I need to replace my 2001 Subaru Forester’s inner and outer front CV boots and my mechanic said I should go ahead and buy the axles too because if he gets under there to replace the boots he might find that the axles are broke, too. If the axles are bad, wouldn’t the steering be off (or would the wheels fall off?) I just don’t want to pay for more than I need. Thanks bunches!
The purpose of the axle boots is to keep dirt and grit from contaminating the CV joints. If the axle boots were cracked/damaged/severed for only a few weeks, the CV joints might be OK. On the other hand, since you probably don’t know how long you were driving with damaged axle boots, it is very possible/likely that the CV joints have been damaged. The labor is essentially the same whether one is replacing only the boots or if one is replacing the axle with the CV joints. And, your Forester is now at least 8 years old, so if those CV joints start acting up in a few months, you would pay essentially the same labor cost for a second time. If I were you, I would go ahead and replace the axles, but I tend to be more proactive than most people.
If the CV joints are bad, your steering would feel essentially normal. At their extreme, when CV joints are failing, they will make noises–usually a clicking noise when on turns.
The axles should not be broken. If they were you would not be able to drive the car.
It’s usually simpler and less labor intensive to replace the entire axle assembly. This means an axle with a CV joint at each end. They come pre-lubricated and assembled. The mechanic just removes the old axle and installs the new one.
I prefer this approach to removing the axle, removing the joints from the axle, disassembling the joints, inspecting and lubricating the joints, installing new boots, installing the joints, and finally putting the axle back on the car.
Thank you so much. I appreciate your advice and will have them replaced. Wish I was a mechanic…