How long can you drive on a bad CV axle? A useful guide to answer all your questions

Do you hear a loud noise while turning the car? Does your vehicle vibrate more than usual? Do you often notice grease around the tires? If any of the questions ring a bell to you, then your vehicle might have a bad or faulty CV axle.


Driving a vehicle with a bad CV axle might not be a huge factor of risk, it can get worse over time and make your vehicle completely immovable at a point.


If you are wondering – then how long can you drive on a bad CV axle? We are going to answer your question with our useful guide. If you want to learn more about the CV axle issue, stick to the end!

What is a CV axle?

The CV axles, also known as half-shafts, supply engine power to the car wheels. More simply put, when you turn on the engine, it spins the CV axles. They are connected to the wheels. As a result, the wheels spin as well making your vehicle move forward.

What are the signs of a bad CV axle?

A CV axle features a complex joint. It ensures a smooth power supply even when the front wheels spin to steer or take a turn on a tricky lane. However, the joint can wear out over time causing damage, which can lead to a faulty CV axle.


Here are a few warning signs that will tell you if the CV axles in your car need to be replaced as soon as possible.

  • Clicking noise

If you hear a loud clicking sound every time you turn on the engine, it may be pointing out towards a damaged CV axle. As CV axles wear out, they get loosened. As a result, they make such a clicking sound. The noise tends to get louder as you increase the vehicle’s speed. You will also hear the clicking sound whenever the vehicle takes turns on the road.

The constant loud clicking sound is a prime indicator of a damaged CV axle.

  • Unusual vibration

If you feel excessive vibration while driving, it can be another impact of a damaged CV joint. How to be sure whether the CV axle is the reason behind that or something else? Notice if the vibration increases as you increase the speed of your vehicle. If yes, the CV axles might need replacement.


If you are wondering – how a bad CV axle causes the vibration? A broken CV axle or half-shaft fails to get balanced and starts vibrating as you run the engine.

  • Greasy wheels

If you notice grease on the edges of the tires of your vehicle, do not ignore the sign. In any vehicle, the CV axle features boots that hold the lubricating grease. 


Grease usually gets on tires when there is a boot leak. As this happens, debris enters the CV axles. CV axles often get clogged from the debris and eventually get damaged. CV axle boot leak can also lead to a CV joint failure.

How long can you drive on a bad CV axle?

Now that you know the common signs of a bad CV axle, you can easily detect whether the CV axles of your vehicle are damaged or not. And with that, the question of the hour arises – how long can you drive on a bad CV axle


The answer might vary based on the type and quality of CV axles. However, the average durability of a bad CV axle is around 5-6 months. Let me warn you if you are planning on extending the deadline! If left unattended, damaged CV axles can tamper with the other parts of the vehicle and may lead to unpleasant incidents. So, stop postponing the check-up for your UTV/ATV and replace the CV axles if they are damaged already.

What happens if CV axles fail while driving?

The CV axles of a car are connected to the wheels by supplying power from the engine to them. So, when CV axles fail while driving, one wheel might lose the supply of power. As a result, your car will begin to derail from the track and might get pulled to one side of the track. If the joint of the CV axles ends up breaking, the wheels connected to it will no longer spin. As a result, even when you turn on the engine, the vehicle will not move. 


If you face such a situation, try to steer the car slowly to one side of the road and then call a tow truck. Now if you do not want to end up in such a situation, look for the warning signs of a bad CV axle before it is too late! 

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How long will a CV joint last after the vehicle starts making noise?

Answer: The durability of a damaged CV joint is around five to six months at best. If you try to stretch the deadline, it can result in a CV joint failure. A CV joint failure will make your car entirely immovable. So, it is better if you repair or replace the CV axle before reaching six months.

  • What is the difference between bad CV axles and bad wheel bearings?

Answer: In the case of a bad CV joint, you will hear a rhythmic clicking noise as you turn on the engine and steer the car. The rhythmic sound keeps increasing as you speed up. On the other hand, bad bearings create a sporadic loud noise and it stops when the bearings fail entirely.

  • Can a bad CV axle damage the transmission?

Answer: Yes, there’s a possibility that it can happen. If you keep driving on a damaged CV axle, it can break and leave the driveshaft off-center. As a result, the power from the engine will not be supplied to the wheels properly. Hence, a bad CV axle can damage the transmission of your vehicle.

Final Words

If you have made it this far, you must have found the answers to your questions. We hope our article has helped you in identifying the signs. Remember the saying –  “Better safe than sorry” and take necessary steps while there’s time.

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