The axles transmit power from either the transmission or the differential to the drive wheels on your car. If one of your axles is damaged, it can lead to some serious problems. Is it safe to drive with a bad axle?
While you might be able to limp away if the axle is only slightly bent, it is never a good idea to drive on a damaged axle. If the axle fails completely you can lose control of the car. Common damage to the axle include:
Leaking CV boot You’re ok for a little while, but get it fixed very soon. However, if the CV boot is blown? If the joint isn’t making noise, then you’re ok for a very short time (get it fixed immediately). If the joint is making noise, then you should have a certified mechanic come to you to get your CV boot replaced.
Leaking seals: If the problem is a leaking seal (at either the transmission or the rear differential), you might be safe driving for a little while depending on the severity of the leak. However, any leak, no matter how minor, will lower the level of fluid (transmission fluid or gear dope), which can lead to very serious damage, costing far more than you’d pay to have the axle or axle shaft seal replaced.
Accident Damage: If the axle is badly bent from being in an accident, encountering debris on the road or driving through a very deep pothole, it’s highly recommended that you have your axle assembly replaced immediately. Never drive with a badly bent axle (and try not to drive with one that has even a slight bend).
If you suspect that you have a damaged axle, make sure that you have it inspected and fixed as quickly as possible.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is it Safe to Drive With a Bad Axle? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.