Put up with failing CV joint?

Corolla 2008, about 180K miles. Daughter’s car. I rode in it for the first time in many months yesterday. On sharp right turn, heard clicking from front. “Oh, that’s been there for a while.” I’m thinking CV joint, and hoping I’m wrong; maybe something is just rubbing (Hah!).

Daughter and her husband were thinking about replacing this car even before I noted this problem. If the clicking is, in fact, the CV joint, is there any way to guess the risk of letting it go for a while?

(Their child might want an opinion, but he is only two months old. That alone would make me want to fix EVERYTHING.)

(Additional issues:

(The A/C is not working. And when we were driving there was a burning smell that went away, but the front wheels felt a bit hot. Dragging calipers, or normal? I dunno, but another worry.

(The car is at the mechanic now, having these problems diagnosed.

(Feel free to comment.)

Once a CV-joint starts clicking, it’s too late

I drive the vehicle until the CV-joint starts knocking.

Because if you wait longer than that, it can break and leave you stranded.



I can only say what I would do if I had a daughter and grandchild in this accident vehicle waiting to happen . I would put them in a decent vehicle somehow .

Yeah, that’s about what I thought. Just wanted to work it out by talking about it, and see what the experts thought.


If the CV joint is clicking that has to be addressed w/due speed. If it is ignored the result will probably be the CV joint fails one day to the point the car won’t move, leaving you stranded as posted above. I’ve had that happen before on my old VW Rabbit during a camping trip. But it could also fail at 75 mph on the freeway, and the end-result of that sort of failure could be tragic. Just b/c you hear clicking during a sharp turn doesn’t automatically imply the CV joint is the cause of course, but there’s a good chance that’s what it is. If your shop diagnoses the problem as a CV joint failing, that’s not a big deal. It’s a routine repair, happens to all econobox cars. It’s very easy for a shop to replace the broken CV joint with a new one. Usually this is done by replacing the entire axle half-shaft, which is sort of a steel rod with two flexible joints affair between the transmission and the wheel. That method replaces the axle shaft, the inner CV joint, and the outer CV joint, all with new rubber boots, and with that the car is good to go. It’s about a 2 1/2 hour job and the oem part is around $550. Remanufactured parts are less expensive. You don’t need a dealership for this job, most any well-recommended independent shop can do it, usually for less labor $$$ than a dealership.

I’ve always treated the CV joints as preventative maintenance items on both of my CV jointed cars, late 70’s Rabbit and early 90’s Corolla. Every 3 years or so I remove one axle shaft, take the two joints apart and clean them, replace w/new lube, and maybe install a new boot or two. 3 years later I do the same for the other axle shaft. This job isn’t as easy on newer cars as the CV joints often aren’t designed to be easily taken apart these days. I guess that’s the reason the standard procedure seems to be to run the CV joints until they fail, then just replace the entire axle assembly. That’s a pretty good strategy too.

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Who knows how long it will last? But yeah you just replace the whole half axle. When the joint does go though, the car will not move so that is the risk depending on where the car is when it stops going. I had one go out on my 50 mile commute to work one morning. I was getting a vibration. Made it to my parking stall but when I put it in reverse to make the turn, the ball bearings fell out and had to push it the rest of the way into my stall. I always suspected though that I cracked the race or something a while before that making a hard right turn. If you don’t mind the car stalling, no big deal. But then again when it stalls, you either have to fix it there or tow it or sell it.

Just thanking you people for solidifying what I was wishing that I did not have to believe. The half-axle was replaced.

And the front brake pads were replaced. And the A/C compressor and some other A/C parts.

All in all, likely more money than should have been spent, but the family is too busy to shop for a replacement now. However, now they should be able to get another couple of years out of this car.

Glad you got your CV joints fixed, and Corolla rolling smoothly again. 2008 Corolla? Barely broken in.