The Honda dealer tells me that both of the van’s CV joint boots are torn/leaking. Their recommended solution is to replace both front CV axles at a cost of about $500 per axle.
Is replacing the axle the standard repair when the boot is torn, or is the dealer trying to “over-fix” the problem at a greater cost to me? Can’t they just replace the boots (at a lower cost, hopefully)?
Yes, it is possible to just replace the boots, but unless you know for sure that the boots were torn for only a very short period of time, then there is a strong likelihood that dirt, grit, water, road salt, and…whatever…has already invaded and damaged the CV joints.
If you are confident that you were driving around for only a couple of weeks with torn CV boots, then it is a decent gamble to replace just the boots. If you don’t know how long they were torn, or if you know that this problem has existed for more than a few weeks, I would suggest that you just go ahead with axle replacement on this 9 year old vehicle. Otherwise, you will probably wind up spending more money in the long run.
However, there is NO reason why this job needs to be done at the dealership. A competent independent mechanic’s shop can almost surely do the job for a couple of hundred dollars less than what the dealership wants to charge.
It’s only worth it to replace the boots, if YOU perform the work yourself
The labor to remove an axleshaft and then replace the boots, is significantly MORE, versus simply replacing an axleshaft
EMPI axleshafts are pretty decent. There’s no reason to get this repair done at the Honda dealer
One bit of advice . . . do NOT let anybody talk you into new Chinese-made axleshafts. They’re pure garbage.
A good option . . . bring your axleshafts to an independent, mom and pop shop that specializes in axleshafts. They do okay work, will rebuild your axleshafts, and the price is very reasonable
Several years ago…I replaced the boots on my car with ones that just snapped together. I didn’t have to remove the axles at all. They were still on the vehicle after I sold it a couple of years later. I just replaced them because I ran over some razor wire and it ripped the boots. That stuff is nasty because I had to cut it into small pieces and used Vice-grips to pull them from the front of the car.
It seems as though most of axles are rebuilt in China and people are having problems with them. You are not doing the work, so taking them to be rebuilt is out of the question. If it was me and if I had a grand, I would go to the dealer. That way I got “new” axles. Sometimes spending more means less headaches in the long run.