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Car Clicking Noise, What Is It? 

by Eddie Carrara

Car clicking noise while turning is very common in front wheel drive vehicles, in fact, at one point in my automotive career, I was fixing this noise on several different cars per day. A clicking noise while turning in a front wheel drive car is usually caused by damaged or worn CV joints. CV joints are mounted on each end of a front axle, they transfer power to the wheels from the transmission. 

The CV joint allows flexibility in each end of the axle shaft as the vehicle is going down the road.  A CV joint on a car is similar to the ankle and wrist on the human body.  The CV joint is what allows movement at each end of the axle shaft while the suspension is moving up and down and the wheels are turning in either direction.

Imagine trying to walk with ankles that are ridged and had no flexibility, or try doing anything with your hands if your wrists were stiff.  Your wrists and ankles allow movement in any direction to the hands and feet, if you didn't have ankles and wrist, eventually you would end up braking your arm or leg, it's the same with axles, if you didn't have a CV joint at each end, the axle would brake because there is no flexibility.


What Do the Letters CV Stand For?

CV are initials, it stands for "Constant Velocity," no matter what angle the axle is at, it will supply the same amount of force to the wheel from the transmission, without any extra energy from the engine. A CV joint consist of ball bearings mounted on an axis or wrapped in a cage, assembled at the end of a shaft (axle).  A large rubber boot completely seals the CV joint from external elements, (moisture, and dirt) and seals in axle grease.


When Do You Change CV Joint Grease?

The grease that is inside the CV joint is permanent grease, there is no reason to replace the grease inside a CV joint unless the joint has been exposed to the elements.  The joint could become exposed to the elements if the boot rips open or if the boot becomes punctured from debris or human error.  Also, the boots bands can become loose over time and could leak grease.

At this point, if the CV grease leak is caught in time, and the joint is not making the clicking noise, it is possible to replace the boots and bands, repack the joint with new grease, and extend the life of the joint for another 100k miles, but only if the CV joint is not making a clicking noise.


If You Plan on Replacing a CV Joint, most Likely You Will Need to Remove a Ball Joint From a Control Arm, Here's How

A Car Clicking Noise, Equals CV Joint Failure

A car clicking noise from the front of the vehicle, while turning and accelerating, is caused by CV joint failure. Once the joint is making noise, you cannot add grease to the damaged joint and make the noise go away,  the CV joint needs to be replaced.  It is possible to clean the debris out of the CV joint, and repack it with new grease to slow the destruction of the joint, but the noise will never go away and eventually you will need to replace the CV joint.

If you have a question about a noise in your vehicle, leave it in the comment box below, and follow me on Facebook.


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Eddie Carrara 

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