How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Car Axle?
Last Updated on September 24, 2023
Car axles may need to be replaced after 80,000 to 150,000 miles. If you need to repair or replace your car axle, you could pay anywhere from $450 to $1,985, according to our research.
The cost of car axle repair and replacement varies based on your make and model of vehicle, the number of axles you need to replace, and the cost of labor in your area, among other factors.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how much it costs to repair or replace a car axle.
Table of Contents:
- How Car Axles Work
- Signs You Need Car Axle Replacement
- Axle Repair & Replacement Costs $450 to $1,985, On Average
- Does Insurance Cover Axle Repairs or Replacements?
- You May Need Minor Repairs Instead of a Full Axle Replacement
- Can I Drive with a Bent Axle?
- FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD/4WD Axles
- Factors that Impact the Cost of Car Axle Repair or Replacement
How Car Axles Work
The axle is a shaft that rotates your wheel.
In early cars, the axle was an iron beam supporting the vehicle’s weight and keeping the wheels in place. Today, axle technology has evolved, although axles still play a critical role in supporting and balancing your vehicle.
Different vehicles have different types of axles. A vehicle with RWD has different axles than a vehicle with FWD.
Common types of axles found on modern vehicles include:
- Axle shafts
- CV axles
- Half shafts
Mechanics refer to all three types as axles, with constant velocity (CV) axles being the most common type on modern vehicles.
Axles can also be live or dead. A live axle transfers power from the engine to the wheels and is involved in rotating the wheels. A dead axle, meanwhile, does not receive power but still supports the vehicle’s weight.
Signs You Need Car Axle Replacement
Understandably, the car axle plays a crucial role in your vehicle’s performance.
A broken car axle causes obvious symptoms. However, if your axle is only bent or has minor damage, then symptoms can be less obvious.
Some of the signs you need car axle repairs or replacement include:
- Your car struggles to move
- Strong vibrations
- Unusual noises, like knocking, grinding, or clicking sounds
- A clunking or sputtering noise when putting your car into gear
- Grease leakage from wheels
- A shaking or rumbling from one wheel of your vehicle, especially when turning or speeding up
If you notice any of these symptoms, you must visit a mechanic as soon as possible. It’s not safe to drive a vehicle that requires car axle repairs or replacements.
Even if your axle has not completely broken, it could break soon. If your car axle breaks while driving, you could experience a significant accident. Although car axle repair and replacement costs $450 or more today, an accident will be even more expensive.
Axle Repair & Replacement Costs $450 to $1,985, On Average
It costs anywhere from $450 to $1,985 to replace or repair a vehicle axle, on average, according to our research.
To compile these quotes, we received estimates for axle replacement for dozens of popular vehicles in regions across the country – including urban and rural areas.
Here are some of the most important things you need to know about the cost of axle repair and replacement:
- If your entire car axle shaft needs to be replaced, you can generally expect to pay $700 to $1,100 (including labor) at the mechanic.
- If the mechanic can repair your axle instead of replacing it, then you could pay less than $600
- Front axles tend to cost more to repair or replace than back axles (because of the prevalence of FWD vehicles); expect to pay $600 to $1,100 to repair or replace a front axle and $450 to $650 to repair or replace a back axle
- Sometimes, only small parts of your axle (like your CV boot) require replacement, which could cost less than $100
Does Insurance Cover Axle Repairs or Replacements?
Car insurance does not cover axle repairs or replacements unless the damage occurred during a covered event – like a car accident or collision with an animal.
Car insurance is designed to cover unexpected costs of owning a vehicle – like a car accident, a collision, a house fire, or theft. It’s not designed to cover maintenance, wear and tear, and other anticipated costs – like oil changes, tire replacement, or axle repairs.
However, if your axle damage occurred in an accident, house fire, flood, vandalism incident, or another event, then insurance could cover it. Contact your insurance company to determine if insurance may cover your loss.
You May Need Minor Repairs Instead of a Full Axle Replacement
In some cases, the mechanic can repair or replace certain smaller components related to the axle. Instead of paying over $1,000 to replace your axle, you can pay under $100 to replace a minor part:
- In many cases, only the CV boot of the joint needs replacement, which costs around $100 with parts and labor
- A replacement CV boot may cost as little as $30
Generally, it’s better to replace the axle instead of repairing it. However, suppose your axle problem is related to the CV joint or CV boot. In that case, it may be perfectly fine to replace this component while preserving the structural integrity of your vehicle.
Can I Drive with a Bent Axle?
If your axle is bent but not broken, you may consider driving with it. Although you should replace your axle as soon as possible, is it safe to drive with a bent axle?
The answer to that question depends on the severity of your bent axle:
Slightly Bent Axles: If your axle is slightly bent (less than 0.25 inches), you may be able to drive on it safely for a short period. You may notice the symptoms mentioned above – like difficulty turning, vibrations, and unusual noises. However, you may be able to drive safely for a short period until your axle can be repaired or replaced.
Severely Bent Axles: If you have a severely bent axle (bent more than 0.25 inches), then it is not safe to drive at all. Your car needs towing, and you must replace the axle before you can safely drive. When your axle is bent to this level of severity, it can damage CV joints, bearings, wheel hubs, and other components of your powertrain.
FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD/4WD Axles
Your axle repair and replacement costs vary depending on whether you have a front-wheel drive (FWD), rear-wheel drive (RWD), or all-wheel drive / four-wheel drive (AWD/4WD) vehicle. These vehicles have different drivetrain and axle configurations:
FWD: In FWD vehicles, engine power flows to the front wheels via two axles (known as half shafts). These axles are connected to constant velocity (CV) joints. The rear wheels, meanwhile, are not connected to engine power and are suspended independently.
RWD: With RWD vehicles, a drive shaft transfers engine power to the two rear wheels, while the rear differential splits power between either side of the vehicle. Some RWD vehicles (like cars) do not have a front axle and an independent front suspension, while other RWD vehicles (like trucks) use a dead axle.
AWD/4WD: AWD/4WD vehicles keep all four wheels spinning simultaneously, sending power from the engine to a series of differentials and onto axles, which then move each wheel independently from the other. The engine sends power to all four wheels in different ways, allowing the vehicle to use power on demand.
To give an accurate quote on axle repair or replacement in your vehicle, your mechanic will need to know the configuration of your vehicle.
Factors That Impact the Cost of Car Axle Repair or Replacement
You could pay under $450 for car axle replacement. Or, you could pay over $2,000. Here are some of the factors that impact the cost of car axle repairs and replacements:
Repairs Versus Replacements: If you find damage to your car axle, then you should replace that damage instead of repairing it. Although repairing the damage may be cheaper, it’s generally better to replace the axle for the long-term safety and integrity of the vehicle.
Part Sources: You can find a replacement CV axle for $50 to $200, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. Depending on your location and where you source your parts, you could pay more or less than this average amount.
Local Cost of Labor: It takes 1 to 4 hours to replace a CV axle, so you can expect to pay $100 to $400 for labor. If you live in an area with a high cost of labor, then you could pay more.
Vehicle Make & Model: Vehicle make and model impacts axle repair and replacement costs. Some cars have cheap, easy-to-source parts, while others have high-end or exotic parts. Some drivers want OEM parts, while others are okay with replacement parts.
Drivetrain and Axle Configuration: The cost of axle repair and replacement varies based on whether you have a FWD, RWD, or AWD/4WD vehicle.
Final Word – Car Axle Replacement Cost
It costs $450 to $1,985 to repair or replace a car axle, depending on many factors – including vehicle type, drivetrain configuration, and whether damage needs to be repaired or replaced.
Some car axle issues can be repaired for under $500. Other car axles need complete replacement to make the vehicle safe to drive. Driving with a worn axle is unsafe, and it could break at any time to cause a serious accident.
Contact a mechanic near you to request an estimate on car axle repairs or replacements.