How to change a CV joint

Updated July 19, 2017

The constant velocity (CV) joints on your vehicle are part of the front-drive axle assembly. They help the front wheels steer at different angles when the interconnecting shafts move up and down as you drive down the road. The Rzeppa style joints are the most common outer joints on front-wheel drives; however, they also suffer the most wear compared to inner joints. You may hear a clicking or popping sound every time you turn the car left or right. However, instead of replacing the whole axle assembly, you can change the damaged CV joint by getting the right kit for your vehicle model and following these steps.

Remove the boot straps from the CV joint using a standard screwdriver or a pair of diagonal cutting pliers.

Slide the boot back over the interconnecting shaft.

Detach the stop ring at the base of the CV joint assembly using a pair of snap ring pliers.

Pull the CV joint assembly from the interconnecting shaft to force the snap ring at the top of the shaft through the CV joint assembly.

Tilt the inner cage (the cage holding the balls in place inside the housing) in different angles to remove the six balls. Use your thumb or a hammer and a wooden dowel, if necessary.

Tilt the inner cage enough to remove it from its housing.

Rotate the race inside the cage--the part that holds the balls against the inner cage--and remove the race from the cage.

Apply a thick coat of grease to the new CV joint race using special high temperature/high pressure grease (see Tips below).

Install the race inside the new cage. Then install the cage/race assembly inside the CV joint housing.

Tilt the cage at different angles and fit the new balls in place.

Slide a new CV joint rubber boot over the interconnecting shaft.

Install a new snap and stop ring on the interconnecting shaft.

Push the interconnecting shaft through the CV joint assembly to force the snap ring through the assembly.

Apply a thick coat of CV joint grease to all moving parts of the assembly.

Apply a coat of CV joint grease to the inside of the rubber boot. Then slide the boot over the CV joint assembly.

Install the boot straps at each end of the boot, and tighten the straps using a clamp tool or screwdriver, depending on the type of clamp.


Ask the sales clerk at your local auto parts store or dealer for the best CV joint grease for your particular vehicle.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Diagonal cutting pliers
  • Snap ring pliers
  • Hammer and wooden dowel
  • CV joint grease
  • New snap and stop rings
  • Clamp tool
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About the Author

Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.