Sound Of A Bad U Joint – How Is It Like?

You may hear some strange loud noise from your vehicle but don’t know it’s the sound of a bad U joint.

Now, you are worrying whether it is a warning sign of something damaged or can you drive with such an issue.

Keep reading to broaden your knowledge on the issue and see if you have a faulty component.

What Is A U Joint?

Sound Of A Bad U Joint

Before answering the question, what does bad u joint sound like? Let’s get to the component’s definition.

U joint or universal joint is a component of the drive shaft that is found in all four-wheel drive vehicles and trucks.

They usually come in pairs, compensating for the misalignment between the transmission and the rear drive shaft, thus moving the vehicle.

What Causes Sound Of A Bad U Joint?

The absence of lubricant is the first thing you can think of when having a bad U-joint sound. Other possible reasons are natural deterioration, heavy-duty, and engine upgradation.

If you buy a car, it’s good to have a mechanic inspect the alignment and the drive shaft for you.


All components experience regular wear. The part lasts long but cannot avoid being worn out due to driving style and condition.

Even when you maintain it well, it still becomes worse after time and enough kilometers. If you drive a four-wheel drive truck or heavy-duty SUV, you need to replace it faster than a daily vehicle.

Lack Of Lubrication

You may feel the difference between sitting in a car with enough lubrication and one which is insufficient grease. The loss of grease affects the connection part badly.

Offroaders, haulers, or heavy-duty vehicles need the part with enough grease to handle the heavy weight.

You can do the grease on your own in your garage if the compartment’s design allows you to do so.


Overload or other heavy-duty tasks put on your car lead to the connector’s failure performance.

If your vehicle does heavy work every day, it’s better to have a heavy-duty part to avoid putting much strain on the shaft, leading to fast degradation.

Lift Kit Without Aligning

After using the lift kit, you’d better check the drive shaft alignment again to ensure the shaft angle is within the tolerance.

Adjust it if necessary since installing the lift kit without double checking the angle can create extra strain on the connection part.

Engine Upgrade

A souped-up engine is another cause of bad U joint noise. If you upgrade a bigger or stronger engine, it should also be with the appropriate connector.

In this case, the original part receives more pressure and quickly wears out.

What Are The Warning Signs Of A Worn U-Joint?

How to tell if universal joint is bad? It’s when strange noises such as squeaking or clunking sound or vibration, your vehicle leak transmission fluid or can’t move due to the dislocated drive shaft.

You’d better deal with the issue as soon as possible to have a safe drive.

Squeaking Noise

What does bad universal joints sound like? The squeaking sound is one of the bad U joint signs. It may sound like a brake pedal squeaking.

While the bearing components make each small rotation movement, the grease becomes less.

Thus, there’s more metal-to-metal contact, causing a squeaking noise. This sound usually happens when the vehicles start to move forward or backward.

Clunking Sound

What does bad U joints sound like? You may hear a clunking or banging sound when you shift the gear with a manual transmission car or put a harsh speed up or brake.

It’s among bad U joint symptoms, caused by excessive play in the connection point.


Vibration while moving means you have bad U joints. The drive shaft starts to rotate out of its normal orbit, and you can feel the imbalance and vibration.

The rotational speed of the drive axle shafts is 3-4 times faster than the wheels, so more frequency vibration will happen when there’s an imbalance.

In this stage, you should think of replacement since it leads to damage to other parts, especially the transmission.

The Leakage Of Transmission Fluid

Next, excessive vibration can lead to a car leaking gas. So, the signs of a bad universal joint can also include fluid leaking from the rear of the transmission.

It’s the sequence of broken transmission output shaft seals and transmission tailshaft bushing caused by vibration.

Once you experience the fluid leaking situation, you should have the automotive repair professionals inspect the source of the leak and fix it.

Car Is Unable To Move

It’s the last symptom when all of the above signs of a bad U joint bearing are ignored. The component is in charge of connecting the transmission and other parts with the wheels.

When it’s ultimately broken, you can’t run your car. The drive shaft can drop down on the road, and you need to tow your vehicle (see how to tow your rear-wheel-drive car) and get both the connectors and the entire drive shaft repaired.


bad U joints

How To Know If I Have Damaged U Joint?

All the U joint noise above indicates the damaged component.

However, sometimes, you can not hear the bad U joint sound while driving, so pay closer attention to see if there’s any small strange vehicle noise. Plus, having a visual check the part for accurate diagnosis.

How Long Can You Go With A Faulty U Joint?

When there’s a bad U-joint sound, it’s highly recommended to troubleshoot the problem as soon as possible.

You definitely don’t want to experience a come-off drive shaft component, an unmovable car, and even a car accident due to this reason.

What Is The Cost Of Replacement?

The replacement price depends on the year and model of your car and whether you do it by yourself or let the automotive repair technicians fix it for you.

If you’d like to fix it at home, the cost is around $50. When you use the service, the expected price is from $200-$450.

What does a bad U joint sound like? You’d better replace the part when you hear the squeaking or crunching sound.


What Are The Warning Signs Of A Worn U-Joint?

The sound of a bad U joint may bother you while driving. The causes might vary, such as lack of lubrication, wear and tear, engine upgrade, overloading, etc.

A professional inspection is suggested to ensure the problem hasn’t gone worse and have a proper solution.

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