Lifespan of an axle boot

My used 2004 VW Passat only has 58K miles on it and for the past three years I’ve had to replace the axle. Is this common? It broke while I was driving on the highway this past weekend. Thankfully I was at a crawl when the car broke down but it seems crazy that this keeps happening. Appreciate any insight and advice.

Yes.

A CV-axle can break if you ignore clicking/knocking noise while cornering.

Tester

Thanks but is it common to have to replace it every year? Seems kind of crazy, so just wondering if this was particular to this make and model.

Every year?

No. There’s something wrong.

Tester

Are you using genuine VW axle assemblies? Should last much longer. You may need a different mechanic, either inferior parts were used or something else in the drivetrain is putting undue stress on the CV joint.

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Thanks for your reply. I’m on my second mechanic because the first one retired, but I like them both. I don’t know if they used VW parts. I know little about cars but enough to suspect that this can’t be right that almost every year since I inherited the car from aunt - who barely drove it - that this piece shows west and tear and needs replacing.

No it not common for any brand of vehicle . I would suspect that this thing has been in an accident so you might need a real good alignment shop and a better mechanic . I don’t like guessing which is what I just did but something is really wrong here.

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Is it the axle that goes bad, or just the axle boot?

The right front axle was replaced in June 2018, then again in April 2019, and again in 2021. This past week it broke while I was driving it. AAA towed it directly to my mechanic who said the driver’s side axle had broken, when he did the wheel alignment he said the front passenger side boot was torn, leaking and the axle also needed replacement.

Well, something is wrong. What I don’t know. Could be the parts, installation, or something else. In a million and a half miles, I’ve only had one cv joint actually break. Replaced a few axles, and boots can split after ten years or so, but actual breaking would be unusual.

Let me ask a better question - what are the symptoms each time you have to have the axle replaced?

This time a knocking-ticking sound when I turned the wheel. The times before, nothing.

A torn boot on the right side, a noisy joint on the left side, these things happen.

The front axle CV joint on my VW Rabbit broke one time, after a long, hot, freeway drive. No prior symptoms. Axle was 10 years/150k miles old. On the plus side, 30 mph when it broke, no other damage, & occurred in rural area so shop replacement was pretty inexpensive.

As far as OP having to repeatedly replace a failed front axle

  • CV Boots may be failing, allowing grit into joints. That will almost always lead to early CV joint failure. Suggest to ask shop to clean (soap/water) and inspect boots (all four) on every oil change. If any rubber-cracking noticed, replace the boot. Use a good quality oem version boot, never use split-boot replacements.

  • Anytime you hear a clicking noise when turning at slow speed, very likely a CV joint needs to be serviced. If inspection shows it damaged, even slightly, replace the CV joint , which on a practical matter usually means replacing the entire half-shaft.

  • I do a routine service on my 30 year old Corolla’s CV joints every 60 k miles, removal & cleaning & fresh moly-lube. I do this at 60k miles only on the outer joint. Inner-joint get the treatment every other time (120 k miles). Never had a failed joint on the Corolla. On newer cars unfortunately this is often impossible, CV joints cannot be easily removed from axle shaft due to design change. It might still be possible to clean and replace the lube though.

So all other times it was just a torn boot, correct? I wonder if there was a batch of low-quality boots used, assuming the mechanic was buying the same brand every time.