4 Tips for Spotting Axle Damage at Auto Mechanic College

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The axles are the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to transferring power from the engine to the wheels. These complex engineering parts are connected to the transmission on front-wheel drive vehicles, and to the differential in rear-wheel drive versions. Any problems with the axel and its joints reduce the performance of the vehicle and can pose serious danger to drivers if it snaps completely.

Here we’ll take a look at the most common symptoms of axle damage. Usually it will require a CV axle replacement, which is a relatively quick solution. Overlooking the problem could eventually lead to problems with the transmission, and a much heftier repair bill for the customer. Here are four ways to know if the axle needs repair.

1. A Driver May Notice Unusual Sounds Coming from the Undercarriage

Every car owner fears the worst when they hear an unusual thud while driving. It’s even more frustrating if that noise occurs during multiple journeys. Customers often arrive at an auto garage complaining about loud noises during gear changes, acceleration, or cornering. Graduates of auto mechanic school know that axle damage may also cause the car’s performance to become more sluggish.
The axle shaft connects the joints on both ends, one of which is attached to the transmission and the other to the wheels. Malfunctioning joints come under strain and can cause the loud clunks that customers are complaining about.

A new axle that connects the wheel to the transmission
A new axle that connects the wheel to the transmission

2. Vibrations Could Be Making Car Journeys Uncomfortable

Drive any vehicle at high speeds and the car might start to vibrate. This problem can be put down to any number of factors, but it’s rarer for such discomfort to happen when driving at low speed. If an auto mechanic suspects axle damage, they often ask the driver if the car vibrates throughout a journey. If the answer is yes, then the axle is likely to need repairs. These vibrations increase during cornering too, and damage should be checked out right away. If it’s allowed to continue, then handling suffers and danger increases.

3. Look out for Broken CV Joint Covers after Auto Mechanic College

Once it’s suspected that the axle is damaged, jack up the vehicle and take a look underneath. You may see grease puddles underneath the CV joints if the rubber covers have broken. These joints need plenty of lubrication to keep the metal parts moving effectively, so any breakage should be given plenty of attention. Not only is the grease given an escape route, but water and dirt can also enter the gap and damage the mechanics of the joint. When replacing the CV axle, beware that it’s often a messy job. Transmission fluid can escape when removing the joint, so stick a drain pan underneath.

The axel joint has to be disconnected from the wheel during replacement
The axel joint has to be disconnected from the wheel during replacement

4. The Vehicle may not Move Because of Snapped Axle Joints

If the problem has been allowed to persist by the car owner, then the axle joint could completely snap, and the vehicle won’t move. As every student at auto mechanic college knows, no matter how well the engine or transmission is working, you still need an axel to transfer power to the wheels. So, if the car seems perfectly healthy but won’t move then there’s a good chance that the axle is at fault. Continued revving of the engine won’t help the situation and could end up damaging other vital car components.

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