• Steven E. Overmyer

How to Avoid Axle Damage on Your ATV or UTV

You may think that, as a UTV owner, breaking your axles will happen at some point or another. While this may be the case, there are things you can do to prevent this from happening. Prevent damage to your axles by knowing what causes it, how to avoid it, and signs that the axles have experienced a little too much wear and tear.

Avoid binding

When the CV joint becomes so bent that it’s no longer able to turn, the axle becomes bound - and that’s a big no-no. When the axle is bound and you try to hit the gas, chances are, the axle shaft and/or CV joint will break. There are many different ways that this can happen without you even realizing it.

For starters, don’t invest in a lift kit that’s not suitable for the axle you have; or, if you do, be sure to buy a new, more flexible axle. In most cases, the axle won’t bind unless the CV joints are bent past a certain degree. Adding a lift to your vehicle increases this angle, and once the angle surpasses 25°, you’re in trouble. To check whether this has happened, lift your vehicle and try to turn the tires with your hand.

Turn cautiously

There are all kinds of reasons why you shouldn’t gun down the gas while making sharp turns with your vehicle, but as you can imagine, the most relevant reason is that it causes axle breakage. Turning your wheels as sharply as they can go compromises your axle, and from there, hitting the gas can shock its CV joints. In fact, any time that you hit the gas while your wheels aren’t moving, you’re risking axle failure, and you can bet that you’ll be replacing them sooner rather than later.

Prevent boot damage

Your axles will eventually wear out no matter how properly they’re cared for. When it comes time to install new ones and you choose to do this on your own, don’t allow your axles to dangle unsupported at any time. When this happens, the boot becomes so bent that it can suffer a small cut. If you see grease linking, you’ll immediately know that this has happened and your axles will soon need to be replaced - again.

Know what to look (and listen) for

Knowing the symptoms of weak and worn axles is the easiest way to prevent them from breaking. Be prepared to replace your axles soon if you notice any of the following:

• Popping or clicking sounds when you turn

• Clunking and/or vibration when you shift gears, speed up, or slow down

• Buzzing or humming sounds (this will occur when the boot has been cut)

• The axle moves more than half an inch upon pushing it while the vehicle is lifted up

While axle failure may be inevitable at some point, it’s still avoidable. If your UTV is ready to be serviced, bring it by Outdoor Powersports’ service department in Gainesville, Texas - also serving the Dallas and Denton areas.

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