Car Talk Service Advice: Drive Axle Boots
What is this?
This is the inspection of the rubber cover that protects the drive axle joint. It's also known as the CV (constant velocity) boot, because the drive axle joint it covers is more commonly called the CV joint.
Should I do this service when it's recommended?
Why do I have to do this?
The rubber boots degrade over time and can crack or tear open, which will expose the joint itself. Inspecting the boots will let you know right away if you have a problem, so you can replace them before damage is done to the more expensive CV joint.
What happens if I don't do this?
If the boots crack or tear open, then the grease that the boots hold in will leak out. The CV joint will then be exposed to dirt, moisture and road kill. Without the boot covering — and the grease it holds in — the joint will fail. Replacing the CV joint can cost hundreds of dollars, whereas replacing a boot costs a fraction of that amount.
|Can I Do This Myself?|
|It depends on where you rank on the Car Talk do-it-yourself scale:|
Note: You'll be more likely to see cracks in the CV boots if you turn the steering wheel all the way to each side.
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|I've successfully hung pictures around the house.|
|I've changed my own oil.|
|I've fixed things on my car that involve removing more than five bolts.|
|I've built a working nuclear reactor out of wood.|
Is there any maintenance required between intervals?
No. But it certainly doesn't hurt to check the boots more frequently.
Car Talk Tip: When you get your oil changed, ask your mechanic to check the condition of the CV boots when your car is up on the lift. It will take him less than a minute.