What Happens if Your Car Axle Breaks While Driving?

The axles of your car are some of the most critical components of your vehicle. The axles carry the weight of your vehicle and provide power from the engine to the wheels. However, like all car parts, they will eventually fail. To show you the potential dangers, we researched what would happen if the axles broke while driving. 

If your car's axle breaks during driving, your car will be immobile. In some rare cases, the wheel bearing will seize, and the wheel will disconnect from the suspension.

To prevent this scary incident from happening, keep reading for all the details that you can use to check for warning signs and inform you of the potential costs to repair. As always, please remember that the information in this site is for educational purposes only. If you suspect that your vehicle may have a problem, consult a professional mechanic. 

What Happens if Your Car Axle Breaks While Driving


An axle breaking on your car is typically something that doesn't happen overnight. Your vehicle will reveal signs that your axle is starting to go bad. If you do not pay attention to the symptoms, there is a chance your car's axle will break while you are driving. A broken axle is a safety hazard to you and other drivers on the road. 

Nearly Broken Axle 

As your axle begins to break, your car will start to pull to one side. The wheel with the nearly broken axle is losing power to the wheel. If you feel that your vehicle is pulling harshly to one side, this is a sign that you need to pull over immediately.

If the peripheral parts of your axle break, then your axle breaking will not be far behind. If you notice the signs, it is only a matter of time until your axle disconnects from the wheel. 

It is a far better choice to have your axle problem repaired than taking the chance of your wheel falling off in the middle of driving. You will also reduce your repair bill by being proactive and fixing your axle early. 

Broken Axle

Your axle's joint will eventually tear itself apart when your axle shows signs of wear. When it breaks, you will no longer receive power to your car's wheel, and the car will be immobile.

If you are going at a fast speed, this could potentially lead to a significant accident as you lose control of your car. When left unaddressed, the wheel bearing will seize, and the wheel will disconnect. The dislodged wheel will also pose a risk to the drivers on the road.

You will not be able to guide your vehicle correctly and avoid any potential hazards in your path. Ensuring your car's axles are in good health is being responsible for the safety of the drivers around you.

If you break an axle while driving, you will also cause more damage than just needing to repair it. The car will drop to the ground if the wheel comes off, and your vehicle will have body damage. 

What Causes an Axle to Break?

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There are three main ways that a car's axle can break, and with some being through no fault of the driver. Luckily, in most cases, a driver while not keep the car long enough for the axle to break completely. However, it is a good idea to look out for these three things that can cause your axle to break. 

Wear and Tear

The most common cause of an axle breaking is its age. As a car gathers more miles, the metal components start to wear on each other. Routinely inspect an older car's axles to make sure there is no excessive movement or oil is leaking from the CV joint boot. 

Overloading your Car

The weight of your car is on the axles. If you overload your vehicle with any additional weight, your car's axles will not have enough strength to carry the load. Avoid loading too much cargo or passengers in your vehicle. 

Off-Roading or Bumps

Harsh driving conditions such as off-roading or hitting a bump in the road like a pothole can snap your car's axles. These driving conditions can put excessive force on the connections of your suspension, and your axle will have no other choice but to break.

How Can You Tell if Your Axle is Broken?


When your axle is on the decline, you will have plenty of warning signs. If your vehicle starts to make loud clicking, clunking, or clanking noise while you are driving, this may be a sign your car has axle-joint damage. 

One sign that is hard to miss is the noises your car will make when it turns. When the CV joint in the axle goes bad, it will be loose and make an unusually loud noise. The noise will be consistent and click each time your wheel makes a full rotation. 

Broken Axle Test

To be sure it is your car's axle, perform the following test. Take your car to an empty parking lot with a friend to help you diagnose the problem. Have your friend drive in circles in the parking lot while you stand outside to listen for the clicking noise. If your car's axle broke, you would hear a consistent clicking or clunking noise while the vehicle turns. 

However, loud clunking noises can be more than your car's axle. A malfunctioning transmission will start to make loud clunking and grinding noise each time you change gears. Take your vehicle to a mechanic for a proper diagnosis. 

Is a Broken Axle Repairable? 


While in most cases, the mechanic will recommend that you replace the axle, you can also repair broken components. If no noise is present while you are driving and the CV joint boot is broken and leaking oil, a mechanic can replace just the boot without replacing the entire axle. Replacing your CV joint boot will cost an average of $336 to $387. 

How Much Does a New Axle Cost?


A new axle is the better choice for those who have severely damaged axles. There are too many risks involved with a faulty axle to try and patch it up. How severe the damage is and how long the repair takes will determine how much the new axle costs.

The average cost of a car axle repair is $562. Let a qualified mechanic assess the damage. It could potentially be a simple fix. 

Labor Costs

The cost of labor to replace one axle on your car is between $145 to $215. The price depends on the model of the vehicle you are driving and the number of hours needed to remove the broken axle and install the new one.

Cost of Parts

The cost of a new axle will be between $350 to $1120. The price will depend if you will need to replace one or both of your car's axles. You can reduce the costs of parts by providing the mechanic with the pieces for the repair. You can purchase the axles through websites like CarParts.com.



While a wholly broken car axle is rare, it can happen. Be sure to check for the signs that your car's axle is starting to break, and act quickly to have it repaired. Do not take the chance of your axle breaking during driving. 

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