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CV and Drive Axles

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The two wheels in front and in back are connected together by the axle.

It acts like a central shaft, keeping the wheel positions relative to each other and to the vehicle body.

The axle has the duty to bear the weight of your vehicle (including any cargo) along with the acceleration forces between you and the ground. The wheel positions must be steady under any kind of conditions. And the axle itself is generally different based on the driving condition of your vehicle: a truck usually must be able to support heavier loads than a car.

Here is a brief description of the most common axle design:

Drive/CV Axle:

Simply put, the engine drives the axle. Typically found in front wheel drive vehicles, a drive axle is split between two half axles with differential and universal joints between them. Each half axle connects to the wheel by a third joint—the constant velocity (CV) joint—that allows the wheels to move freely. This joint allows the shaft to rotate, transmitting power at a constant speed without a significant increase in friction and heat. CV joints require regular inspection.

Check your axles: Go out to a large space (such as a parking lot), and slowly drive in tight circles. If you hear a clicking or cracking noise, you have a worn joint, and it must be repaired immediately.


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