Thursday, December 15, 2011

What's the Difference Between a CV Axle and a Drive Axle?

The answer to that question is “nothing.” Nothing is different between a CV Axle and a Drive Axle.  They are the same part, but referred to by two different names.  THE END. Obviously I am joking, this is not the end. Otherwise this would set a record for the shortest blog entry of all time.  Now, I do like to set records but I enjoy writing more, so I am going to discuss what a CV Axle actually does. 

CV Axles are typically found in modern front wheel drive vehicles. They can also be found on the back of rear wheel or all-wheel drive cars that have independent suspension. “CV” stands for constant velocity and “axle” actually stands for axle.  It does not represent a cool acronym, such as Awesome X-men Laser Elites, but I am sure that will be a horrible movie soon.  The basic purpose of a CV Axle is to transfer power from the transmission (or differential) directly to the wheels.  A lot of people refer to the Drive Axle as the CV Axle because it is attached to the wheel by the CV joint.  

The first thing to go bad on a drive axle is usually the boot.  If you think you might be having issues with yours, there is a simple test.  Go to an empty parking lot, such as a vacant Saturn Dealership, and start driving in really tight circles.  If you can hear a clicking noise than you have some problems.  Crawl under your vehicle and look for any cracks in the boot.  Cracks are easier to spot when you have the wheels turned all the way to the left or the right.  If the boots have already split it will be obvious because it would have flung grease all over the place.  Once the grease is out, dirt and road grime creep inside and you got yourself a bad CV Joint. The outer joints usually fail first because they turn at the sharpest angle.  The sharper the angle the more strain.
THE END… I’m not kidding this time.

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