First to make sure I'm using the correct terminology: for a manual transmission, front-wheel drive Mk4 2004 Volkswagen Jetta, are axle shaft / drive axle / CV axle the same thing?

I have been experiencing re-occurring grinding noises when turning steering wheels, usually observed when turning big at low speeds (similar to the kind of turning test you do when buying used cars). I ended up replacing front left "axle shaft" in 2011 and "CV axle/boot" again in 2012 after ~1000 miles.

I replaced front right "axle" in 2018 and am now having grinding noise which was diagnosed to be the front right "drive shaft/strut mount" in 2020 after ~15,000 miles.

I also had the front strut assembly replaced in 2016 and again in 2018 after ~10,000 miles.

All three seem to me pretty short lifespans for these components. What are some reasons to cause this? Bad parts? Bad driving habits? If it matters, we live in snowy states with a lot of road salt in winter. We always start in first gear, do not ride clutches, and do not put hands on the gear.

  • 1
    I think all three terms can be used fairly interchangeably, but usually the "drive shaft" refers to the shaft which transfers power from the transmission out to the differential in a rear wheel drive car (or from the transfer case up to a front differential in a 4x4). I don't think anyone would be confused by what you're saying here, though (at least IMHO, they shouldn't). Jan 6, 2022 at 22:34
  • What exactly is it doing which is telling you it's gone bad? Usually for CV Joints (the working part of the drive axle), you'll hear clicking when turning. The outside CVJ is usually the culprit when you hear the noise. If this isn't what you're hearing, I'm wondering if it's the drive axle at all? Jan 7, 2022 at 2:38
  • It's more of a grinding sound when turning, most observable when turning large degrees (hence at low speeds).
    – Roc W.
    Jan 7, 2022 at 4:18
  • Are you sure it's not some part of the fender, or related to the brakes (especially the plastic part or that disk behind the caliper)?
    – Jason K.
    Jan 9, 2022 at 16:43
  • Pretty sure it's a metal grinding sound. For the latest symptom, another mechanics briefly looked at it and said it was the right "drive shaft/strut mount".
    – Roc W.
    Jan 11, 2022 at 4:04


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