Your vehicle’s axel is an important part of your choice of automotive transport since it not only supports the weight of passengers and cargo but also allows the wheels to move and function properly.
However, over time it can start to show considerable wear and tear that may require the services of an axle doctor, otherwise, you can seriously risk being injured or involved in a fatal accident. This is why it is absolutely necessary that you keep a maintenance schedule in place to keep things from falling apart at the wrong time. Here is a quick guide to help you figure out what to do and avoid dire consequences.
Spotting Your Axle’s Disrepair
While the axles of your cars are made to be robust in order to sustain tremendous weight, there is no question that they can fall into disrepair and this may lead to the need for a replacement. Some signs include:
- A dead giveaway is when you put your car into gear and you hear a sudden clunking sound.
- Extra grease leaking from the inside tire side or side wheel is an indication of a leaking axle boot.
- When you encounter unusual vibrations throughout the vehicle while braking, driving, or turning.
- Your car may sound like it’s running fine but it simply wouldn’t move.
A broken axle is without a doubt a very grim problem and should never be ignored for the sake of your safety, the safety of others, and the overall condition of your vehicle. It is undeniably crucial that you address the situation as soon as possible by taking your vehicle to a dependable mechanic.
Reasons Why an Axle Breaks Down
Your car’s axle is a vital part that keeps your car moving seamlessly and your vehicle comprises several dynamic parts that work in symphony. Hence, it is possible that many of us drive without having to think about how car mechanics work or how it operates. Nevertheless, the axles are located below the car’s surface and there can be many factors that can cause damage to it such as:
- Accidents or any direct blow from either the back or front of the vehicle can injure the axle.
- Constant velocity joints that connect the transmission to the vehicle’s driveshaft are more prone to harm as torque gets transferred through this location.
- Irregular speed bumps and humps which slow down your car and directly hit your car damaging the axle.
- Rusting is a natural aging process and its presence may cause severe loss to the axle’s load-bearing capacity and strength.
Inspecting Your Vehicle’s Axel
While most mechanics will inspect your vehicle’s axles whenever you bring in your car, you can also conduct an inspection by yourself. This doesn’t require any specific tools, instead, you will just need typical knowledge to know what you have to look for. All you need to do is get underneath your vehicle by lifting it up off the ground.
Here you should use car jacks or vehicle ramps to do this. You may find grease puddles underneath the CV joints if the rubber covers have broken. As these joints need plenty of lubrication to keep the metal parts moving effectively, any breakage should be given plenty of attention. Not only is the grease given an escape route, but dirt and water can also enter the gap and damage the mechanics joint.
The easiest part of the inspection is to take a close look a the boot which has ribs in it to allow it to flex and move with the vehicle. You should check for holes, splits, or grease that is leaking. Next, you should inspect the shaft for any dents, dings, or nicks, as well as if there are any signs that anything is rubbing on it. It is also recommended that you check the clamps that connect the boots to the shaft for leakage.
Suggestions and Tips for Axle Maintenance
The complexity of the axle itself can make the maintenance of the axle somewhat difficult. Nevertheless, a straight axle will require periodic cleaning and repacking of wheel bearings. This is usually every 2 years or 40,000 kilometers, whichever comes first. For a drive axle on the other hand the axle lube level should be checked with every oil change.
For a pickup or an SUV that carries heavier loads than usual, you should consider having the axle lube changed at least once a year. In colder climates, axle lube should be changed to a synthetic type which is easier to flow in harsher conditions and also improves lubrication. However if you ever come across differential problems like clunking sound noises, high-pitch screeches when accelerating/decelerating, or howling sound when shifting between gears, always consider the services of a qualified professional.
I would like to conclude this post by mentioning that regular axle inspection should be taken as a critical part of car maintenance. If you spot troubles early on it can help you to avoid expensive repairs in the future. The cost of axle repair can increase drastically if you overlook their health conditions and continue to drive and use the vehicle without proper care.