Replacing the CV axle on your vehicle is something that can be done in your driveway or garage relatively easily. It used to be common to simply replace the axle boot and repack the axle with grease rather than replacing the entire axle, but remanufactured CV axles have gotten so reasonably priced, it rarely makes sense to just replace a torn boot. Also, once your axle boot is torn, dirt and debris will enter the CV joint causing accelerated wear. A new boot and grease cannot help fix a worn joint!
It’s also possible to need a CV axle replacement even if your boot is in good shape due to a worn joint. If this is the case you’ll hear that tell-tale clicking or crunching during cornering and be able to play in the axle when rotating it and holding the tire still. Once you’ve determined you’ve got a bad CV boot or bad CV axle, it’s time to gather your parts and tools and replace your axle. Check out the video above where we replace the axle on a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee!
CV Axle Replacement Procedure
- Remove the wheel
- Loosen the axle nut
- Remove the brake caliper and rotor
- Disconnect the upper control or lower control arm, ball joints, strut, and/or tie rod in order to move the knuckle enough to slide the CV axle splines out of the bearing
- Disconnect the CV axle from the transmission or differential and slide it out being careful not to damage the seal
- Install the new CV axle in reverse order
Quick tips for replacing a CV Axle:
- Make sure you’ve got a socket big enough to remove the axle nut! These nuts can range from 28mm to 34mm or larger so make sure you’ve got a tool to remove a nut this big. Also, they are often torqued VERY tight so you will need an impact wrench or breaker bar with a pipe to remove the nut. To hold things still while loosening the nut, try having a friend hold the brakes or removing the wheel center cap and chalk the tires using the car’s weight to keep things from moving.
- When you pull the axle out of the differential or transmission, fluid may run out if the fluid level is above the axle seal. Make sure to catch the fluid, then top off the differential or transmission after you install the new axle.
- Some axles are held to the differential or transmission by roll pins or bolts. If this is the case, simply remove the fasteners and pull the axle out. However, most CV axles are held in by snap rings internal to the transmission or differential. To pop the axle out it can take considerable force to overcome this snap ring. Make sure you do not pry or hammer on anything that is fragile or could be damaged by high force.
- If your CV axle has a seal around it, now would be a great time to replace that seal since it is already accessible. Also, it is easy to damage these seals during axle removal so it’s good insurance to replace it with the new axle. If you’ve already installed your new axle and have a leaking seal after driving a few miles, try using BlueDevil Transmission Sealer or BlueDevil Oil Stop Leak to repair the damaged axle seal and avoid doing the same job twice!
You can find BlueDevil Stop Leak products at one of your local auto parts stores like:
- Advance Auto Parts
- Bennett Auto Supply
- CarQuest Auto Parts
- NAPA Auto Parts
- O’Reilly Auto Parts
- Pep Boys
- Fast Track
- Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
- S&E Quick Lube Distributor
- DYK Automotive
- Fisher Auto Parts stores
- Auto Plus Auto Parts stores
- Hovis Auto & Truck Supply stores
- Salvo Auto Parts
- Advantage Auto Stores
- Genuine Auto Parts stores
- Bond Auto Parts stores
- Tidewater Fleet Supply
- Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts
- Any Part Auto Parts
- Consumer Auto Parts
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