The Average Cost for a U-Joint Replacement Is Between $240 and $288 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. For a more accurate estimate based on your make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
Get a More Accurate Estimate for Your U-joint Replacement Using RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator:
Cost at the Mechanic: $240 to $288
- Parts: $131 to $151
- Labor: $108 to $137
Be sure to shop around for a quality mechanic who doesn’t charge you an arm and a leg per hour of labor. Replacing a vehicle’s U-joint can take up to two hours. U-joints are designed to last a long time, but like your vehicle’s other components, they won’t last forever. You should expect to get about 100,000 miles out of your vehicle’s U-joints unless they’ve been through some unusual beatings.
Cost to DIY: $131 to $151
- Difficulty Level: Beginner
- Parts Needed:
Though this is a beginner-friendly maintenance task that you can take on yourself in as little as an hour, the cost of the tools needed to take on the job is likely more than the cost of the labor it would take to simply take your vehicle into the shop. However, if you already have the tools, or want to stock your garage with the tools necessary to work on your vehicles, you can save on the cost of labor by taking on this job yourself. Remember to always read your vehicle’s owner’s manual for guidance before you start taking your vehicle apart.
What Is a U-Joint?
The “U’ in “U-joint” stands for “universal.” These components play an important role in your vehicle’s driveshaft. You’ll see U-joints in vehicles with rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive systems. In vehicles with rear-wheel-drive systems, you’ll find two u-joints on the driveline: one near the rear differential and one closer to the engine. Four-wheel-drive vehicles have more U-joints.
The U-joint itself is a four-way hinge that allows the driveshaft to rotate even while at a slight angle. The U-joint is filled with needle bearings covered by a cap, and the U-joints are usually serviceable via grease fittings. Properly maintained U-joints are imperative to keep your driveshaft(s) from breaking when your vehicle is driving and your suspension is flexing.
What Does a U-Joint Replacement Include?
The U-joint replacement process includes disconnecting the driveshaft, removing retaining clips, and sliding the U-joint out of the yokes. Installation of the new U-joint follows the reverse procedure. After everything is reconnected, you or the mechanic should test your vehicle to make sure the joint is securely in place. Any symptoms that were happening that the U-joints were getting the blame for should either be gone or investigated if they persist. As mentioned above, replacing the U-joints should take between one to two hours to complete depending on how many U-joints and driveshafts your vehicle has.
What Happens if You Don’t Get Your U-Joint Replaced?
Over time, without proper care and replacement, the grease in your vehicle’s U-joints can leak out, causing the bearings of the U-joint to squeal at lower speeds. The bearings may be so worn down that your driveshaft is moving more than it’s supposed to, which can cause driveline vibrations that you can feel through the seat or steering wheel. If you reach this point and let the problem persist, the driveshaft can damage other parts of your vehicle including the transmission and axle differential. If it does damage to either of these components, you could be looking at a serious repair bill.
Eventually, your vehicle will simply stop being able to move. A bad U-joint can disconnect the drivetrain, leaving you and your vehicle stuck on the side of the road. This is a problem that you want to take care of sooner rather than later so that you don’t end up paying even more to repair your vehicle.
How Often To Replace Your U-Joints
U-joints are designed to last a long time, but they still go through the wear and tear that most vehicle components go through. Your vehicle’s U-joints should last for longer than 100,000 miles. However, if you often tow heavy loads or off-road over rocky terrains, you may want to check your U-joints more often; this is especailly true for modified vehicles that have been lifted or lowered. Make sure your U-joints are properly maintained to get the longest service life out of them. If your U-joints are getting close to or past that 100,000-mile mark, ask your mechanic to inspect them to see if they’re still up for the job.
Aside from collisions, other factors that might shorten the life of your vehicle’s U-joints include general lack of maintenance and the rubber lip seal dry rotting. Always remember to check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for more precise information and recommendations about replacing your U-joints and other vehicle components.
Common Symptoms You Need To Replace Your U-Joint
If you notice any of the symptoms below, you may be dealing with a bad U-joint. Be on the lookout for these symptoms and take your vehicle in to the shop or garage as soon as you notice them to get a diagnosis.
- Vibrations at higher speeds
- Clunking or squeaking sounds while you’re driving or shifting into reverse
- Leaking transmission fluid
- Inability to accelerate due to driveshaft disconnection
Related Maintenance Services
The following services are commonly performed with U-joint replacements:
Never Miss Important Maintenance Again With FIXD
Get the FIXD Sensor and free app today for a custom maintenance schedule based on your make, model, and mileage. FIXD sends automated maintenance alerts right to your phone so you never forget oil changes, tire rotations, brake pad replacements, and more. It even tracks tire, wiper, and battery life to keep your car running smoothly. Get FIXD today and take the stress out of car care. It’s that simple.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.