When I first bought my car, I decided to test its power on harsh terrain. I immediately knew that something was wrong. I initially thought, "Can a bad CV joint affect the transmission?"
Turning the car was hard; I had driven before, and I didn't remember it being this hard to turn a car. Yes, the car was second-hand, and sometimes some things are overlooked by the car salesperson.
I knew I had to check on the CV joint because I would be subjecting the car to more damage if left unchecked.
A CV joint, or "constant velocity joint," is a car joint that makes wheel turning effortless. The joint makes turning easier by transferring power from the transaxle to the car wheels. Four-wheel drives and forward-wheel drives have these joints.
The CV joint is the communication medium between the transaxle and the car wheels, transmitting and receiving transmission power. Apart from making steering easier, the CV joint is responsible for aligning tyres to the road, which makes the car easy to manoeuvre over bumps and escape potholes.
The best way I can describe a CV joint is a point that connects two items. Think of it like your arm; the upper part of your arm is connected to the lower part by the elbow. The elbow part is the joint. With this image in your head, you now have a rough idea of what a CV joint emulates.
Below are the parts that make up the CV joint:
The ball bearings are a significant part of the CV joint. It is simply a bearing with balls made of steel. The ball bearing is part of the CV joint, making it easy for the car to turn and maintain wheel alignment.
The next part is the casing. I can describe the casing as the home of the ball bearings. It houses the ball bearings and holds them securely to facilitate the turning.
The rubber boot is the outer part of the CV joint, responsible for keeping out external contaminants like water and debris. The rubber boot also functions as the part that keeps the CV joint oiled.
If the joints are not lubricated, smooth turning becomes a struggle because the joints will be subjected to wear and tear. Speaking of problems with CV joint issues, it's time to discuss what can cause a bad CV joint.
As previously stated, a damaged CV joint can result in poor transmission because the CV joint directs communication between the transaxle and the car tire. A damaged cv joint hinders communication, making turning the car wheel challenging. Here are what can damage a CV joint:
A torn rubber boot is the leading cause of damaged CV joints. The rubber boot offers protection to the CV joint by keeping out water and dirt. Any external debris will hinder the rotation of the CV joint and eventually damage the joint.
The lubrication system makes the ball bearings rotate quickly. Lack of lubricant makes the ball bearings turn roughly, eventually leading to wear and tear.
When the ball bearings are used for long without service or maintenance, they eventually get worn out. Worn-out ball bearings make rotation harder, leading to more rigid wheel and steering turns.
One telltale sign that your CV joint is damaged is struggling to turn the steering and wheels, like what I experienced. Other signs include:
If you have ever experienced your car vibrating when making a turn, it is a likely sign that your CV joint is damaged.
Some cars turn easier than others for various reasons, like car power or how tightly the steering wheel is placed. But if you have always had an easy time turning and suddenly, it gets more complicated, this could signify a bad CV joint.
A damaged rubber boot can leak grease. If you find grease on your wheels, this is a sign that the rubber boot has ruptured.
I am here to tell you that all is not lost. You can prevent your CV from getting damaged. Firstly, you need to ensure no tears in the rubber boot, especially after a drive through rugged terrain.
The second thing is always to keep the CV joint lubricated. The lube makes the bearing rotate quickly, so keeping it in the car is crucial. With a few drops to the CV joint, your car is as good as new.
Check out for leakages; they appear mainly on the tyre, and lastly, switch out old rubber boots for new ones once you have used them for several rides.
It is not advised to drive with a damaged cv joint. But to answer the question, yes, you can. However, continued driving will ultimately damage the joint, and it will fall apart, and the car will come to a complete stop.
Imagine having a complete car breakdown in the middle of nowhere. So if you find your car having the issues mentioned earlier, it is best to check it before things get out of hand.
We compared the CV joint to an arm and did a good job. The CV joint is the elbow of the car, the wheels are the wrist part, and the steering wheel is the forearm, and they all work together to make the car turn.
We have also listed what could lead to damaged cv joints, signs of a damaged cv joint and what you can do to prevent it.
Lastly, do not be like me, buying a second-hand car and thinking that the best way to try it out is to take the car to the middle of nowhere;