Car axle repair cost

The most common axle repairs ranged from $287 to $1,254 for our sample cars

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We surveyed mechanics from around the country to get real-world estimates of how much you can expect to spend repairing your axles, and average costs ranged from $287 for an axle shaft seal repair to $1,254 for a CV joint replacement.

Keep reading to learn more about how much you can expect to spend fixing an axle and how to know if your axle isn’t working correctly.


Key insights

Axle repair costs vary significantly depending on the issue that needs fixing.

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Front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles generally have higher axle repair costs. Also, nondrive axles (aka dead axles) cost less to repair than drive axles that actually make your wheels spin.

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Your car’s warranty can pay for axle repairs, so check if you’re covered before you reach for your wallet.

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How much does it cost to repair an axle?

It can be hard to estimate repair costs because the repairs you’re most likely to encounter depend on the kind of vehicle you have. “Front-wheel-drive cars are great for many things, but their CV axles and joints are expensive to repair. We do at least a few a week here at the shop,” said Jay Jindal, owner and lead mechanic at Jindal-Andre Automotive Services in Washington, D.C.

We’ve included the most common axle repairs for some sample vehicles in the table below, along with average repair costs according to the five mechanics we surveyed.

What if your axle can’t be repaired?

If you’re having axle problems, there’s a good chance you won’t need to replace the entire thing.

Jindal explained to us that repairing an axle is often all that’s needed: “We rarely replace the entire axle assembly and instead try to fix what’s wrong. Axles are durable, and they are made to be taken apart, cleaned and repaired.”

We rarely replace the entire axle assembly and instead try to fix what’s wrong. Axles are durable, and they are made to be taken apart, cleaned and repaired.”
— Jay Jindal, garage owner and lead mechanic

However, not every issue can be repaired, and some mechanics prefer to replace axles instead of doing a partial fix that may leave unseen damage behind. If you do end up needing to have your axle replaced, expect your cost to fall between $500 and $2,500.

» LEARN MORE: Car axle replacement cost

What if you have a warranty?

If your vehicle is still covered under your manufacturer's powertrain warranty, a broken axle may be covered. However, most axles do not fail on their own unless they are damaged during use (at least within the warranty period). This usually happens when drivers hit large potholes or other road debris, but that can mean they’re not eligible for warranty coverage.

Warranties only cover repairs needed due to factory defects, not accidents or road hazards. (That’s what car insurance is for.)

» MORE: Car warranty vs. car insurance

If you break your axle driving over a pothole, contact your car insurance company to see if your policy covers the damage.

If your car is old enough that its factory warranty coverage has expired, an extended warranty can help offset the cost of a broken axle and other expensive repairs.

A ConsumerAffairs reviewer from New Hampshire told us their extended warranty helped cover the cost of a problem axle: “Have been a customer for just over two months. Saved me over $600 on the repair of the axle on my 15-year-old vehicle.”

Just be aware that extended warranties don’t cover preexisting conditions. That means if your vehicle is already having axle problems, the cost of an extended warranty might not be worth it.

» MORE: What does a bumper-to-bumper warranty cover?

What is an axle?

Broadly speaking, axles are rods or shafts that help transfer power to your wheels and connect them to the rest of your vehicle. However, the exact function of your axles depends on the configuration of your car’s drivetrain.

You probably don’t need to fully understand how your drivetrain and axles work, but it can help if you know what setup your car has so that you can compare your mechanic’s estimate against the right examples. (Comparing a repair estimate for a simple, non-driven axle to an estimate for a more complicated driven axle is neither fair nor accurate.) If you want to feel confident going to the mechanic for an axle repair, spend a little time researching your car’s axles online beforehand.

What are the symptoms of a bad axle?

There are a few things that you may notice if your axle fails, but most of these issues occur when the seal or the protective covering (known as a boot) fails and allows debris to get into the axle.

  • Clicking or popping while turning: This symptom is especially common on front-wheel-drive vehicles. If you hear a distinct clicking sound when turning and accelerating, your half shaft or front-wheel drive shaft is failing. If you let this continue, the joint or axle can catastrophically fail and leave you in a bad situation.
  • Grease on the inside of wheels: If you find a bunch of grease on the inside of your car's wheels, you can bet the axle is failing. This happens when the axle seal fails, letting the grease that should be in the axle leak to the outside.
  • Vibrations or shudders: Since many things can cause a vibration, it may be difficult to know if it's an axle or another component that’s making itself known. You may want to check for any other symptoms that can help you narrow down the cause.
  • Resistance or complete stoppage: Once an axle goes bad, it often starts to resist the car moving forward. You may hit the gas and feel like there’s a weight on the car, or your car may slow down quickly when you let off the gas. If you feel this, you need to fix it ASAP because your car could quit and leave you in a dangerous spot.

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FAQ

How many axles does a car have?

It depends on the configuration of the car — some have two, while others have one. For example, a front-wheel-drive car has two axles (known as half shafts) at the front, but the rear wheels are independent and have no common axle.

What is a drive axle?

Drive axles are axles that receive power from the engine and help spin your car’s wheels.

What is a half shaft?

Half shafts are like mini-axles that send power to the front wheels from the transaxle.

Since front-wheel-drive cars have their engines and driven wheels up front, engineers created the constant velocity (CV) joint and half shaft to get power to the ground from the transaxle. This combination allows the front wheels to steer and power the car at the same time.

What causes a broken axle?

A lot of things can cause a broken axle, but some of the most common causes depend on what type of drivetrain your car has:

  • Front-wheel-drive vehicles have a rubber covering over the CV joint known as a CV boot. If the boot tears, debris from the road gets into the joint and damages both the CV joint and the half shaft.
  • On rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive vehicles, the same principle applies, but it’s usually the axle seals that fail and begin to leak fluid.

In addition to these failures, axles can also break from hitting potholes or larger accidents.

How can you prevent your axle from breaking?

There are a few ways to keep your axle from breaking or getting damaged. Avoid hitting curbs and potholes, avoid big bumps or take them slowly, and be cautious of your vehicle's weight capacity. Accidents can also cause an axle to break, so continue to drive safely. Finally, regular maintenance also helps prevent a broken axle.

Do extended car warranties cover axles?

Extended warranties cover axles if they fail on their own. However, if the axle fails due to negligence, poor maintenance or an accident, almost no warranty will cover you.

» MORE: Car warranty guide: what you need to know

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