After 90k miles, paying to replace CV boots is about right.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1996

Dear Tom and Ray:

I've talked to several Honda Accord owners who, like me, have had to
replace cracked CV joint boots around 90,000 miles -- at great expense. If
ozone and the weather make the rubber boot brittle and it cracks, then why
doesn't the manufacturer recommend spraying vinyl/rubber protectant on them
at every oil change? Better yet, why not design a two-layered boot with a
sacrificial outer layer? Seems like everything else underneath the car is
coated to protect it from the elements. -- Stuart

TOM: Weather and ground-level ozone are only part of the problem, Stuart.
The bigger factors are 1) the steepness of the angle between the engine and
the wheel (which differs from car to car) and 2) Use. Just driving the car
wears out the CV boots. Every time you turn the steering wheel those rubber
boots are getting stretched and pulled and twisted.

RAY: We recommend that you have them visually inspected on a regular basis,
so that they can be replaced before they crack. Once they crack, dirt and
grit can get inside and ruin the joint itself, and THAT gets really

TOM: But there have been improvements in CV boots over the years, Stuart.
And in my opinion, paying a few hundred bucks to replace them after 90,000
miles is not that bad. No doubt they could improve them more, and I'm sure
they will over time, but I'd hardly put this at the top of the world's list
of urgent engineering priorities.

RAY: Yeah. I'd certainly put it below home hot-water heaters. When they
break after three years, your basement floods. And even if you get a free
one under warranty, the plumber charges you $300 to install it! Now that's
a serious problem, Stuart!

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