how long can you drive on a bad cv axle
Vehicle maintenance

How Long Can You Drive on a Bad CV Axle?

If you notice faults or signs of a faulty CV axle, we don’t recommend that you keep driving with it. If you insist on doing so, you can drive on a bad axle for up to five months but this also comes with its own risks. 

Automobiles have been a huge contribution to the world today and we’ve been able to achieve a lot thanks to the introduction of this technology. We can see the importance of cars and other forms of transportation in our everyday lives and it is, without doubt, a huge convenience.

Just like we humans, cars are also prone to damage over time and need repair or servicing. While you can use your car even while it is faulty, it is not a good idea. If you’re wondering how long can you drive on a bad CV axle, we have prepared some answers that will help you. 

What is a CV Axle or Joint?

Before we start discussing how long you can drive on a faulty CV axle, there is a need to first understand what a CV axle is and how it affects the operation of your car. 

The car is made up of different parts that come together to achieve the smooth operation of your car. The key operation of your car is transporting you from one location to another and this is possible due to a combination of systems. 

Your car can move from one place to another due to the collective effort of different components like your tires, steering system, ignition, axles, and the like. The constant velocity axle, or CV axle, is one of the components that facilitate the movement of your car.

To put it in simple terms, the CV axle is a part of your car that connects your transmission to your wheels. The CV joint allows movement and rotation from your transmission to affect the axles of your wheels. The axle of your wheels in turn transfers this motion to your wheels, and you can see the result of this as motion.

If your CV axle is faulty, it goes without saying that the motion of your car will be greatly affected. It is possible for your car to still operate in the event of a faulty CV joint. After some time, your car will inevitably stop moving and this can be dangerous depending on the situation in which it stops operating.

When your CV joint gets damaged, it won’t stop working immediately. Instead, it accumulates damage and gives you signs over time until it eventually gives out. We’ll look at some of the signs that you can use to detect a faulty CV axle and also answer the question how long can you drive on a bad CV axle? 

how long can you drive on a bad cv axle

How Long Can You Drive on a Bad CV Axle?

It is our responsibility to tell you that a faulty CV axle should be changed as soon as it is detected. Still, for whatever reason, there are times when we can’t afford to make immediate repairs on our cars and we need to know how long our cars can operate with that fault. 

In the case of the CV axle, there is no set timeframe for how long you can use a bad CV joint. Although there is an average expected duration that your car should be able to operate on a faulty CV axle, this timeframe is not always accurate and can cause accidents in the future.

Most experts give a grace period of five to six months of operation with a bad CV axle. This timeframe was created after observing different cars and the time it took them to stop working completely after suffering from a damaged CV axle.

The timeframe of five to six months given is not always accurate and it is subject to a lot of external factors. The external factors in question refer to the weather and climate in your region and this is the major factor that affects how your CV axle operates. 

The position of the CV axle is important for its functionality. This also makes it susceptible to external factors.

If you’re living in an area with more sunshine than rain, it is still safe for you to stick with the five to six-month ultimatum. You can stick to this ultimatum because your CV axle is exposed to a lesser degree ofl factors like humidity which contributes a lot to the degradation of the CV axle.

However, when it is approaching the six-month limit, you should already be looking for a way to fix or entirely replace the CV axle. The axle might give up before the expiration of the six months and it is best to prepare ahead of time. 

If you live in areas with a lot of humidity like rain or snow, then the six-month limit is not the best timeframe to stick to. Due to the position of the CV axle, it is very exposed to external elements and it is very easy for humidity to reach it and cause damage.

Humidity is the main factor that damages the CV axle and constant exposure to humidity will result in quick degradation. As a result of this, it is not recommended for people driving in humid regions to wait for five to six months before doing something about their damaged CV axle. 

If you decide to wait for six months before replacing your bad CV axle, you are setting yourself up for an embarrassing time in the middle of the road. Your CV axle will most likely give out before the six months is due. 

What Happens When You Keep Driving With a Faulty CV Axle?

As important as this question is, a lot of people aren’t even bothered about it enough to pay attention to the question. We’ve been talking about driving on a bad CV axle and how long you can drive on a bad CV axle, but what happens if you decide to keep driving on the bad axle without making necessary replacements? 

To answer this question, we need to go back to what a CV axle is and how it operates in your car. We mentioned that a CV axle is a type of joint, a ball and socket joint, that connects the transmission of your car to the wheels. 

The reason why you can experience motion in your wheels is because of the CV axle. If the CV axle stops working, then your car will inevitably become immobile. 

The idea of your car stopping might not sound so serious, but imagine yourself driving through a busy intersection and your car stops moving suddenly. This is exactly what happens when your CV axle gives way and no trick or magic can get that vehicle moving again. 

Driving with a damaged CV axle is as good as risking your life and it is not a decision that you should make. Instead, we advise you to make repairs on your CV axle as soon as you discover a fault, and if it needs replacement do so. Don’t wait for your car to give out on you before doing what you need to do.

how long can you drive on a bad cv axle

Signs of a Faulty CV Axle 

Now that you know how long you can drive with a faulty CV axle, and what happens if you refuse to get a replacement when it’s due, let’s look at some of the common symptoms that you can use to tell if your CV axle is damaged. 

Loud Sounds When Steering 

If your CV axle is faulty, one way you can tell is by listening to the sounds that your car makes when you’re steering. A car with a faulty or loose CV axle tends to give out a clicking noise when you’re steering.

You will notice that your car keeps making clicking sounds and the noise keeps increasing in intensity as you increase the speed. If you notice this, you can carry out a self-test to confirm if your CV axle is bad. 

To carry out this test, start your car and put it in reverse. After putting it in reverse, turn your steering wheel and listen for any sound. If you hear a clicking sound as you turn your wheel, then it means your axle shaft or CV axle needs attention. 

Constant Vibrations 

The CV axle is in direct relation to the wheel and any damage to the CV axle will be apparent in the steering system. You can tell that your CV axle is damaged when you start feeling vibrations from your tires in your steering wheel and around your car.

Although there are other reasons why your car might be vibrating, they are all still related to your steering and wheel system. If you notice that the vibration increases with the speed of your car, then the CV axle is the main suspect. 

Greasy Tires 

The presence of grease on your tires is one of the sure indications of a faulty CV axle. The structure of the CV axle consists of a boot that is packed with grease to serve as a sort of cushion for your tires. 

If you notice oil and transmission fluid leaking around your tires, it means that the CV axle boot is damaged and the oil it contains is leaking. 


The CV axle is an important part of your car and it should be treated with utmost importance. If you notice any of the signs of a faulty axle, it is recommended that you replace it as soon as possible. 

For those asking, how long can you drive on a faulty CV axle, five to six months is the stipulated time, but this is also affected by the climatic condition of your area. To be safe, try to change your CV axle as soon as you discover a problem, and don’t wait longer than necessary. 

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