If there is one item that customers need to be educated about, its the importance and proper repair of your axle boots. Also known as CV boots, or constant velocity joint boots. Almost every single Audi and VW has them, and they are important. They are ribbed boots that protect the bearings on each end of your front drive axles and rear axles on Quattros. Over the course of normal driving, heat,stress, and ozone damage weaken the plastic or rubber boots until one tears, and the grease inside leaks out. You may notice a big, greasy mess inside one of your front wheels during a car wash.
The proper repair is to have a technician remove the axle from the vehicle, remove the torn boot and joint, disassemble, clean and inspect the joint, then replace the boot with the appropriate kit. If the inner boot kit doesnt look great, its a good time to repack both cv boots while one axle is out. There are two outer joints and boots, and two inner joints and boots. If you have a four wheel drive VW or Audi, then you have four axles and eight total cv boots. The rear boots, thankfully, hardly ever need attention.
The most important thing to remember is this…NEVER let someone sell you an aftermarket axle as an alternative to replacing your original cv boot. Yes, it may appear to be cheaper, but you are only going to regret it. Aftermarket axles from China cause vibration problems, abs problems, and the boots are almost impossible to service, like the originals, because they are made to different dimensions and of inferior materials. And, when it is deemed that you need an axle to repair your car, the only alternative is to source an OES remanufactured axle from the dealer. A new axle, if new is available, will be at least $800 for one side. Remanufactured, with exchange, costs about half that amount, but the dealer requires an OES axle as a core. So, if you have an aftermarket axle to return, you can’t, AND it will cost an additional $200 for the missing core. One side can easily cost over $1,000 to replace if your aftermarket axle fails. ALWAYS insist that your original axle be repaired, and if a joint is damaged, buy a genuine remanufactured axle.
The photo shows a failed right outer cv joint on an aftermarket axle.