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Bad CV Boot = Axle Replacement?

If the CV boots are split on my 98 Subaru and spewing axle grease, is it automatically necessary to replace the axles as well as the boots?

Given the low price of replacement axles, replacing the whole axle is usually the less expensive and more reliable option. Do you really want to pay someone the labor to rebuild a 13 year old CV joint that’s been exposed to road dirt/grit from a broken boot?

Check out the prices for both options (repair boot vs axle replacement) and you may end up answering your own question.

Just stay away from the cheaper low-quality remanufactured axles.


It is possible to replace torn boots but it isn’t all that easy, so the labor is high while the parts costs is low. Another problem is you can’t really be sure you’ve got good grease in there, and unless you clean out all the old grease some dirt and grit may have entered the via the tear in the old boot.

Bottom line, boots can be replaced but often the CV joint fails in a few months and shops don’t like angry customers coming back with more problems. Therefore it makes sense in many instances to replace the CV joints which in effect is replacing the axle. The labor to replace an axle is actually pretty low as this isn’t too complicated and not a time consuming job.

I agree with the previous posts. You can get replacement boots but it’s better in the the long run to replace the axles.

It’s unanimous. Change the half shafts. Once the joint has been deprived of grease and exposed to grit its life will be limited. Change just the boot and you’ll be paying the labor all over again in a very short time. Besides, the extra labor required to change just the boot once the half shaft is removed (necessary to change the boot) will mean the job may cost you as much as if you’d changed the whole half shaft anyway.

“Just stay away from the cheaper low-quality remanufactured axles.”

Well, (and not to hijack TOO much) since I’m going to need to do this to my own '93 Cutlass, and am on a budget, are cheap new units better than cheap remans? I mean sure the reman job may be suspect, but the actual unit is likely to be OEM, vs. China-made metal of unknown metallurgy on the cheap newbie.

So, (assuming I’m going to “cheap out” on a car I got cheaply) which is better?

EMPI carries Made in China axles for most cars. They are very reasonably priced and very good quality. There are other brands that also use Chinese made axles and I have heard of minor fit problems with them.