CV Joint: What to Consider When Buying One
Constant-velocity (CV) joints are very important car parts. Without them, you'll find it difficult to steer your vehicle because the steering wheel will feel heavy. Moreover, because of poor handling, your car's fuel economy will be compromised, too. To avoid these problems, you need to replace a damaged CV joint immediately. But before you can do the necessary repairs, you need to purchase the replacement part first. So you won't end up with the wrong part, we made a list of things that you should consider when buying a CV joint.
The different types of CV joints
Before you buy a replacement CV joint, you have to make sure that you know which type of joint your car needs first. To help you decide, here's a list of the common CV joints that are sold in the market these days.
- Thompson Coupling: If you have seen a gyroscope before, then you'll easily figure out how a Thompson coupling works. This CV joint has Cardan joints that are positioned like scissors so they'll be able to move in the same place. However, since Thompsons are new, they can be very had to find.
- Ball: Also known as the Rzeppa joint, this type is the most common type of CV joint used nowadays. It uses a 6-grooved spherical inner that allows shaft rotation of more than 50 degrees. If you own a front wheel drive vehicle, then it probably has a six-ball Rzeppa joint where steering takes place and a three-ball tripod joint at the engine side.
- Cardan: This type of CV joint links two shafts via a center portion that is shaped like a plus sign. The first shaft is attached to the horizontal joint while the other is connected to the vertical post. Aside from being known as the oldest type of CV joint, the Cardan joint is also known to self-destruct once its angle exceeds 30 degrees.
- Double Cardan: This type of CV joint has two Cardan joints that are angled at 45 degrees and connected by an intermediate shaft. However, because double Cardans are more reliable than a single Cardan, they are primarily used on 4WD trucks.
The best brand
Now that you know the different types of CV joints, you're probably wondering about which brand you're going to buy. If you'll browse a catalog, you'll be bombarded by the different brands of CV joints. It's true that they all perform the same function. However, it isn't true that they are all made from high-quality materials. When choosing a brand, remember this: price influences quality. So, always buy from a brand known not only for its quality but for its affordability as well. Never compromise the reliability of the product just because of its price. If you'll take note of this advice, you'll never regret your purchase.
How to Replace a Damaged CV Joint
If you own a front wheel drive vehicle and you're hearing clacking noises when turning, you should be worried. Typically, these noises mean that your car's constant velocity (CV) joints are toast. Once these joints are damaged, they have to be replaced immediately. If you don't replace them, you'll find it difficult to turn especially in uneven terrain. Moreover, the steering wheel will feel heavy because of the uneven energy distribution in the front wheels. Fortunately, replacing damaged CV joints can be done in your own garage. This guide will teach you how you can do it with the help of several tools.
Difficulty level: Difficult
Tools you'll need:
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Rubber mallet
- Replacement CV joint
- CV joint boot
- CV joint grease
- Tire iron
- Socket wrench
- Bench vise
Step 1: Park on level ground. Then, using the floor jack, lift the front part of your vehicle. Make sure that both sides of your car are supported by jack stands.
Step 2: Remove the lug nuts on the front wheels using the tire iron. After all the lug nuts are removed, detach the wheels.
Step 3: Once the front wheels are removed, you can now check the CV boot for damages. Usually, after 100,000 miles or so, the boot rips or cracks. If the CV boot is damaged, you have to replace it, too.
Step 4: Using your socket wrench, remove the nut of the axle. Once it's removed, uninstall the CV joint assembly.
Step 5: Separate the CV joint from the shaft by using the bench vise. Afterwards, remove the CV boot clamps.
Step 6: Detach the CV boot from the outer CV joint. Then, with the rubber mallet, remove the CV joint from the axle shaft.
Step 7: Before installing the new CV joint, fill it with CV grease first. Then, slide it on the axle shaft. Make sure that these parts are secured by new retaining clips.
Step 8: Fill the replacement boot with grease. Once it's full, attach it on the housing of the new CV joint.
Step 9: Put the axle and CV joint assembly back. Make sure that everything is in place, so the assembly won't fall off.
Step 10. Reattach the wheels and lug nuts. Once the wheels are in place, lower your car to the ground. Test drive your vehicle to make sure that everything is working properly.