Without two operational axles, your car won’t be going much of anywhere. They’re what transfers power to the wheels from the transmission (in a front-wheel drive setup) or the differential (in a rear-wheel drive system). If one of your axles is broken, do not drive the car. It’s not safe.

If you notice a bumping, clicking or grinding noise when going into turns, your axle isn’t broken yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Actually, the problem here is most likely a failing CV joint. If the boot that protects the joint is damaged and the grease leaks out, dirt and debris will get in. Combined with the lack of lubrication from not enough grease, the joint will eventually tear itself apart.

If your axles are failing, you’ll still technically be able to drive your car. This is very risky, though, as they could completely fail at any point and is not recommended at all. When your axle fails, it’s possible that you’ll lose control of the car, possibly causing an accident or crashing. It’s a far better choice to have the problem diagnosed and repaired now, rather than trusting to chance.

If you suspect that your axles are about to break, time is of the essence. Once broken completely, your car won’t move, and if they break while you’re driving, it could cause a serious accident. It is recommended to have a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, diagnose your vehicle and assist you with an axle replacement if required.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is It Safe to Drive With a Broken Axle? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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