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How to Diagnose a Bad CV Joint

Updated March 23, 2017

The CV joint, or constant velocity joint, on an automobile is connected to both ends of the driveshaft. The main purpose of the CV joint is to distribute torque at a consistent speed to the wheels of the car used for steering. The easiest way a CV joint gets damaged is when the protective rubber CV boot gets cracked. This allows the lubricant to escape and dirt and water to get inside the joint, causing the part to corrode.

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  1. Get in the automobile and start the engine. Drive to a quiet neighbourhood street where traffic and distractions are limited, as you will need to listen carefully to the vehicle.

  2. Roll down the windows, and begin to drive slowly. Without stopping, make a turn to either the right or left, and listen for a clicking noise coming from under the car. If a clicking noise is heard, place the car in reverse, and slowly turn the wheel all the way to one side. Drive the car in a backwards circle. If the clicking noise increases in volume, the CV joint will most likely need to be replaced.

  3. Place the car in park with the engine running, and wait a few seconds before putting the car in drive. While placing the car in drive, listen for a heavy clunking noise. Alternate acceleration and deceleration, and see if a slight shudder can be detected. If there is a shuddering feeling during this process, try it in reverse. If the shuddering gets more pronounced, this indicates a bad CV joint.

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About the Author

Living in Denver, Lynndee Marooney has been writing finance and credit-related articles, guides, manuals and e-books for private companies since 1995. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Bachelor of Science in finance from the University of Maryland. She enjoys counseling clients who are experiencing financial difficulties.

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