CV Boot Torn

Q: I recently had my oil changed at a quick lube shop and they told me that my CV boots are torn. The car still drives fine. Do I need to replace just the boots? How long can I drive my vehicle with a torn CV boot?

A: A torn CV (Constant Velocity) boot will provide dirt and moisture access to the CV joint and will allow grease, packed around the joint for lubrication, to escape. The longer the boot remains torn, the more likely your CV joint will fail. It really depends on how long the boots have been torn and whether or not the joints are damaged. The boots are designed to keep dirt and debris out of the joints and hold grease in the joints. If the joints are not damaged, the boots can be replaced and grease repacked. If you continue to drive the vehicle, the CV joints will continue to lose grease and become damaged. If the joints are already damaged you can have the joints replaced or each (driver’s and passenger’s) shaft replaced. The shaft, also called a CV half-shaft, comes with the inboard and outboard joints and boots as a complete unit. Although you may be able to drive for sometime before the joint breaks, the sooner you get a new CV boot the better. It is much less expensive to replace a CV boot than the whole CV joint or shaft. Normally you will begin to hear a CV joint click as it wears. A tow is required when a CV joint breaks.