The Average Cost for Replacing a CV Axle Is $137 to $672 Depending on if You Go to the Mechanic or DIY.
This price range is based on national averages for all vehicles and does not factor in taxes, fees, or your particular make and model. Related repairs or maintenance, such as brake pads and rotors, may also be needed, and are easy to do at the same time. If you’re considering hiring a professional, we recommend reading our guide on how much it can cost to replace your car’s brake pads and rotors.
For a more accurate estimate based on your make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
Cost at the Mechanic: $237 to $672
- Parts: $100 to $500
- Labor: $137 to $172
Replacing a CV axle is a maintenance item that usually takes between one and a half to three hours to complete, depending on the vehicle and if other repairs are needed. A CV axle typically lasts for 70,000 to 130,000 miles, but the axles should be inspected for damage regularly. A torn boot, for example, allows grease to escape the CV joint it protects, significantly shortening the axle’s lifespan. Unlike tires, it is acceptable to replace only the one failed CV axle rather than both (or all four on an all-wheel-drive car) at the same time, keeping the cost of this repair down.
Cost to DIY: $100 to $500
- DIY Difficulty Level: Intermediate
- Parts Needed:
You can reduce the cost to replace a CV axle by doing this job yourself. It typically involves partially disconnecting the wheel hub from the suspension, which allows it to move beyond its normal range of motion so that you can remove the outer end of the axle. The inner end typically clips or bolts to the transmission or differential, depending on the vehicle. It’s not as simple as rotating your tires, but should be well within the capabilities of a DIYer willing to get their hands a little dirty. Not to worry, it ranks #23 on our list of 50 simple car repairs you can do at home as a DIY beginner.
What Is a CV Axle?
The axle is what connects your transmission to the drive wheels, enabling them to propel your car. “CV” stands for “constant velocity.” A CV axle contains CV joints, which enable the front wheels to turn from side to side while sending power to the wheels. These joints are inside the large rubber boots you see, which keep them protected from the elements. Sometimes rear or all-wheel-drive cars use CV axles in the back as well, since they also allow the wheels to move up and down freely with the suspension. CV joints wear out over time, which means the CV axle needs occasional replacement.
What Does Replacing a CV Axle Include?
To replace a CV axle, parts of the suspension, such as the ball joint, tie rod, or struts, need to be disconnected. This lets the wheel hub move farther than normal and allows the outer end of the CV axle to be removed from it. This is a good time to inspect all of these other components for wear or damage and replace them at the same time if necessary.
The inner end of the CV axle attaches to the transmission or differential either with bolts or by friction, depending on the car. Typically there is nothing more to inspect or replace here.
What Happens If You Don’t Replace a CV Axle?
A bad CV joint will slowly begin to come loose. This will cause a vibration in the corner of the car where it’s located, becoming more intense the faster you go. If you let it go too long, the joint can break. The loose axle can cause further damage to parts of the body and suspension that it strikes while spinning around uncontrollably. To avoid problems like this, we recommend that you learn about the four most common symptoms of a bad CV axle here.
How Often to Replace a CV Axle
While CV axles are a regular wear item, they are typically not listed in the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. They can last more than 100,000 miles, but tears in the rubber boots around the CV joints can let dirt in and let grease escape, causing them to wear out far more quickly. Learn the fundamentals of car maintenance by reading our top tips on this detailed guide.
Read the next section on common symptoms to know when you need to replace a CV axle. Unlike tires, you don’t need to replace both sides (or all four if you have that many) at the same time, only when one is worn out. Though if one needs replacement, it’s a good idea to check your other CV axles for torn boots or other signs that they will need to be replaced soon as well.
Common Symptoms You Need to Replace a CV Axle
- A clicking sound that gets faster or slower with changes in speed
- A vibration in one corner of your car
- Grease marks inside your wheel well, engine bay, or under your car from a torn CV boot
Related Maintenance Services
The following services are commonly performed with CV axles:
- Ball joints
- Tie rod ends
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Recovering autocross and track day enthusiast. Once turned a VW Jetta into a pickup truck. Lives in a van down by the river. Dream car: 2001 Subaru WRC rally car.