Can you drive a car with a broken axle?

uncovered wheel and axle

Getting your car down the road

Before we answer that question, let’s discuss what an axle is, what it means when it’s broken and why front axle replacement is so important. Just as the brakes, engine, and steering wheel are all a crucial part of your car, so is the front axle.

The axle is a bar, shaft, or steel rod, that connects the wheels to the car and holds the car’s weight up. Without the front axle, the wheels can’t move. So, when it is broken, it needs a front axle replacement for the car to be drivable again.

What are signs of a bad axle?

Overloading the vehicle, a bad carrier bearing or driving through a deep pothole are some things that can break a car axle. Most cars today have constant velocity axles, also referred to as CV axles, for the drivetrain component. These axles transfer power from the differential and transmission to the wheels. When all of this works correctly, the car can move forward.

One sign that you may have a bad or broken axle would be is visible grease on the tire’s inside edge or along the car’s underside. This is typically from a grease leaking from a torn boot that fits around the constant velocity axle. Once that boot is torn, the more the car is driven, it will collect debris, dirt, and dust. After some time, the joint is damaged and will need replacing along with the need for a front axle replacement.

What does a bad front axle sound like?

A bad axle will have a rumbling sound and/or a vibration as you speed up. Or while turning a corner, if you hear loud banging or clicking while shifting gears could indicate your car needs a front axle replacement.

If these indications are ignored, and the axle breaks where it connects to the universal joint, you won’t be going any further. No matter how much gas you give the engine, the axle will not let the car move. After an axle replacement, the car will ready to go again. 

Can a bad axle cause transmission problems? 

Yes, once your car’s axle has indicated that it is going out, and you neglect to get a front axle replacement, the seals on the transmission could get damaged and begin to leak. When you can move the differential up and down inside the transmission, the transmission will need replacing and a front axle replacement too. This is one of those times that the maintenance and upkeep by the car’s owner is essential in saving you frustration, money, and time. 

How long does it take to replace an axle?

If all the tools are available and there aren’t any issues other than thefront axle replacement being done, like having trouble with any difficulty to remove axle end caps or axle nut replacement. The typical car can take approximately two hours. Some cars may have more complex issues going other than the axle replacement, which can take longer for the job to be completed.

car on hydraulic lift for repair

Does insurance cover broken axle?

First, it depends on your insurance policy and the coverage you have. Not all policies are the same, so verify what coverage you have so that you know where you stand.  If they establish the broken axle to be the consequence of an accident, like hitting a pothole, and you have full coverage that includes collision, then front axle replacement costs could be covered after you pay the deductible.

A front axle replacement is a must when your front axle has broken, but replacing the axle is not the end of this project. Anytime there is, it needs any. By changing axle without alignment, you risk breaking the axle again. 

Daily maintenance for a car entails making sure it has gas and oil, the tires are aired up, keeping it locked when not in it and wearing seatbelts when you are in it. Other maintenance includes rotating the tires, changing the oil, checking all the fluids. Then there are big issues that hopefully you never experience, like front axle replacement.

Unfortunately, those things do happen, and it is important to be aware of when it does. With a bad front axle, you should have it inspected and repaired as soon as possible.  Because if you keep driving with a weakened axle, one dip or pothole could be the end of the road for you and your car.

One way to stay on top of things like the front axle is to have the technician check it out when you get new tires or a tire rotation.  They have your car on the lift and will have easy access to see things like the axle, axle caps, and other components.  Most tire stores will offer you this information without you asking. When you need axle repair in Venice, FL, call Rolling Auto Service at 941-493-6511 today.