Should I replace u joint?

I have a 2007 Sequoia with 173k miles. There’s a clunk when shifting into drive or reverse. Two mechanics have said it’s the u joint, but don’t worry about it. The last one said there’s usually a little play, but that the sound is normal on an older vehicle.

Are they right? I’m skeptical, but I’m far from an expert.

I’d replace it, if only to get rid of the noise and worry. Noises are your vehicle’s way of saying ‘fix me!’


You can ignore it and wait til something like this happens and you end up with a much larger repair bill.

I wouldn’t take my vehicle back to any one of these so-called mechanics.



Any mechanic that said a little play in a universal joint is normal should be replaced.


Many moons ago driving to work in Minneapolis, there was a Chrysler with the rear end up in the air, held in place by the broken drive shaft. Just like a pole vault. I guess have a rope along so you can repel to the ground. A lot of cars have a brace across in case the joint breaks, but yeah play in the shaft means shot bearings.

You beat me to it. When I was in elementary school, the father of one of my classmates decided that he could ignore the ominous sounds of a u-joint that was on its last legs. When the front u-joint failed–at high speed–on the NJ Turnpike, his car essentially pole-vaulted.

In addition to the cost of the repairs, he had to pay for a tow, and a few weeks later he got a bill in the mail from the Turnpike Authority for the cost of repairing the damage that he had caused to the roadway. IIRC, he had to pony-up more for the road repair than he paid for the u-joint replacement.


Individual U-joints shouldn’t have any noticeable play when twisting on them hands on each side/ The overall linkage from the transmission output, through the driveshaft, then differential, and then axle shaft will normally have some play though. I did that measurement on my truck’s rear wheels recently, around 4 degrees of play at the wheel as I recall.

Common causes for these sorts of clunks

  • idle rpm too high
  • worn u-joint
  • 2 part driveshaft needs its splines to be re-lubed
  • suspension system , especially the springs & spring mounts

It’s the U-joint? What does that mean? It’s the U-joint that has failed? It’s the U-joint that is loose?

I think you are listening to the play in the rear differential, it’s the backlash in the differential, this is normal.

Did the mechanics just look under the vehicle or did they actually get completely under the vehicle and check it out??