How could this possibly happen? After all of your careful preparations, cleaning, detailing, checking tyre pressures and light bulbs you drive away from the NCT centre with the words “Propeller Shaft/Half Shaft Couplings” or “Grease Boot Missing or Torn” clearly highlighted on your NCT fail report! Well don’t fret for a start as you are certainly not the first person to stumble at this hurdle, in fact it ranks reasonably high on the list of fail items that the NCTS are likely to invoke.
Horror! You didn’t even know that the CV Boot was split or that the grease was all gone!
To the uninitiated those words are going to look expensive, if for no other reason than the seemingly gobbldy-gook language under that broad green highlighter ink. Here in OTTO we send out literally dozens of new half shaft CV joints or repair kits every single day. So time perhaps to decode this NCTS mumbo-jumbo into ordinary layman’s English?
A modern CV Joint as found fitted to your Volkswagen, Audi, Seat or Skoda half shaft
Simply explained, your car’s engine is used to turn the wheels and there is a whole lot of magic that makes this happen. Put in the most basic way possible there is a metal bar reaching from the engine to the wheel on each side of the car that turns the wheel, correctly named a transmission half-shaft. Much has evolved since the first cars like a Ford Model T and the decades of cars produced since which had the engine power brought to the back axle and out to the rear wheels. In fact a major revolution took place between the 1950’s and 1970’s which saw more compact engine and gearbox assemblies being packaged between the front wheels of a car with these half-shafts propelling the front wheels. This made production and assembly much simpler and for us the end user, quite a bit cheaper. It introduced a major issue however as the front wheels of a car were already a busy place. Indeed they were already required to do the job of steering and the major share of braking and all the while following the contour of the road surface through the front suspension.
A fully rebuilt and ready to install half shaft
The problem was how to put a flexible coupling into the half-shaft that would allow the front wheels to steer and to bump and rebound to the suspension loads? Several earlier versions of universal joints were used initially but wear, service, weight and complexity were all issues. GKN, one of the oldest engineering firms in the UK with over 250 years of pedigree honed and perfected a joint of the Rzeppa style first seen in the late 1920’s. When invented these were not practical to manufacture in the volumes or price range needed for the auto industry but the savings made by the move to front wheel drive easily outweighed the extra cost. The Morris Mini was the epitome if compact design at the time and was the first production car to make popular use of this type of constant velocity or CV joint, the rest as they say is history!
And these are the parts used to service a damaged cut or split CV Boot
So what are the implications for you, all sad and dejected leaving the NCT with a fail report? The outlook is not too bad in fact and in OTTO we will always have stock of VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda CV Joints similarly with Opel, Saab, Ford or Fiat. The tester will have given you an explanation “through the hatch” pointing out the highlighter pen on the report. You will have either “CV Boot Missing or Torn” requiring repair or a diagnosis that the “Joint is Worn” meaning that you will have to replace the whole CV Joint. A genuine OEM replacement CV boot kit from GKN Spidan with new clips and a portion of grease will cost somewhere close to €20. If the CV Joint is worn then you will have to replace the whole joint which will include all of the above but here even a genuine item from GKN Löbro is not likely to go above €80 or so for an average VW, Audi, Saab, Ford or Opel. We keep an extensive stock of both constant velocity joint kits and boot repair kits and of course with all of our products at OTTO, premium OEM quality. Of course this doesn’t factor in the cost of fitting the new joint or replacement CV boot but a chat with your mechanic will soon sort this.
If you do your own servicing and maintenance then this is one more job you will be proud to add to your list of accomplishments. Go ahead and visit our web shop from the link below where you can select your CV Joint or CV Joint kit using our parts configurator direclty from your registration plate.