CV joints connect the drive-train and transfer the torque. Front-wheel drive vehicles generally have two CV joints, connecting the side shafts to the front wheels. All-wheel drive vehicles with more complex layouts can have up to seven. They must function under rotation, articulation and axial displacement to allow the vehicle’s suspension to move and the wheels to steer.
Symptoms of a Bad Universal Joint
One of the most common symptoms of developing u-joint problems is hearing a clunk while shifting the transmission into gear. A badly damaged universal joint will make a racket when moving the shifter from reverse to drive.
Although this clunk can be caused by other problems it may be a sign of excessive clearance in the u-joints. When a drive shaft flexible joint is on its way out it might make a squeak sound at lower speeds.
It can also cause vibrations at higher speeds. This may feel like a wheel balance problem. The way to tell the two problems apart is in most cases a worn u-joint will cause vibration during acceleration or deceleration. A tire balance problem will create a steady vibration regardless of throttle position.