Could my driving style cause CV joints to fail?
My 1992 Mazda Protege is currently in the shop having its CV joints replaced. This expensive repair happens eventually to every car I own. So the question is, is it me?
Does my driving style have anything to do with how quickly a CV joint wears out? -- Bonnie
RAY: It can. We wrote a little pamphlet called Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even Knowing It (for a copy, send $3 and a self-addressed, stamped --
55 cents -- No. 10 envelope to Ruin, PO Box 6420, Riverton, NJ 08077-6420). And one of the ways you can ruin your car is with "jack-rabbit starts."
TOM: Basically, all of the components of your drivetrain are attached to one another, and if you slam your foot on the gas, it starts a chain reaction in which each part
slams into the next one. Eventually, the CV (which stands for "constant velocity") joints get slammed, too. (They transfer power from the transmission to the axles and
from the axles to the wheels.) And the harder and more often you slam parts together, the sooner they wear out.
RAY: But even if you're not driving the car hard, Bonnie, you may be inadvertently hastening the destruction of your CV joints. The CV joints are covered and
protected by rubber boots called -- isn't this clever -- CV boots! They keep the grime and mud out, and keep the life-giving grease in.
TOM: The problem is that those boots can dry out and crack, or they can get torn by gravel and road debris. If you catch a bad boot in time, before the grease has
drained out, you can keep the joint from being damaged. But if you drive around for a long time with a torn or cracked boot, the life of your CV joint will certainly be
RAY: So if you're driving like a knucklehead, stop doing that, Bonnie. And have your mechanic inspect your CV boots every six months or so during your regular oil
change. You'll find that replacing boots on every car you own is a lot cheaper than replacing joints.