What is the CV joint? – Characteristics, function and types

The constant velocity joint is an essential component in vehicle transmission systems, especially those with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. It is used to transmit motor information from the gearbox to the wheels, allowing constant and uniform rotation at different angles, even when the wheels are rotating and moving vertically.

CV Joint Meaning and Definition

The constant velocity joint, also known as constant velocity joint (JVC)is a mechanical component used in vehicle transmission systems, particularly driveshafts in front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive automobiles.

Its main function is to transmit the motor torque from the gearbox to the wheels, using the gimbal to allow smooth and constant rotation, even when the wheels move and rotate at different angles. It should be noted that the homokinetic joint is not a mechanical seal and, although both parts are related to the transmission of movement in a mechanical system, they fulfill different functions.

The term ‘homokinetic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘homo‘, which means ‘equal’, and ‘kinetics‘, which refers to movement. This is because the CV joint allows the wheels to rotate at different angles while maintaining a constant and uniform rotation speed.

What is the function of the constant velocity joint?

The main function of the CV joint is to allow the transmission of engine torque from the gearbox to the wheels of the vehicle, especially those with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. His design and operation allow you to meet with the following functions:

  • Power transmission: The homokinetic joint allows to efficiently transmit the motor torque generated by the vehicle’s engine to the wheels. This allows the wheels to turn and provides the necessary traction to move the vehicle.
  • constant angular motion: The CV joint is capable of transmitting engine torque even when the wheels are moving and turning at different angles. This is essential during turning maneuvers and when the wheels move vertically, such as when going over potholes or bumps in the road, allowing a smooth and even movementavoiding vibrations and ensuring stable handling.
  • Flexibility: The CV joint provides some flexibility to the drive system. Let the driveshaft fits and adapts to angle variations between the gearbox and wheels, contributing to smooth performance and preventing damage to other driveline components.

What if the CV joint is damaged?

If the constant velocity joint is damaged or shows any type of wear, various problems can occur and negative effects on the operation of the vehicle. Some common consequences of a damaged CV joint are as follows:

  • vibrations and noise: One of the most common symptoms of a bad CV joint is unusual vibrations and noise while driving. These vibrations and noises usually increase when accelerating or turning, and may be more noticeable at higher speeds. They may be indicative of excessive wear or a lack of lubrication in the CV joint.
  • loss of traction: A damaged CV joint can affect the vehicle’s ability to efficiently transmit engine torque to the wheels. This can result in a loss of traction, especially during hard acceleration or on slippery terrain. The vehicle can experiencing a slip or skid off the wheels, reducing your ability to accelerate and control.
  • Irregular movement in the wheels: A worn or damaged CV joint can cause jerky or jerky movement of the wheels during turning. This can generate a feeling of instability in the direction and affect the vehicle’s maneuverability. In some cases, the wheels may jump or jerk when turning, which can be dangerous and require immediate attention.

What are the characteristics of the constant velocity joint?

The main features of a homokinetic joint are the following:

  • constant torque transmission: The CV joint is designed to provide constant torque transmission from the gearbox to the wheels. This means that the engine torque is transmits smoothly and evenlyeven when the wheels move and rotate at different angles.
  • angular movement: The CV joint allows the necessary angular movement between the gearbox and the wheels. It can accommodate changes in the wheel angle during turning maneuvers and when the wheels are moving vertically, such as when going over potholes or bumps in the road.
  • Flexibility: The constant velocity joint is capable of adapting to the angle variations between the gearbox and the wheels. It provides some flexibility in the transmission system, allowing smooth movement and avoiding damage in other components.
  • Protection against dirt and contaminants: The CV joint is protected by a bellows or rubber dust cover. This bellows acts as a protective cover that prevents dirt, dust, water and other contaminants from entering the interior of the joint. It also contains the necessary lubricating grease for its correct operation.
  • Maintenance and lubrication: The homokinetic joints require adequate maintenance and lubrication for their correct operation. The lubricant grease inside the gasket helps reduce friction and wear, as it should be periodically inspected or replaced per manufacturer’s recommendations.

CV Joint Types

There are different types of constant velocity joints used in vehicle transmission systems. The most common types are listed below:

  • fixed constant velocity joint: This is the most basic type of CV joint and is used on rear wheel drive vehicles. The fixed CV joint is designed to transmit engine torque in a straight line and does not allow a significant angular movement. It is simpler in construction and generally less expensive than other types of CV joints.
  • sliding cv joint: This type of CV joint is used on four-wheel drive vehicles and allows a certain degree of angular movement. It has the ability to slide within itself, which compensates for driveshaft length variations when changes in the angle of the wheels. This helps avoid excessive stresses and reduces the risk of damage to other components.
  • Tripod CV Joint: This CV joint gets its name from its tripod-shaped design, and is commonly used on front-wheel drive vehicles. The tripod CV joint has three points of contact with the propshaft, which provides greater stability and resistance. Its design allows a greater angle of rotation compared to other types of constant velocity joints.
  • CV joint Rzeppa: The Rzeppa CV joint is one of the most widely used designs in front-wheel drive vehicles. It consists of an inner sphere that mates with an outer sphere and is surrounded by balls. This design allows a smooth and constant movement at different turning anglesmaintaining efficient torque transmission.

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