How Much Does it Cost to Replace a CV Axle on My Car?

The CV axles are the final component in your vehicle’s drivetrain before the wheels. They transfer power from the differential, propelling your vehicle forward. CV axles can transfer power at sharp angles while turning and going over bumps. They are also exposed to harsh conditions, extreme temperatures, road salts, and debris. Over time, CV axles and joints will wear out and need to be replaced. When you factor in parts and labor, how much will it cost to replace a CV joint on your car? Read on to find out.

Why Do CV Axles Fail?

Like we said before, CV axles can operate at extreme angles and are exposed to harsh conditions nearly constantly. Typically, the cause of failure is not the axle itself, but the CV joints on either end.  

The CV joints are protected by a ribbed rubber boot, which keeps the lubricant for the joint contained. The rubber boots can become torn, deteriorate, or dry rot over time. When this happens, the grease in the joint can leak out or become contaminated with dirt or debris. Under these conditions, the joint will not be lubricated properly. Eventually, the joint, and axle, will need to be repaired or replaced.

Signs of a Bad CV

As your CV joints start to fail, you will notice some changes while you drive. You may hear a clicking or popping noise while you turn, feel vibrations or wobbling while you drive, or see visible cracks and seeping grease around the rubber boots.

Are CV Axles Expensive?

Like pretty much any component, the cost of a CV axle is highly dependent on the vehicle. On economy cars, the axles can cost between 100-and 150 dollars each. Higher-end vehicles and heavy-duty applications can cost anywhere from $300 to over $1500 for each axle. Talking to your service advisor is the best way to figure out what you should expect to pay when replacing your axles.

Rebuilding CV Axles

Due to the high price of some CV axle assemblies, rebuilding a failed axle can be a cost-effective option. As long as the joints are not damaged too badly, the boot and lubricant can be replaced, and the axle can be reinstalled.

Labor Cost

 All automotive services have two main costs, parts, and labor. Labor cost is what you pay a shop, which in turn pays its technicians, to perform the service or repair.

Labor rates vary from shop to shop but normally it will take 1.5-3 hours to replace a cv axle. The total labor cost will depend on how many axles you are getting replaced. If you have an all-wheel-drive car and are replacing all four axles, the labor time can be 12 hours or more.

Total Cost of CV Axle Replacement

Replacing a single axle, parts, and labor together can cost between $300 and over $1500, depending on the car. This rate can be multiplied by the number of axles you need replacing. With such a wide range of costs, it’s best to talk with your service advisor to get a better idea of what you should expect to pay for your vehicle.

Do CV Axles Need to Be Replaced in Pairs?

No, you can replace just one axle if that is all you need. Some services like tire replacements can require you to install in pairs, but this is not the case for CV axles.

CV Axle Replacement at Becker Service Center

If your CV axles are damaged and need to be replaced, schedule an appointment at Becker Service Center! Our conveniently located Naperville repair shop is staffed with ASE-Certified technicians with the skills and experience to replace your axles and get you back on the road, fast. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

How Often Should My Timing Belt Be Replaced?

When it comes to major engine services, timing belt replacements are one of the most important. Neglecting a timing belt service can lead to catastrophic issues, including engine failure. In this article, we will discuss what a timing belt does, why it’s important, and how often you should have it replaced on your vehicle.

What is engine timing?

Before we talk about the timing belt itself, let’s go over engine timing. Your engine is divided into two main parts, the bottom end, and the cylinder head. These parts are connected with head studs or bolts and are sealed with a head gasket.

The bottom end of an engine contains the rotating assembly, including the crankshaft, connecting rods, and pistons. Moving parts also use bearings, which aid in reducing friction between metal components. The rotating assembly transfers the power generated by the engine to the transmission, and eventually to the wheels.

timing belt and cam gears

The cylinder head is where the valvetrain, ignition, and fueling system live. The valvetrain contains the camshaft(s), valves, valve springs, and associated hardware. The fuel rail, injectors, and sparkplugs (gasoline only) are housed in the cylinder head. These parts work together to control the intake of air and fuel, the timing of combustion, and the expulsion of exhaust gases.

Engine timing keeps the cylinder head rotating with the bottom end, ensuring proper engine operation. Adjustments in timing can impact fuel economy, performance, and other aspects of engine operation, but that is a topic for a separate article. Correct timing is essential to engine function.

What is a Timing Belt, and What Does It Do?

The rotating parts in both the cylinder head and bottom end of the engine need to operate very precisely. This is where the timing belt comes in. The belt connects the bottom end to the cylinder head, ensuring both parts of the engine are in precise time with the other.

timing belt routing graphic

What are Timing Belts Made From?

Most timing belts are made of a reinforced, high-density rubber composite. Some belts use neoprene, polyurethane, or even Kevlar to increase strength and resilience. In addition to the forces generated by the engine, timing belts need to resist extreme heat, weather, and exposure to harmful fluids like oil, gas and diesel, and coolant.  

Why Do Timing Belts Fail? 

Timing belt failure is usually attributed to age and poor maintenance. Even on a well-maintained car, an old belt will still succumb to weakening, stretching, and cracking. A belt that has prolonged exposure to fluids can also weaken. A compromised belt is much more likely to fail catastrophically.

What Happens When a Timing Belt Fails?

The outcome of a timing belt failure will depend on if you have an Interference or Non-Interference engine you have in your car.

The pistons and valves cross paths on an interference engine in the combustion chamber. When the engine is in time, the movement of the valves and pistons occurs in a way that prevents them from making contact. When the timing belt breaks or fails, the timing will be off, meaning the pistons and valves will most likely contact each other. Depending on the engine rpm and severity of the contact, the valves will bend or break. This will normally require a cylinder head replacement and in some cases an entirely new engine.

Non-Interference engines do not have the same risk of catastrophic failure. The valves and pistons never cross paths. If a timing belt failure occurs, the car will simply stop running as the camshaft(s) will no longer be operating the valves. Once the belt is replaced and the engine is re-timed, it will run as it did before with little other work needed.

It’s worth noting that the vast majority of vehicles on the road today, particularly those made in the last 15 or so years, utilize interference engines due to performance and fuel efficiency benefits.

A bent valve resulting from a failed timing belt.

How often should I get my timing belt replaced?

Timing belt replacement is a major service and can be pretty expensive, well over $1000 in most cases. Luckily, timing belts can last a long time. If you take care of your vehicle, you should plan on doing a timing belt replacement every 90,000-100,000 miles. Between these intervals, the belt should be checked periodically to ensure no significant wear has taken place.

Despite being expensive, a timing belt service will always be cheaper than replacing a cylinder head or entire engine. The long intervals between replacements give owners time to prepare for the cost, and knowing you have a new belt means you can confidently drive without fear of it breaking.

Timing Belt Replacement at Becker Service Center

If your car is due for a timing belt replacement, schedule an appointment with Becker Service Center. Our Naperville repair shop is staffed with ASE-Certified technicians with the knowledge and skills to service your car. Submit an appointment form or give us a call to schedule today!

How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Power Steering Pump?

You’ve started noticing a whining noise when you turn, a squealing when you start your car, and your steering feels different while you drive. You go to a repair shop, and they tell you it’s time to replace your power steering pump. How much should you expect to pay to get it replaced? What’s involved in the job?

What is Power Steering?

The power steering system assists in turning the steering wheel. Without it, you would have to work a lot harder to turn the wheel, especially at low speeds or when stopped. Power steering is something a lot of people probably take for granted. If you’ve ever hopped behind the wheel of an older car that doesn’t have it, you know what a difference power steering makes.

The power steering system is driven by a pump running off the engine. The fluid is pressurized by the pump, and directed by a valve into a chamber divided by a piston, located in the steering rack. One side of the piston receives more fluid depending on the direction the steering wheel is turned. The difference in pressure between the two sides allows the wheel to be turned with ease.

The power steering pump directs hydraulic fluid into the steering rack

Manufacturers are now moving to electric power steering systems, which do not utilize a pump. Fuel economy improves without the pump sapping power from the engine.

With that said, many cars on the road today use hydraulic power steering, and the system will be prevalent for many years to come.

What Causes Power Steering Pump Failure?

There are a few reasons why a power steering pump can fail. Here are some of the more common ones:

Low Power Steering Fluid

The hydraulic fluid used by the power steering system also works to keep the pump lubricated and cool. If the pump operates with low fluid for extended periods, it can overheat or succumb to excess wear. The life of the pump will be shorter as a result.


Fluid Leak

A fluid leak is not a direct cause of failure, but if enough fluid leaks from the system, the pump will be operating with less than adequate lubrication.

Snapped Belt

The power steering pump runs off the engine via a belt. If the belt breaks, the pump will not have any power driving it, preventing it from working.

Dirty or Contaminated Power Steering Fluid

If the fluid in your power steering system is dirty or contaminated, it can contribute to premature power steering pump failure.


An old power steering pump can fail simply from years of use. High mileage cars still using the original pump can see an age-related failure occur.

How Much Does a Power Steering Pump Replacement Cost?

Now that you understand power steering and the function of the pump, we can start talking about the replacement itself. The cost of a repair is split into two categories: labor and parts.

When replacing a power steering pump, the parts involved generally include the pump itself, fresh power steering fluid, and in some cases new power steering lines. Lines can be reused if they are in good condition. However, replacing them at the same time will ensure you don’t have more problems down the road.

Replacing Power Steering Lines Can Prevent Future Problems

Power Steering Pump Cost

The price of a power steering pump varies significantly by vehicle. They can be as little as $100 or up to almost $1000 on the high end. Again, it depends on the vehicle. German cars typically have more expensive components, while Asian and domestic makes will be more affordable. For most passenger cars, the price of the pump will likely be in the $150 to $500 range.


Labor Cost

Unfortunately, there is no exact price for labor either. On some vehicles, the pump is easily accessible and requires little disassembly to get to it. The time it takes the technician to replace the pump determines the labor cost. A readily accessible pump will cost far less to replace than one that requires a lot of wrenching to reach. At Becker Service Center, our labor rate is $138 an hour. 

How much should I expect to pay?

 While the price of this repair can vary, expect to pay between $500 and $800 to get your power steering pump replaced. Depending on your car, the cost could exceed that price, or fall below it. The best way to know for sure is to talk with the service advisors are your repair shop.

Power Steering Pump Replacement in Naperville, IL

 Becker Service Center is your destination for power steering service in Naperville. Our team of technicians and friendly service advisors will provide you with the best service and competitive prices on this repair, getting you back on the road with functional power steering fast, the first time. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

Winter Vehicle Prep Tips

Winter driving presents many more hazards than summer driving. Ice, snow, and rain cause slippery roads and poor visibility, making your car, and the daily commute, far less predictable. Extreme cold puts certain parts of your car under more stress. As the weather starts to get colder, there are a few important maintenance items you should check off to ensure you stay safe on the road until springtime.

New Wiper Blades

Winter driving often includes some poor visibility. Having good, functional wiper blades will make it far easier to see during a storm. Ice buildup on your windshield accelerates the wear and tear on wiper blades, so starting the winter season with a new set will ensure you can see even in the worst weather.

windshield wiper blades

Check Your Battery

Cold weather places added stress on your battery. Before the weather gets cold, bring your car to a local mechanic or auto parts store, and ask them to test the health of your battery. If it’s almost time for a new one, go ahead and replace it. You’ll wish you had if your car won’t start on a cold January morning.

car battery and jumper cables

Get Your Brakes Serviced 

Excess moisture and road salt impact the effectiveness of your brakes. Variable road conditions mean you are relying on your brakes more than you are in the summer. Your brake fluid can become contaminated with water and other debris, so make sure to get a fluid flush as well. Before the weather gets bad, have a technician service your brakes.

 Depending on how harsh the winters are where you live, it may be worth it to get the brakes serviced again halfway through the season.

brake rotor and caliper

Top Off Fluids

Make sure essential fluids like oil, coolant, and brake fluid are full. Remember to keep your windshield washer fluid as well, the new wiper blades you got won’t be as effective without them. On applicable fluids, make sure you are using a formula rated for cold weather.  

Consider Winter Tires

While it may be tempting to get a set of all seasons, if you live in an area that receives heavy snowfall regularly, there is no replacement for the real thing. A set of dedicated snow tires will keep your car in control on icy, snowy, or slushy roads.

Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly 

Cold weather can cause fluctuations in tire pressure. Tires perform best when they are inflated correctly, so make a habit of checking your tire pressure weekly. You can pick up a tire pressure gauge from an auto parts store. If you are unsure what your tire pressure should be, look on the driver’s doorjamb or in the owner’s manual.

valve stem

Get An Oil Change

Cold starts are rough on the internals of your engine. Having fresh oil will better protect the rotating components of your engine on initial startup. Getting an oil change before winter starts will keep your motor running smoothly.

