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Signs of a Loose U-Joint
When you notice any of the symptoms listed below, check your u-joints as soon as possible.
- Clunking/clanking noise when you shift gears
- Vibration when accelerating or decelerating
- Loud metal-on-metal banging (this is a sign that the u-joint will completely fail very soon)
When there are signs that the joint isn’t 100%, always replace it. In other words, when in doubt, change it out. Even if the u-joint is a little loose, it’s still better to buy a replacement u-joint now than it is to let the u-joint worsen to the point of complete failure.
u-joint repair advice
u-joints do not have a specific maintenance interval, but most manufacturers do recommend that they be inspected from time to time. check your owner’s manual for specific mileage and time intervals or have them checked at every oil change.
some u-joints can be greased, while others aren’t serviceable. if you have a grease fitting on your u-joint, then you can use an automotive grease gun to lubricate the needles bearings in the cap. greasing a u-joint can be done at home, but make sure you purchase a good quality, high-temperature grease designed to be used with u-joints.
if you don’t have this kind of fitting, there’s no service necessary, only inspections as recommended by your owner's manual or outlined above.
if you begin to experience any of the symptoms listed above, it’s important you call your repair shop immediately. a complete failure of a u-joint can be dangerous and destructive to a vehicle. at the very least, it will leave you stranded and facing a towing bill.
during a u-joint inspection, the technician will inspect the joints for excessive play. if the u-joints are on a driveshaft, they’re typically replaced in pairs, especially on higher-mileage vehicles. after the u-joints are replaced, the driveshaft may need to be rebalanced.
considering that u-joints are generally inexpensive and that they’re a very important part of your vehicle, it’s best to use original manufacturer-quality, or oem, parts.
the cost to have your u-joints replaced can vary drastically. the major factors here are the cost of parts, labor time and how many joints need to be replaced. when dealing with front axles on four-wheel drive trucks, costs can increase due to the additional labor needed to access the u-joints.
due to safety concerns, u-joint replacement is best left to the professionals. if you want to save money on replacing your u-joints, and have the appropriate experience and tools, consider removing a driveshaft or axle yourself and bringing it to a shop for them to replace the u-joint and balance the shaft.
get it diagnosed by a professional
Spicer® 10 Series U-Joints: Tested and Proven for Top Performance
Spicer® 10 Series u-joints are completely interchangeable with existing parts, so you get total product compatibility with no change in part numbers.
- Better balance capability
- Reduced driveline vibration
- Lower maintenance costs
- Engineered for a tighter fit
Spicer® 10 Series u-joints are created through the combination of a computer-designed bearing plate with a patented manufacturing process that closely controls tolerances.
Learn More About Spicer Commercial Vehicle U-Joints
Check out Dana’s streamlined eCommerce platform, DanaAftermarket.com, to access the parts information you need, check availability, place and track your orders, and more, all in one place.
Replacement U-Joints: Quality Matters
Since the u-joint is an extremely important part in your vehicle, quality should matter a lot while shopping for replacement u-joints. As one of the world’s largest u-joint manufacturers, GMB builds sturdy and reliable u-joints to OE specs. All GMB u-joints are built with high-quality materials (including special chrome-molybdenum alloy steel for superior corrosion resistance), heavy duty needle bearings, and an exact fit snap ring to ensure longevity and reliability. All GMB u-joints are also extensively tested for maximum quality control.
If you’re in the market for new u-joints, you can’t go wrong with GMB.