CV Boot leaking grease & Battery


I have a nice yellow Subaru WRX wagon I love with 60k miles. I have a nice independent shop and dealer(free state $40 inspections) where I go.

Recently the dealer during a free state inspection came up with $300 of extra work. They said battery was at 65%(it is original from 2003). They also came up with $180 for changing front CV boot leaking a bit.

Should I get battery changed soon, never a problem in New England although it typically is in a warm 50F condo garage in winter.

The CV boot I know little about but repair was $180.

Thank the dealer for the inspection and take the car to your independent shop. I suspect the dealer gives away the inspection to get some repair business. I live in PA and sounds like we have a similar inspection system.

On the battery, Based on age your battery is going to fail someday but if it is working now, it is fine. I think they just came up with a story to sell a new battery. If a dead battery would leave you stranded and is of big concern getting a new one isn’t a bad idea. I have AAA road service and a portable battery jump starter so I wait for a battery to fail, then I get a new one. That is your call.

On the CV boot, if it is leaking a new boot is needed. It should not costs $180 at your independent shop.

Sometimes “free” inspections aren’t really free.

On the battery do places that sell them test them too or is that biased too?

I always feel like I cheated on my regular mechanic when I use these free state inspections he charges $45 for.

Camille, You Need To Have The CV Boot Replaced By Your Independent Guy, Right Away.

He may be able to save the CV joint/axle if it’s caught early enough. Consider a battery, also. It’s on borrowed time. This car could have been manufactured as long ago as July-August 2002. It’s 6, possibly almost 7 years old. That’s how long batteries usually last. It owes you nothing. Replace it on your schedule, not the battery’s when it suddenly goes belly-up.

About the only test you can do on a modern sealed battery is a “load” test. It is not all that accurate because the battery should be fully charged when it is done. Most batteries fail suddenly these days. They work fine one day and then short out internally and are “dead” the next. Five years is considered good life from a battery. It may last a couple of more years, it might go tomorrow. If this is your only car, and you have a job you can never be late for, and if you don’t have a way to get a quick jump start if needed; then getting a new battery is insurance that your car will start when you need to to somewhere. I have a couple of cars and can get a jump start quickly so I let the battery die before I replace it.

Your regular mechanic will not feel cheated at all, if you take your car to him for repairs. Inspections in PA require pulling all 4 wheels to check the brakes and other checks and take at least 30 to 40 min. per car. Shops charge from $12 to 25 to do them. No one makes money on the actual inspection. They make money by doing the repairs and selling the tires that cars need in order to pass inspection. The cheaper places are more aggressive in “selling” stuff than others. Wipers for instance, I replace mine before taking the car for inspection because the shops charge much more per blade than an auto parts store. Your free inspection from the dealer means they have to find something to sell you to make any money at all.

I concur 100% with CSA’s response.

Trying to save money by using that old battery “just a little bit longer” could actually wind up killing your very expensive alternator in the process. In other words, it is false economy to keep using an old battery once it has given any indications that it is weak. And, once a battery is over 5 years old, it can die at any time, without warning.

A torn CV boot allows dirt and grit to get into the CV joint. This contamination can ruin a CV joint fairly quickly, so once again, it is false economy to delay this repair.

I remember an incident when I was a sales manager and got a call from one of my reps. His car was in a shop for something minor, like an oil change, and they told him he needed all kinds of things on his car, CV joints, struts, etc. The bill was going to be over $900. This was a company car, less than 3 years old with about 40K miles. We had national account contracts with larger chain type repair facilities and sometimes these places would “pad” the bill figuring the driver didn’t care and the bill was paid a third party. I advised the rep to get the oil changed and take the car as is and refuse the work. He took it to another shop for a safety inspection and they reported no problems with any of the items the 1st place said needed work. The car went another 20K miles and was turned in without any problems. Moral, stick with mechanics and shops you trust. They know honesty brings you back in their door.

I have nothing to add about the battery beyond what is above.

On repairing a CV boot, I’m going to suggest more caution in what you do with that. First, certainly take it to your regular shop and ask for their recommendation. But also ask on an estimate for putting a whole other axle in there rather than just the boot. Replacing a boot (if its done right) actually involves a lot more labor than putting a new axle in. Once you figure in labor costs for boot replacement you’re often really close to a whole new part (you pay more for the part but a lot less for labor).

If replacing that boot will cost nearly what it would take to put in a new axle I’d be tempted to just ignore that problem and drive it until it starts to make noise.

Thanks for this.

CV Boot I will contact my mechanic for assessment and ask about boot vs axle as you nice people have helped me with.

On the battery what places do you recommend or any brands?

If you are a Costco member, you can buy their battery–which is THE SAME as the Sears Diehard–for about $40. less than a Sears Diehard. However, you have to be willing and able to install it yourself.

Wal-Mart is a reliable source for good-quality batteries at a reasonable price.

I get my batteries from either Walmart or Advance Auto Parts. Reason is convenience and free installation in a relatively short time. Have had good results with both companies, although Sears, Autozone, etc all sell pretty decent batteries.

You can also check Consumer Reports, to get a better assessment. If I remember correctly, Walmart’s top of the line battery rated well for your battery size. elieve

You Have Lots Of Choices For The Battery.

Recently when somebody asked for recommendations, he got 37 of them.
His was a Honda, but the recommendations are the same, except for the Honda Brand.

Click this link and see the discussion if you’ve got some spare time: