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Universal Joint Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your universal joint (u-joint) replacement? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard to get a fair cost estimate for your universal joint (u-joint) replacement.
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John Davis
Expert Automotive Writer
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does it cost to replace a universal joint?

You can expect an average total replacement cost of $296 for a U-joint, with $27 for parts and $255 for mechanic labor. The exact price will depend on your vehicle.
How long does it take to replace a U-joint? In general, it takes around 2.1 hours hours for a certified mechanic to complete the job. Your mechanic will perform a preliminary inspection to determine if a replacement is necessary, then follow through with the full replacement. 
Here’s a rundown of universal joint replacement costs for different vehicles:
Universal joint replacement cost for various vehicles
Estimate DateCustomerCarFair Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostLabor Time
May 26, 2024
Infiniti EX37
$126
$23
$103
1.1 Hours
May 23, 2024
Hummer H2
$536
$97
$439
3.5 Hours
May 23, 2024
Chevrolet Cobalt
$533
$97
$437
3.5 Hours
May 18, 2024
Ram 2500
--
$97
--
3.5 Hours
May 17, 2024
Mercury Mountaineer
$499
$97
$403
3.5 Hours
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do I need for my universal joint replacement and how much do those parts cost?

Check your owner’s manual or ask your mechanic for the exact part numbers. Here are the parts you’ll need:
  • New U-joint: If more than one U-joint is failing, pick up several replacement U-joints. A universal joint is a small but important part that allows the driveshaft to move up and down as your vehicle drives over rough surfaces. A new U-joint usually costs between $10 and $30.
Some popular U-joint brands include Moog, Spicer and GMB. You can purchase them from auto parts stores like AutoZone or O'Reilly Auto Parts, or from online retailers like Amazon or Summit Racing.
You’ll also need special tools, although which tools you need depends on the U-joints in your vehicle and whether or not you need to remove other components of your car to access the driveshaft. 
In general, here’s what you’ll need:
  • Floor jack and jack stands
  • Ratchet and socket sets
  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrench set
  • Snap-ring pliers
  • U-joint puller or C-clamp (U-joint removal tool) 
  • Torque wrench
  • Breaker bar or impact wrench
  • Vise
Some people like to spend a little more on suspension parts that get a lot of wear and tear. OEM parts come with a quality guarantee and you won’t risk voiding your warranty by installing them. That said, if you’re trying to stick to a budget or you just want to be able to pick up parts at your nearby store, aftermarket replacement parts are a good option.
Shop for a new U-joint at your local auto body shops or auto parts shops like AutoZone or O'Reilly Auto Parts. If you know the replacement part number, you can also order replacement universal joints online from retailers such as Amazon or Summit Racing.

Where can I get my car's universal joint replaced?

With the rundown on 2,500+ vetted repair shops nationwide, Jerry's
GarageGuard™
can make the search for a mechanic to replace your universal joint a lot easier.
Jerry's GarageGuard™ compares fair price estimates from local shops using actual hourly rates. You’ll be able to budget for diagnostic fees and see reviews from previous customers to make sure you’ll be happy with your service.
Here’s a look at some of our vetted shops below—and you can download the app to compare car repair quotes in your area.
138 Reviews
Byrider Hamilton Rd
address
2886 S Hamilton Rd, Columbus, OH
Universal Joint U Joint
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$217
(Parts - $27, Labor - $190)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$65
171 Reviews
City Tire Co., Inc. - Worcester
address
451 Southbridge St, Oxford, MA
Universal Joint U Joint
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$276
(Parts - $27, Labor - $249)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$80
187 Reviews
1DM AUTO
address
7590 McGinnis Ferry Rd, Duluth, GA
Universal Joint U Joint
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$239
(Parts - $27, Labor - $212)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$65
115 Reviews
On The Go Tires
address
(Mobile repair service), Fort Myers, FL
Universal Joint U Joint
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$217
(Parts - $27, Labor - $190)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$75
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How will a mechanic replace my universal joint?

Even if just one u-joint is broken, it’s best to have your mechanic replace both joints at the same time since the other is likely to fail soon. To replace the universal joints, here are the steps your mechanic will take:
  1. Raise the rear of the vehicle: First, they’ll use a floor jack and jack stands to elevate your car.
  2. Mark the driveshaft: The mechanic will use a marker to make a note of where the driveshaft mates with the differential flange. This makes it easier to reinstall the driveshaft.
  3. Remove the driveshaft: Next, they’ll remove the nuts or bolts that attach the driveshaft to the differential. This allows the mechanic to take out the driveshaft.
  4. Remove the old universal joint: The mechanic takes out the snap rings or fasteners that secure the bearing cups (also called bearing caps).
  5. Install the new universal joints and snap rings: If the new U-joints require lubrication, the mechanic will position the new U-joint so that they can reach it with a grease gun. Then, they’ll clean the driveshaft yoke and place the replacement U-joint in it. 
  6. Reinstall the driveshaft: Finally, the mechanic will re-insert the rear of the driveshaft back into position, checking that the marks line up with the differential flange. They’ll fasten it back in place.
That finishes the replacement, but the mechanic should also check the transmission fluid since some might have been lost when the driveshaft was taken out.

Is it okay to drive with a bad U-joint?

If you suspect there’s something wrong with your car’s universal joint, don’t wait to get an inspection. If you keep driving your car, here are some of the issues you might face:
  • Leaky seals on the transmission shaft or transfer case
  • Damage to the driveshaft
  • Bearing failure
  • Inability to drive the vehicle
When you drive to an auto repair shop, drive slowly and go easy on the acceleration.

What is a universal joint?

Rear-wheel drive vehicles rely on flexibility with their drivetrain and suspension systems. 
The universal joints allow for extra movement. As your car travels over rough terrain, the U-joints let the driveshaft move up and down while transferring power from the transmission to the rear wheels.
The U-joints handle a lot of strain. Over time, the force from the driveshaft can cause the U-joint bearings to wear out—especially if they aren’t regularly lubricated. 

What are the symptoms of a worn universal joint?

U-joints take a while to fail, so you’ll notice a few warning signs that gradually worsen until the joint completely breaks. These are the most common signs that it’s time to replace a bad U-joint:
  • Car vibration: You’ll notice the car vibrate because the driveshaft vibrates more as the U-joint gets worse.
  • Unusual noises: Clunking, rapid chirping, and banging sounds, especially when you shift gears, indicate that the universal joint needs to be inspected.

How many miles do universal joints last?

Universal joints usually last a very long time if you keep up the maintenance on your vehicle. Most U-joints last around 100,000 miles, although they can wear out earlier if the car is in an accident or not maintained.

Can I replace a U-joint myself?

If you’re confident in your DIY auto repair skills, you should be able to replace a universal joint at home. Keep in mind that you should be comfortable working on the driveshaft and that you’ll need a well-stocked garage so you have the right tools.

FAQs

A clunking sound is the most widely heard noise when a U-joint fails, but you might hear a vibration or a squeaking sound when you start to drive.
A universal joint takes a lot of abuse, so wear and tear can make a universal joint fail. Lack of lubrication, improper installation, aggressive off-road driving, and over-torquing can also cause a universal joint to break.

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.