Your vehicle’s CV joint, or constant velocity joint, is part of a drive shaft, the shaft that attaches to your car or truck’s transmission at one end and the wheel at the other. The CV joints in your vehicle are designed to be able to bend in any direction while continuing to turn the drive wheels at a constant velocity. CV joints are primarily used in the drive shafts of front wheel drive cars.
Due to bumps and the many uneven surfaces in any road, a car’s wheels tend to move up and down continuously while driving down the road; as a result, drive shafts cannot be made up of a stiff or solid shaft. The CV joint’s predecessor, known as the universal joint, was used in the drive shafts of rear wheel drive cars because of its ability to bend in any direction. Now with more and more front wheel drive cars on the road, car manufacturers had to address the fact that the joints in the drive shafts needed to account not only for the up-and-down motions of the wheels, but also for the back-and-forth motions of steering. A vehicle’s CV joint is used in front wheel drive cars because of its ability to maintain a constant drive force to the wheels despite the many different kinds of movements in the front end of the car. The CV joint now often used in rear wheel drive and four-wheel drive cars, as well.
Your vehicle’s CV joints should be inspected periodically and may require replacement as your car or truck ages. A CV joint is covered with a bulbous rubber boot that can deteriorate with age. When a CV boot cracks or tears open, the CV joint is left exposed to the elements, which quickly damages the joint. When you have your CV axles inspected periodically at Custom Transmissions Service Center, torn boots can be replaced as needed, potentially extending the life of the joints; however, if torn boots are left unattended, the joint or the entire axle may soon need to be replaced.