It might seem strange to think that a small rubber boot, if neglected, can lead to your Volkswagen being unable to effectively transmit power from the transmission to the driven wheels, but it is true! Primarily used in Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) vehicles, Constant Velocity (CV) joints ensure the power generated from the engine to the transmission reaches the driven wheels, letting the car move.
CV joints are protected by something called a half-shaft boot, which is generally a lubricated piece of rubber. If the boot is damaged, the grease might leak while dirt and debris accumulate around the joint itself, leading to potential failure. Regular inspection of the CV joints is needed to ensure the boots are not damaged. There are four in a FWD Volkswagen, two outer and two inner joints, which are located under the front of the vehicle.
If damage to the boots occurs, and the CV joints are no longer properly protected, they also become susceptible to damage and possible failure. You depend on these joints being shielded from the elements and road hazards in order to function properly and keep you safe on the road.
Let’s go over signs and causes of half-shaft boot failure so you know what to do if you happen to notice anything off with your Volkswagen’s driving.
Reasons for Half-Shaft Boot Failure and Their Symptoms
Rubber deteriorates over time naturally, so general wear and tear can be the cause of half-shaft boot failure. This is why it is important to get your CV joints and boots regularly inspected so any damage or wear can be addressed before problems emerge. The process of wear can be accelerated by driving in particularly rough conditions, driving on harsh roads, and hitting potholes often.
Some of the symptoms you should watch out for include:
- Grease leak: The grease within the boot might leak if damage is sustained. It is likely to fall upon other components under your Volkswagen, so is not likely to be noticed when you walk outside to your car. It is something most likely to be found when the car is raised. Do not attempt to jack up your vehicle on your own unless you have the proper equipment and training. It is a dangerous activity if you are unsure how to lift a vehicle properly and keep it above ground.
- Clicking noises: Upon turning your vehicle, you might hear a clicking sound. This is due to the CV joint being loose, which is often due to the half-shaft boot wearing out/being damaged. Debris will get into the boot and can cause damage to the CV joint itself.
- Vibration: When the half-shaft boot is damaged and debris gets into the CV joint, along with moisture, you might notice a vibration when driving.
The above signs do point to half-shaft boot trouble, but odd noises and vibrations when driving are also signs of other possible issues. For example, this can signify worn out tires, the need for wheel alignments, or suspension trouble. So it is important to inform your mechanic of everything you have noticed so they can perform an inspection fully informed. From there, they can assess your vehicle and provide the correct diagnosis so the right repairs can be done.
Auto Assets for Your Volkswagen’s Maintenance, Service, and Repair Needs
We are the preferred European vehicle service destination for over 30 years in Columbus, Dublin, New Albany, Worthington, and Powell, OH. Auto Assets is dedicated to providing high quality service for all your European vehicle’s needs, including expertise in Volkswagens. Our qualified technicians work with the latest equipment in our large garage with 11 service bays, providing high-quality and quick service.
We provide both loaner cars and shuttle services so you are not hindered by having your car in our shop. In fact, we are so committed to customer care that we even offer massages from massage therapists. Note: advanced appointment is required.
Please call us to schedule an appointment at 614-793-1050. Our address is 356 W Olentangy St, Powell, OH 43065, and we are open from Monday through Friday, 8AM to 6PM, and on Saturday from 9AM to 4PM. We look forward to serving you!
* Volkswagen Car image credit goes to: Neydtstock.