What Does a Broken Axle Sound Like?

Axles are shafts that connect to the drive wheels, which means that your car isn’t going to run far without them. The axles serve as a power transmitter, from the transmission to the wheels. Axles bear the entire weight of your vehicle, and they guide your wheels in the direction you want to go.

Note that putting too much weight or overloading the vehicle can lead to a faulty axle shaft. Furthermore, a broken cv axle is different from a broken axle shaft. What does a broken axle sound like? Learn more in this article.

How to Tell if Your Car Has a Broken Axle

Note that a bad CV joint is different from a broken axle. Your car will not move if the axle is bad. There are four easy ways to tell whether your car has a bad wheel bearing. Here’s how:

How to Tell if Your Car Has a Broken Axle

Excessive Vibration

If your car suddenly starts to vibrate excessively after hitting a pothole or object, then know that you may be suffering from a bent axle or a cracked one. These vibrations are sometimes accompanied by a strange tire wobbling or unusual rumbling sounds underneath the vehicle.

Once you notice that your car won’t stop shaking no matter how slow or carefully you drive, then park your car right away and take a look at the axle.

Clunking Noise

In case you’ve been wondering, “What does a broken axle sound like? All you’ll hear is loud clanking noise as your car gets ready to accelerate. The loud clunking sounds indicate the vehicle’s inability to transfer power adequately from the transmission or engine to the axle.

Furthermore, it might be that your transmission could be breathing it’s last or that the power/torque transfer doesn’t get to the broken axle in time. Once you notice this bad axle sound, check both your rear axle and your front axle right away. Additionally, take the vehicle to a repair shop for a professional assessment.

Leaking Grease

Another effective way of detecting a bad axle shaft is to check for leaking grease. Look underneath the vehicle, inspect the cv joints, and check the inside tire edge. Although leaking gear oil doesn’t specify a damaged wheel bearing yet, the leaking grease might indicate future problems.

Furthermore, dirt can easily get into a broken axle joint and cause axle joint failures. Ensure you thoroughly inspect both your wheel axles for damage.

No Movement

Lastly, since the axle controls the transfer of power and torque to your wheels, the vehicle will not move once the axles are broken. Often what has happened is that the axle’s universal joints may have gone bad, which means you’ll experience the constant velocity axles fail as you try to accelerate the car.

Furthermore, this issue with broken axles can happen anytime; while driving, reversing, or trying to park your car. However, inspect your entire wheel bearing system once you experience any of these warning signs.

To help you understand better, here’s a list of the symptoms of a broken axle wheel

  • Car won’t move
  • Oil leak
  • Misalignment of brake pad
  • Strain on the vehicle
  • Clunking sound
  • Vibrating wheel

What Causes a Broken Axle?

Overloading your vehicle with too much cargo or passengers, tired car shocks, and worn metals are the main reasons why you keep hearing unusual clicking sounds underneath your car.

What Causes a Broken Axle

Furthermore, you can damage your car axles by bumping into a large object, pothole, or even a speed bump. Once you’ve noticed that your vehicle is making the axle grinding noise, it’s best to see a mechanic right away to check your entire wheel bearing system and power steering system.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What happens if your axle breaks while driving?

Once your axles crack or give up, your car will become immobilized almost instantly. If the car is in motion, the vehicle will correspond to the loss of the wheel by pulling to one side. If the axle fails altogether, the wheel will stop turning.

2. What will a damaged cv joint cause?

The cv joints of your car have a protective seal (boot), and this seal isn’t resistant to damage. Note that your transmission fluid will leak out If your car’s cv joints become damaged or contaminated.

Furthermore, your car’s joints will wear out and fail with time as you lose your cv joints and lubricants. If you choose to ignore this issue and ride your car around with damaged cv joints, the joint will weaken with time, and your wheels will not move.

3. How long do axles last?

How carefully you drive, and the condition of the road will significantly impact the lifespan of your car axles. As long as you don’t bump into potholes and large objects, car axles can last you anywhere between five years and more.

However, most car owners have reported having used their car axles for more than five years and have gone on the road for over 200,000 hours without a hitch.


A solid car axle means that your set of wheels is in good condition. It is important to note that axles require maintenance and inspection. Loud clanking or rumbling sound is one easy way to know that your axles have developed some fault. Other ways to detect a broken axle include bad vehicle vibrations, leaking grease, and vehicle immobility.

However, once you notice that your car is suffering from a broken axle, it is better to take it to a repair shop right away. Trying to manage your car in such a situation will only weaken your car joints and make driving more difficult.

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