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2006 Outback axle boot

I believe that I have a leaking CV joint boot in my 2006 Outback. Occasionally smell something burning. Lifted hood and had some smoke. Saw leak and a friend stuck a finger into a hole in the boot. What can I expect to pay for this repair? I live in central MD. Thanks.

Do you have any idea of how long the CV boot might have been punctured?
I ask because after a few months of this situation, the CV joint inside the boot is likely to have been damaged by loss of lubricant, coupled with the entry of dirt, grit, and water.

Unless you are sure that the damage is of very recent vintage, I would suggest replacing the entire CV joint and boot, as the labor is essentially the same as if you just replaced the boot. If you replace just the boot at this point, it is very possible that you will be paying for the same labor again in a few months when the old CV joint fails.

VDC - Thanks for your comment. I am not sure how long ago this happened. First noticed odor and smoke from leak about a week ago. At first I didn’t think it was my car, but one next to me (it was raining hard that day). Later in the week detected symptoms again which is when a friend looked at it. I was just curious about what this might cost to repair. I am a woman with little car knowledge and just don’t want to be misled or completely without any knowledge regarding the situation. Thanks again - this helps.

The cost will vary wildly based on the locale, where the parts are sourced from, and a half dozen other things. Around here replacing the entire halfshaft could run 200-300 dollars, all depending. The cost of living is lower here but in other areas the price could be double that. It’s hard to say.

While I’m personally not a fan of them, you could possibly have this repaired with a Quik-Boot. This is a split type boot that can be installed quickly after cutting the old one off and without disassembly of any suspension components and removal of the existing axle shaft.

Like the others said, if the boot has been open for any amount of time, it’s probably lost the grease and the innards of the joint have been subjected to water and debris from the road. Prices vary, but here in the Pacific Northwest:

Cost to remove the axle, separate the joint, clean and pack with fresh grease, install new boot and install in car, $170 plus tax.

Cost to remove axle and install new axle, $190 plus tax.

I can’t remember the last time I replaced a boot only.

I would also want to have the engine inspected for oil leaks, that may be the cause of your burning smell as well.

If the CV boot is open then most of the grease has been slung out and the CV joint is probably contaminated with dust and dirt.

When I have a customer come in with an open CV boot, I tell them to drive the vehicle until the CV joint starts making noise while turning, and then I replace the half-shaft with a remanufactured unit.


This is a pretty common problem. Which means it is easy to solve. I think the way mechanics address this problem now-a-days is often by replacing the entire axel shaft. This includes the inner and outer CV joints and the boots. They take your drive shaft, pack it up with a boatload of other bad ones, and send them to china to get rebuilt, and meanwhile china has already shipped a boatload of identical ones, which have been rebuilt and new boots put on them, to the mechanic to install in it’s place. Sometimes I’ve heard that these are called “half shaft” replacements, as there are two axel shafts, one fro the right, and one for the left. Most mechanics will probably suggest to replace both sides (both half-shafts) while they are doing it. Not sure what these cost, but I expect it is fairly reasonable. The labor is pretty straightforward and not very time-consuming for someone who knows how to do it and has the correct tools.

These can often be fixed by the home mechanic too. That’s the way I do it. It involves removing the shaft, cleaning out the dirt and gunk, putting new grease in the CV joint, and putting on a new boot. The new boots costs $10-$15 as I recall. Maybe that is for a pair. Don’t remember. The boots are not overly expensive themselves. If it is just the outboard CV joint, I don’t even remove the drive shaft from the transmission, which saves time. I just remove the axel end only. The biggest problem for me is that there are 4 ball bearings in there, and they are easy to drop being so slippery coated in grease, and when they drop, they roll all over the place and are hard to find. Finding the ones I drop is usually the most time consuming part of the job!

Broken CV joints! Hey, that reminds me of a funny story. One time I was walking in the neighborhood, when this car full of about 8 teenagers come roaring down the street in a low-slung sports car. Well, they didn’t realize there was a speed bump. Wham! Whack! Bump! Screech! Sparks went flying, then I hear this kind of whirring sound, like marbles rolling down the street. When I came up to the car, which was stopped dead in the middle of the street about 100 yards past the speedbump. Then I noticed both half-shafts were behind the car laying in the street! Apparently both outboard CV joints had split it two and then the shafts fell out. And the whirring noise was the ball bearings rolling down the street! It made for a pretty good show I must say.

ok4450, asemaster, Tester, GeorgeSanjose;
Greatly appreciate all of your comments. Tremendous help to me as I now know a little more about what might be involved and what to expect. Sounds as if I should just have the CV joint replaced. Will call a couple of mechanics tomorrow!

Our Subaru’s failed around 50k miles. The dealer then simply replaced the boot for around $130. Fast forward 4 years and its still perfectly fine at 130k miles.

Maybe its blind luck but am typically okay with the minimalist repairs instead of the extra just in case.

There was some luck on your part. The faulty boot was probably detected not long after it was torn or split as the case may be.

Catching one quick usually means the joint will be fine; especially at 50k miles. If it was 150k miles then I’d have changed the halfshaft also.