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Clacking while turning and accelerating, but CV boots intact

I have a 2012 Honda Odyssey with about 60k miles. If I make a sharp turn, either left or right, and hit the accelerator, there is a distinct clacking noise that is only there while I’m applying gas and only if the wheel is most of the way over. This seems to indicate one or two worn CV joints, but I had the suspension inspected and both CV boots are intact and not leaking and they didn’t see any other problems. Is it possible for a CV joint or axle to become worn out without the boot leaking? I’ve owned the vehicle for a year and it has the well-known Odyssey creaking strut syndrome, but this clacking sound only started up in the last few weeks.

Yes, the CV joint could have been poorly manufactured and fail early without the boot being broken. Or this could be normal wear, CV joints do wear.

Did you check the wheel bearings?

Don’t forget there are 4 CV joints in a FWD car.

Just because the CV joint boot is intact, doesn’t mean the problem isn’t with a CV joint.

To find out, the vehicle would be raised at it’s normal ride height.

Then grab each half shaft and shake it to see if there’s any slop in the outer CV joint.

This doesn’t work if you allow the suspension to hang.


Yep. If the boot tears, you get dirt in the joint and the joint fails faster. But the joint will still fail over time whether the boot is torn or not. You should be able to easily tell which side it is on from the location of the noise. No need to replace axles at the same time unless you want to pre-empt the eventual repair.

Do you hear this at low speeds too? Like when turning sharply in a parking lot or turning right or left after stopping at a stop sign? If so that is a classic outer cv joint symptom. As posted above, a boot failure usually predicts a joint failure. But it doesn’t always predate one. The joint can still fail with the boot fully intact.

When that occurs it is usually either that you’ve hit a pothole at some point, which put a knick in a bearing race or maybe damaged one of the ball bearings; or that the cv grease that was initially packed in against the ball bearings has been thrown out from where it is supposed to be, and now it is residing in the boot area, where it does no good keep the joint lubricated.

CV joints are normally wearing items and require periodic servicing if you expect them to continue working trouble free. It used to be – for example, my late 70’s VW Rabbit – the manufacturers recommended routine CV servicing at 30K or 60K miles intervals. That meant the shop would pull back the boot, clean out the old grease, and pack new in. Usually they’d do that on the work bench by removing the shaft from the car first. These days that kind of procedure is too time consuming (i.e. too costly to the owner) for routine maintenance, and so now they just replace the entire half shaft when a symptom appears, and they don’t bother w/routine servicing of the cv joints. So if you do have a cv joint problem, not a big deal. It’s like a fan belt that has worn out, no worries, totally expected happen eventually, so just replace it.

Bearings wear as they operate, even if their protective boots stay intact. It’s a fact of life.

The way your outer CV joints work is sort of like a ball inside a socket, except there are slots in both and little balls fitted into the slots. The design goal is to allow the joint to bend (articulate) while still allowing the axle to transmit its torque (turning force) all the way to the hub. As you turn, the ball rotates in the socket and the torque is transmitted laterally through the little balls in the slots. It’s a lot of force to deal with, and the balls wear.