New cv axle or no new cv axle, that is the question

I’ve got a 2008 Subaru Outback with a leaky passenger-side cv axle. One mechanic will replace it for $200. Another wants to replace the driver-side one as well, even though it shows no leakage. What would you do?

Just do the one. You shouldn’t be saving money on labor because you can do one side without touching the other. Replace the other side when it needs replacing.

+1 with RedRex. It may need replacing at some point since they wear similarly but there’s no point in doing it, unless the guy does it just for parts cost. $200 is a decent price for a half shaft.

Please define “Leaking”…Is the protective boot torn? Perhaps it just needs a new clamp…I mean, your car is only 5 years old, that’s a little early for this kind of problem…

+2 for @RedRex…the other axle may last the life of the vehicle.

Caddyman makes a good point. If it’s just seeping out the end, and the boot itself is not torn, you may not need to replace anything, but just tighten down or replace the clamp.

I’d do neither, and I’d wait until I heard some clicking from the axle. It could last quite a while like this, even with a torn boot. They don’t fail all at once, they start wearing and making noise.

Good point about the boot. I don’t know if it just needs tightening up, or a new boot, but it certainly is leaking and clicking away. Where does the “fluid” come from anyway? The (manual) trani?

It is fluid or grease?
If the boot has been compromised, usually dirt has had a chance to get in. You can try tightening it but often dirt will do a job on your u-joint, requiring replacement soon anyway.

Clicking = replace the whole axle, not that expensive. Only do the one that’s noisy.

Yeah. Clicking? You’re done. New axle time.


I highly recommend you have an authentic Subaru CV axleshaft installed

The other options are cheaper, but riskier

You should also have a new axleshaft nut installed

If the problem is that the boot on one side is torn, and that’s the side that is clicking, then just servicing the one side seems ok. Provided both boots (inner and outer) on the other side are still ok. If either those boots on the other side are cracking or in any way compromised though, or there are any unusual sounds coming from that other side, I’d service both half shafts at the same time. At the minimum, ask your mechanic to double-check all the CV boot clamps on the good side.

And the fun with a Subaru - LOTS of CV joints!