metal.

Your car tires may show signs of uneven wear. Though there are many things that could cause your tires to wear unevenly.

But note that a bad wheel bearing is one of them. This happens because a faulty wheel bearing allows for more play in the wheel that causes it to vibrate more. When you have a bad wheel bearing, the uneven wear will show more on one tire.

Also, you will feel more vibration in the car steering wheel or your vehicle will pull to one side.

Normally, the steering wheel vibrating from a bad bearing will be observed at slower speeds and will get worse the more you accelerate.

However, if the wheel bearing is fine, the wheel won’t wobble. But if the wheel bearing is worn out, then you will observe that the tire and wheel assembly will move back and forth.

Signs of A Bad CV Joint

Below are what you will notice in a bad CV joint

  • Bouncy Driving

Note that you might likely have a faulty CV joint when you’re driving on a flat paved road and then your vehicle is still bouncing around. However, you can verify this by going to an auto shop that repairs transmissions.

  • The Tire Edge Grease

Whenever you spot some grease along the edge of your tire, especially from a tear or tiny crack, then it could be a sign you have a bad CV joint. As you know, a significantly damaged CV joint simply means darker colored grease might be visible on the rim and on the wheel’s interior.

  • Vibrations

Any worn or damaged CV joint will normally vibrate while you’re driving. Any CV joints in this condition would not be able to balance perfectly during rotation.

Meaning, the more you accelerate, the more intense the vibrations will become.

Whenever the vibrations become too excessive, then the vehicle will become more difficult to control and then your overall riding experience will be impacted.

Meaning your driving will become less comfortable and less safe for everyone in the car. Replacement is the only solution.

  • Movement Causes Knocking Sounds

Any CV joint that has worn out due to over use, will cause a knocking sound. Sometimes this noise can come from the inner joint if its a front-wheel drive car.

But for rear-wheel drive, it can come from either the outer or inner joints. Note that knocking sounds can also come from the differential gears.

  • Turning Causes Loud Noises

Whenever you turn the steering wheel, and then hear noises such as a clicking sound or a popping sound, it means that you might have a broken or worn CV joint. However, you can test this by doing the following:

  • Shifting the gear into reverse
  • Turning the wheel all the way to one side,
  • Stepping on the gas pedal.

Note that you will be going in a circle, so ensure the area around you is clear.

And as you move backward in a circle, the popping sound will get louder once you have a bad CV joint.

So you’ll either have to change the joint or the entire shaft assembly.

However, to perform a self-diagnosis on the joint problem, just put the vehicle in reverse and accelerate, and then decelerate.

Try to alternate back and forth between acceleration and deceleration, then listen for louder knocking sounds.

Can A Bad CV Joint Affect The Transmission?

Indeed, a bad axle can cause your transmission to go bad.

This has the ability to cause transmission leaks because of a damaged seal if you grab the axle closest to the inner joint which is near the transmission.

Note that you can move it up and down which is a sign of the differences in, meaning the transmission is worn.

What Causes, CV Joint Noise When Driving Straight

Whenever you observe your CV joint making noise while driving straight or making sharp turns, then it implies that your joint is faulty but not completely damaged.

However, some of the causes for your joint to make such a squeaky sounds include;

#1. A Faulty CV boots

A damaged, cracked or torn boots are one of the most common issues with your CV joints.

Whenever there is broken boots, your grease will begin to leak out via the boot, and this has the ability to cause an accumulation of dirt on your joint.

This can also cause your CV joint to wear out much faster and might even fail to function completely as a result of the absence of lubrication and presence of corrosion.

And the CV joint, sine it is contaminated by debris, could be another effect that slowly damages your joint.

So anytime you notice grease coming out from your CV boot via a tear or a crack, this shows that you have a broken boot or CV joint.

Another thing is that you will see grease within your wheel rim’s interior surface and also on the inside of your drive wheel that is if there are critical damage.

Note that all these causes CV joint noise whenever accelerating in motion or making sharp turns.

#2.  Damaged boot clamps

Remember that your CV boots are kept in place by boot clamps. And note that these clamps helps to ensure the boots are well sealed, which prevents any exposure to your CV joint.

This means that if your boot clamps are damaged, then it will cause your CV boot to loosen up, which will allow the accumulation of debris into your CV joint.

When this happen, the effect will cause inner CV joint clunk, leading to the formation of noises from your CV joint anytime you drive your vehicle.

#3. Low or Loss of lubrication

Anytime your CV joints are not lubricated properly, it will increase the friction, which prevents your CV axle to freely rotate.

And once your CV joints are not lubricated well, it can cause your joints to make much noise each time the axle starts turning.

When this happens, you will notice inner CV joint noise from your vehicle while you drive your car.

Most times, the noise becomes louder whenever you’re navigating with speed. Meaning that you may not hear the noise while driving at a low speed.

Inner CV joint failure symptoms

Below are the symptoms

Here are the most common inner CV joint failure symptom is clicking noise when turning or accelerating. 

  • You experience click noise when turning
  • You experience cracks or breaks in the rubber or plastic boot which surrounds the CV joint.
  • You experience grease leaking from the cracks onto the wheel rim
  • You will hear a clicking sound from the wheels whenever it is going around and turns at slow speeds
  • You will hear noises whenever the car is driving straight ( this is a possible damage to the inner CV joints)
  • Your vehicle shudders or will shake during acceleration

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