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We bought our 1996 Camry in 2000. A year later the axles started to fail so we replaced them in 2001. Then those failed and were replaced in 2006. Those then failed and were replaced in 2012. Now those have failed and I'll be having them replaced tomorrow.

Is that normal for a 96 Camry? That seems insane that axles only last 5 to 6 years. I live in Phoenix so it's hot and dry and usually the CV boots fail, lose all the grease then the axle fails.

This time I'm buying limited lifetime warranty parts so I shouldn't have to pay for the parts anymore. I wish that warranty included the labor though. :-/

At least this time I'm buying the parts myself for $65 and $70 each. The repair in 2012 the mechanic bought them and charged me $170 each.

  • Surely it's the servicing at fault here. The CV boots show signs of wear : crazing etc before they disintegrate and dump all the grease. So it's at that point the boots should be replaced and there are long cones made that allow new CV boots to be slid on without dismantling the whole shaft. – Solar Mike Nov 10 '17 at 21:23
  • Good point. I'm not that big on regular servicing outside of doing the oil changes. In my defense, every time a mechanic has told me the boots were failing they told me it made more sense to replace the axle than to try to fix the boot. Maybe I believed them and should not have. – Steve Hiner Nov 10 '17 at 21:25
  • That raises the other question though. Should the boots fail every 5 to 6 years? Is that normal? My brother got 10 years out of his axles when he replaced them. Then again, he doesn't live in Phoenix anymore. – Steve Hiner Nov 10 '17 at 21:27
  • Well, I have just had a boot replaced and the garage did it without asking : but I like them and respect their work and attitude. – Solar Mike Nov 10 '17 at 21:27
  • Phoenix - it's basically hot there isn't it? So, if the roads are hot plus the engine heat probably raises the ambient temperature that the boots are working in which might reduce their life - I'm in Switzerland and we get a wide temperature variation between summer and winter... – Solar Mike Nov 10 '17 at 21:30
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IMO they should last a little longer than that. That is not normal. Could be becuase of mediocre manufactured parts. Besides that.

There is a way to prevent this.

You can actually re boot your axles BEFORE they run out of grease and fail, you just have to catch it in time. Rebooting is MUCH cheaper than buying new axles.

Here is a video on Mercedes axles, but it applies to yours as well. You don't need that fancy tool either, there is the manual way of getting them on with a cone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nrYcQsYIzk

You'll need flex boots

https://www.amazon.com/Astoria-2000-Standard-FLXFB3000-Category/dp/B000XMG2XE

CV boot pliers

https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-Drake-Off-Road-Tools/dp/B0002SREPY

  • tools needed to get to the axles.

If you don't want to do it yourself, you can just have your mechanic reboot the axles for you, you'll come out saving more this way as well. Axles boots cost a little less than new axles.

  • So the saving would be in the labor. I know these axles are beyond saving but for future reference I'll ask my mechanic about it tomorrow. I suppose mechanics might recommend the axle because they can overcharge me $170 for a $70 part and if the boot costs $25 they won't make as much profit on the part. – Steve Hiner Nov 10 '17 at 21:53
  • Labor would actually be about the same with a just a few mins added on, no more than 10min. Mechanics shouldn't be double charging parts, or n your case, more than double. 25% is ok, 50% ok, list price is ok as well, but double is absurd. You are right, they want to go for the axle so they can make more money of the part. – Lump Coon Nov 10 '17 at 22:13
  • By the way, that was the last time that mechanic ever did work on any of my vehicles and I didn't even know he was gouging us for the parts price. When doing $1188 worth of work on the car they broke the latch on the little change drawer. When I told them about it then wanted to charge me $20 to get the replacement because I couldn't prove that it wasn't broken when I brought it in. – Steve Hiner Nov 10 '17 at 22:28
  • Sadly some shops are just foul. But be on the look out, bottom $ shops will give you bottom $ results. Shop around and get multiples quotes from reputable shops, try to go to a shop that specializes in your vehicle as well. – Lump Coon Nov 10 '17 at 22:39
  • Alas, this was a very reputable, major shop. The biggest auto shop I've ever used other than a dealership. – Steve Hiner Nov 10 '17 at 22:52

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