How Often Should U-Joints Be Replaced?
U-joints should last forever – or at least the life of the vehicle. “Should” is the operative word here. U-joints aren’t supposed to wear out, but it happens. Also, u-joints can break.
It’s easy to predict the lifespan of some car parts, such as shocks. But not u-joints. U-joints can last decades, or they can break when the vehicle is still new. That’s why it’s a good idea to check the u-joints at every oil change. A typical rear wheel drive vehicle has 2 or 3 u-joints. Some vehicles with a long wheel base, such as buses, have 3 or more u-joints. The more u-joints a vehicle has, the higher the chance a u-joint will fail.
What Could Cause A U-Joint To Fail?
Image Credit: AdvRider
Most of the time, you can attribute u-joint failure to one of the following reasons:
- Improper lubrication: Some u-joints need regular maintenance. In most cases, you have to grease your u-joints every 5,000 miles or so. When you fail to service your u-joints on a regular basis, they will fail. You don’t have to worry about this problem with maintenance free u-joints.
- Misalignment: This happens when you change the vehicle’s ride height. The u-joint operating angles change if you lift the vehicle. The greater the operating angle, the more the u-joint moves with each rotation of the driveshaft. This wears the u-joint out faster.
- Loose connections: The bolts holding the u-joints in place can get loose or fall out over time. This happens usually because of corrosion, excessive vibration, or improper torquing.
- Wear and tear: Even though u-joints should last the lifetime of the vehicle, they can wear out early. This is common on off-road vehicles or vehicles that tow frequently.
This post has more information on the most common causes of u-joint failure.
What Happens When You Don’t Replace Your U-Joints?
A u-joint may seem like a small and insignificant part, but its failure will eventually render the vehicle unusable. The driveshaft will no longer be able to spin anymore. That means you won’t have anything to turn the wheels anymore. It won’t happen out of the blue, though. You’ll notice some symptoms leading up to the event. Some symptoms include:
- Vibration when accelerating or decelerating
- Clunking noises from the underside of the vehicle when changing direction from foward to reverse or reverse to forward
- Leaking from the rear pinion seal and/or transmission seal
If you replace the u-joint(s) when you notice these symptoms, you’ll avoid the major hassle of complete failure.
If one of your u-joints has failed, the right replacement parts will make all the difference. It’s important to replace your u-joints in pairs, even if one of them seem like it is still good. If one has failed, the other doesn’t have long to live.
GMB Is The Leading Brand For U-Joints
At GMB, we are committed to providing high quality parts that perform well for a long time. We’ve been specializing in u-joints since 1943. Many industry experts consider us the leading brand for u-joints for the following reasons:
1. GMB U-Joints Are Designed To OE Specs
In fact, many major auto manufacturers hire GMB to build its OEM parts, including u-joints. That means two things:
- These manufacturers have full confidence in GMB’s ability to build high quality OEM parts
- GMB’s own line of u-joints meets or exceeds OEM specs
2. GMB U-Joints Are Built With High Quality Materials
At GMB, we care about quality. We want your u-joints to last forever. That’s why we use the following materials:
- Special Chrome-Molybdenum Alloy Steel for superior corrosion resistance
- Heavy duty needle bearings for greater load capacity
- Exact fit snap rings
3. GMB U-Joints Are Easy To Install
All GMB u-joints come with the snap rings needed for installation to ensure easy installation. Strap kits and bolt kits are also included for Heavy Duty u-joints, where applicable. Strap kits and u-bolt kits are also available to be purchased separately.