Odd noises coming from underneath your car are always a bad sign that a part is about to give or wear out. One of the parts that you'll need to look out for would be your vehicle's U Joint or universal joint, an essential component in your ride's drive train that is responsible for transmitting torque. Once you hear a clunking sound under your vehicle, it's possible that you have a worn-out universal joint that's about to fail soon, and you wouldn't want that to happen while you're out driving in the middle of nowhere. Check out our short guide and learn what you'll need to look for when replacing your car's U Joint.
How they work
The U Joint, which is also known as the Cardan or Hooke joint, converts the torque generated by your car's engine and transfers them into the differentials and drive wheels of your vehicle. Basically, should this part fail, your ride won't be going anywhere until you get it replaced.
Before you go looking for a replacement universal joint, you should check your car's manual first to see what kind of U Joint you have installed. There are actually two kinds of universal joints, the single and double U joint. Single U Joints can only rotate up to 45 degrees while the double U Joint can go as far as 90 degrees. Of the two, the single U Joint is much better at transmitting torque and is sturdier when it comes to managing pressure and weight. Regardless, you should only go for a design that is compatible with your vehicle, for better performance and ease of installation.
What to look for
Once you've determined whether you car is using a single or double U Joint, you'll also have to decide if you'd want it made from steel or plastic. While plastic U Joints are rust resistant, metal or steel universal joints can withstand a heavier load, which is essential depending on the type of vehicle that you're using and the amount of cargo that you're carrying. If you are not sure of what to get, we highly recommend that you go for OEM replacements that are made specifically for your vehicle. You won't have to spend much for U Joints, as they typically run for less than $50, with higher end models going for around $100 - $250.