How to Check the Constant Velocity Boots (CV Boots) on Your Car

Found in all front-wheel-drive and many rear-wheel-drive cars, constant velocity joints (CV joints) transfer torque from the Drive shaft to the wheels and permit the vehicle suspension system to move up and down without the passengers noticing each bump. CV joints are protected by plastic or rubber boots that hold in the grease the joints are packed in. If the boot fails, dirt and moisture displace the grease, impairing the joint. Inspecting the CV boots at the first sign of trouble can help save the CV joints and money in repairs.

Steps

  1. Image titled Check the Constant Velocity Boots (CV Boots) on Your Car Step 1
    1
    Park the car on a level surface. This isn't for the sake of the CV boots or joints, but for your own safety.
  2. Image titled Check the Constant Velocity Boots (CV Boots) on Your Car Step 2
    2
    Slide under the front of the car as far as possible. To make getting under the car easier, lie on a car creeper, a wooden or plastic board on casters.
  3. Image titled Check the Constant Velocity Boots (CV Boots) on Your Car Step 3
    3
    Locate the drive axles. These shafts connect the wheels to the car's transmission.
  4. Image titled Check the Constant Velocity Boots (CV Boots) on Your Car Step 4
    4
    Look for the plastic or rubber boots at each end of each axle. These are the constant velocity boots, or CV boots. There are four in all.
  5. Image titled Check the Constant Velocity Boots (CV Boots) on Your Car Step 5
    5
    Inspect the CV boots for signs of wear or damage. Cracks, rips, tears, splits or punctures all will permit the packing grease to leak out, while also letting dirt and moisture in. Also look for loose or missing clamps.
  6. Image titled Check the Constant Velocity Boots (CV Boots) on Your Car Step 6
    6
    Feel the boots for leaking grease. If you detect grease, rub it between your fingers. If the grease feels gritty, it has been contaminated with dirt, and so has the CV joint. The joint itself needs to be inspected, cleaned and repacked with fresh grease; this is usually best handled by a mechanic.

Tips

  • Replacing a torn CV boot with a new boot requires a mechanic if the boot is made as a single piece, as the Drive shaft must be removed to attach it. A two-piece or split boot can be installed without removing the car axle but is not usually as durable as a one-piece CV boot.

Warnings

  • Damaged CV boots should be replaced promptly, as the CV joint can be ruined in just a few days, particularly in wet weather. However, if you hear a popping, clicking, humming or growling before you find the CV boot has been damaged, the joint is already ruined and needs to be replaced along with the boot.

Things You'll Need

  • Car creeper
  • Flashlight

Article Info

Categories: Car Maintenance and Repair