In Europe it's pretty common to see sawdust (yes the thing you buy for your hamster) to be put in the boot of CV joint when selling used cars. The reason for this is that when you go check the car the CV joint stays stiff and doesn't click and make any suspicious noises. This "fix/trick" works only for few days of driving just until you buy the car from someone and get scammed.

My question is how to spot the sawdust in CV joints?

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    Without cutting them open? Not sure, but I'd suspect you'd see a new band on the boot with an old boot and axle. Factory installed boots have non-reusable bands which keep each side of the boot sealed and secured. If those are replaced and the boot is old as well as the axle shaft, I'd be suspect. You could ask the seller what the deal is and if you get a song and dance out of them, then just walk away from it or tell them to knock a chunk of money off of the cost because of it. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 5 '18 at 20:58
  • @Paulster2 Plenty of people replace just the boot and new grease when old one gets damaged. – AsenM Dec 6 '18 at 8:12
  • @AsenM - Correct, but you'll notice I wasn't talking about that. If someone is cheap enough to put sawdust into a boot, they'll replace only the parts they'd need to to put it back to "right" ... that'd be the securing bands, because there's no way around it (you have to cut them off in order to get the boot off). Old boots and new rings would be suspect to me. New boots would not necessarily raise any flags for the reason you give. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 6 '18 at 13:06
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 you can take boot off without cutting off anything? This is hold on by metal rings that you tight with a screw? – AsenM Dec 6 '18 at 16:01
  • @AsenM - From the factory, most CVJ boots are held on by fixed, non-reusable metal bands. The only way to get them off to get "inside" the boot is to cut the band off. Once off, you can move the boot from the large side to the small side to gain access to the joint itself, then move it back into position. Someone could put adjustable clamps back on, but that'd be a dead giveaway. While I'm sure it might exist, I've never seen an adjustable clamp used to hold the boot on as it comes from the factory. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 6 '18 at 16:10

Also look for traces of CV grease on the drive shaft and around the CV joint itself. If the boot has been tampered with recently its likely there will be giveaway traces of grease or lubed/shiny areas to be seen, as CV grease is rather hard to get rid of without leaving any traces of work being done.

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