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CV Boot Replacement

 
WHAT'S COVERED:

1. How to Determine the Condition of a CV Joint
2. The 3 Types of Replacement CV Boots
3. CV Boot Replacement Cost

 
 
CV BootBEFORE replacing a CV boot, you must first determine the condition of the CV joint.
 
When the grease is expelled out of a CV joint due to a damaged or torn CV boot, the joint will begin to wear much faster and will soon fail.  Once the CV joint is damaged, packing the joint with new grease and installing a new CV boot will not repair the already damaged CV joint.  The only remedy for a damaged CV joint is replacing the CV axle.  So, before repacking a CV joint with new grease and installing a new CV boot, you must first determine the condition of the CV joint.

How to Determine the Condition of a CV Joint
1. Using a bright flashlight, look inside the damaged or torn CV boot. Look closely at the CV joint - is there still some grease in the joint?
2. Firmly grasp the CV axle near the joint and attempt to move the axle back and forth and then in and out.  There should be little or no movement in any direction.
3. Drive the vehicle to an empty parking lot or any open space where you can drive in a circle without endangering yourself or others.  When safe to do so, turn the steering wheel all the way in one direction and driving in a circle.  Now, do the same thing in the opposite direction.  Did you hear a clicking or popping noise when traveling in a circle in either direction? 
 
Conclusion: If there is still some grease in the CV joint, if you felt little to no movement when attempting to move the axle by hand and if there was no clicking or popping noise when driving in a circle in either direction then the CV joint is good.  Replacing the damaged CV boot may be the appropriate repair. 

NOTE: A CV joint that is dry (no grease) but passed the movement test and driving test is also good.  However, the window of opportunity for packing the CV joint with new grease and replacing the CV boot is short.  With no grease in the joint, joint failure will occur very quickly.
   
 
 
  Types of CV Replacement Boots
   
 

There are basically three types of replacement CV boots.  These are explained as follows:

The first type is a conventional CV boot design, which requires the CV axle to be removed from the vehicle and then the CV joint to be removed from the axle before packing the joint with grease and installing the CV boot.  This is the best of the three CV boots but is also the most costly (or time consuming) to install.

The second type is a "stretch boot" design, which does not require the removal of the CV axle to install, but does require the removal of the wheel and wheel hub assembly.  With this design, the CV boot is stretched over the CV joint and is held together using a special glue or large clamps.  Because the stretch boot is a one piece boot, it may last longer than a split type boot but the downside is that installation is not as easy as the split boot design. 

The third replacement CV boot is a "split-boot" design.  Being split, this CV boot is installed by simply opening up the boot at the split and placing it over and around the CV joint. The boot uses a special glue or large clamps to seal the boot tightly around the CV joint. The split-boot design is installed without removing the wheel, hub or any other parts. Of the three boot designs, the "split-boot" is considered the weakest but is clearly the easiest and least costly boot to install.  

   
  CV Boot Replacement Cost
   
Auto repair shops and car dealership service centers do not typically replace CV boots - they will insist on installing a new CV axle whenever a CV boot and/or CV joint has failed.  The reason is that the labor cost for replacing a CV boot is more than the cost for replacing a CV axle.  The CV boot kit costs less than a CV axle but the difference is less than the labor difference.  The example below illustrates the cost difference between replacing a CV boot versus a CV axle.  The example vehicle is a 1999 Toyota Avalon.

VEHICLE: 1999 TOYOTA AVALON
REPAIR: Replace Outer CV Boot Driver's Side Axle
PARTS COST: $32
LABOR COST: 2.8 Hrs. X $85/hour = $238
TOTAL COST: $270

VS.

VEHICLE: 1999 TOYOTA AVALON
REPAIR: Replace CV Axle Driver's Side
PARTS COST: $137
LABOR COST: 1.5 Hrs. X $85/hour = $128
TOTAL COST: $265

In this example, the cost is $5 less to replace the CV axle versus just replacing the CV boot.

CV Boot Replacement Do-it-Yourself Cost

Consider the above, the only time it makes economic sense to replace a CV boot versus the CV axle is when you do the work yourself.  CV boot kits can be purchased at your local auto parts store or online. The cost for a CV boot kit can range from a low of around $8 to as much as $40, depending on the vehicle you drive and the quality of boot kit you purchase.  A CV boot kit comes with a CV Joint Boot, CV Joint Grease Pack and Glue or Clamps.
  CV Axles - Symptoms, Inspection - Replacement 
   
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