Are C-V joints ever supposed to click and clack?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

Are C-V joints ever supposed to click and clack? When I turn the wheel of my car full left or full right at very low speeds, forward or reverse, we hear "click-click-click" (or clack-clack-clack) from the front end. The car is a 1987 Chevy Nova with a manual transmission.

RAY: It's really not OK for C-V joints to click and clack, Mark. C-V (constant velocity) joints are actually ball and socket type joints that transmit power from the transmission to the front wheels of this car.

TOM: And when they start to go bad, they make the clacking noise you describe--usually while accelerating through turns.

RAY: It's not really a dangerous situation. The wheel won't fall off, even if the joints fail completely. But the car will stop moving. Of course, if that happens while you're trying to make a left turn in front of an on??coming eighteen-wheeler full of Eskimo Pies, it could be a very chilling experience.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One