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How to tell if you have a broken axle

Axles are arguably one of the most important components of a vehicle. Without a functioning axle, you won’t be going anywhere fast.

If you’re wondering how to tell if you have a broken axle, we’ve got all the answers to ensure you are fully equipped with the right knowledge to immediately detect a broken or damaged axle.

The lowdown on axles

Axles are the stabilising rod that joins two wheels together. It is powered by the driveshaft which is connected by a rod that extends from the vehicle’s transmission and engine.

The vehicle’s engine drives the driveshaft which then turns the axles and drives the vehicle forward, backward and steers left and right.

Axles are a complex and robust device designed not only to bear the weight of the vehicle but also the passengers and luggage.

They are also designed to comply with the driver’s braking and accelerating signals and is, therefore, an incredibly important component of a vehicle.

How to tell if you have a broken axle

There are a few telltale signs of a broken or damaged axle.

1. Loud clunking noises

If you’ve had a run-in with a nasty pothole or you’ve hit a curb, you might experience some loud clunking noises coming from underneath the vehicle.

Many reports suggest bumping, clinking or grinding noises can also be a sign that your axle may be bent or broken and you will require an axle repair.

2. Grease leaking from underneath the vehicle

Leaking grease doesn’t automatically suggest that you have a broken axle, but it does suggest that there might be damage to one of the axle components such as the CV boot.

If left without repair, a build-up of dirt or loss of grease lubrication can result in significant damage to the axle.

3. Malfunctioning brakes or inability to accelerate

Even if your vehicle starts perfectly fine, you might experience problems with braking and acceleration due to a damaged axle.

If a damaged axle gets to this stage, don’t try to force it. You will need to book in for an axle repair before you’ll be moving any time soon.

4. Vehicle tyre misalignment

Another telltale sign of a damaged or broken axle is wobbling, sluggish steering and the feeling of misaligned tyres.

If you experience any signs of misalignment, you should take that as an indicator that your axle may be bent or damaged and you’ll likely need to have it looked at by a professional mechanic before you continue driving.

If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t try to continue driving your car as you’ll likely cause more damage and be a danger to yourself and those around you.

Instead, book your vehicle in for a service with a trusted and experienced mechanic.

Still not sure how to tell if you have a broken axle?

The team at Big Wheels Truck Alignment have been servicing vehicles for over 20 years and are the best in the business, so you know you’re in good hands when it comes to booking in your axle repair.

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1 Comment

Tina Picinisco
Tina Picinisco
Feb 11, 2023

I need to know why my car is pulling extremely hard to right or left randomly when I jump on the gas while on the freeway. It had a torn boot and most likely needs CV joint fixed but this is different and new. It's very scary to drive it. I am thinking a broken axle possibly. It feels like someone yanks the steering wheel.

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