Keep An Emergency Bag

Keeping a bag in your truck with food, first aid supplies, and jumper cables will come in handy if you end up stranded with a dead battery or slide off the road during a storm.

Get Ready For Winter At Becker Service Center!

Our technicians can perform all the services needed to get your car ready for an Illinois winter. Whether you need an oil change, brake service, or a winter tire swap, we are here to help. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

What Causes a Blown Head Gasket?

Maybe you see some white smoke coming out of the tailpipe while you drive, or maybe your car feels a bit sluggish or under powered. You bring your car to a repair shop and the service advisor says you have a blown head gasket. Most people know the head gasket is an important component in their vehicle’s engine, but not as many understand exactly what it does and what causes it to fail. Read on to learn more about the function of the head gasket, and why it’s such a serious issue when it blows.

What does the head gasket do?

Your engine is divided into two parts. The bottom end, which contains the crankshaft, pistons, connecting rods, and oil pump. These components live in the engine block, and their movement provides power and torque to the transmission and eventually, the wheels.

bottom end four cylinder engine
The bottom end of an engine.

The cylinder head is the “top half” of the engine. The head contains the valves, camshaft(s), spark plugs, as well as the ports allowing fresh air into the engine and exhaust out of it. The valves and spark plugs work to create the combustion needed to drive your car.

aluminum cylinder head four cylinder
An aluminum cylinder head.

The head gasket is the barrier that sits between the bottom end of the motor and the cylinder head. Its job is to seal the combustion happening in each cylinder and maintain compression. Additionally, the head gasket prevents oil and coolant from mixing. It serves as a barrier between the coolant channels that run through the engine block, and the oil contained in the rotating assembly.

complete engine
A complete engine with both the bottom and the cylinder head. The head gasket seals the two together.

What causes a head gasket to fail?

In general, head gaskets are pretty robust and, in most cases, last well over 100,000 miles. That being said, some conditions can cause premature head gasket failure.


Engine overheating is one of the most common causes of a blown head gasket. When the engine gets too hot, the gasket is exposed to temperatures outside of what it is meant to handle. Extreme heat can cause failure. Overheating can also cause warping or cracking in the cylinder head or engine block, preventing the head gasket from sealing correctly.

Pre-ignition and detonation

Both pre-ignition and detonation can cause premature head gasket failure. Both of these conditions result in high heat and pressure in the cylinder, putting extreme stress on the gasket, not to mention the pistons and valves. Remember that pre-ignition occurs before the spark plug fires, and detonation occurs after.

Abrupt temperature changes

The head gasket expands and contracts to depend on the temperature of the engine. If you start your engine cold and immediately put your foot down, the shock of the abrupt temperature change can cause a head gasket failure. Allowing your car to get up to proper operating temperature before aggressive acceleration will help prevent head gasket failure.

vehicle temperature gauge

High mileage and age

Gaskets wear out. A car that has significant mileage on it without ever having a head gasket replacement may run into issues. Age can cause the materials in the gasket to break down and not seal as well as they used to. Manufacturers prescribe a head gasket replacement once a car hits a certain mileage point. If you are over that mileage, you are at higher risk of head gasket failure.

Incorrect installation

If the head gasket was replaced incorrectly, it’s unlikely to hold a seal for long if it ever does at all. If you had a head gasket replaced but run into issues quickly after the service, there may have been an issue with the install.

used head gasket
An old, used head gasket.

Signs of a blown head gasket

Depending on the severity, the symptoms of a failed head gasket can vary.

Coolant and oil leaks

Oil and coolant leaks are common issues on many vehicles. Just because you see a leak doesn’t mean you have a blown head gasket. If you see the majority of the oil or coolant seeping out from the engine block though, it could be an indication that the head gasket is no longer maintaining a seal.


A blown head gasket no longer keeps coolant passages sealed off from the cylinders. This results in coolant entering the cylinder chamber, skewing the air/fuel ratio, and causing a misfire

White exhaust smoke and water vapor

White smoke or water vapor exiting the tailpipe is another indicator of a head gasket leak. Coolant that enters the cylinder and burns will appear white on its way out of the vehicle’s exhaust. Water vapor may also be present.

Overheating (again)

While overheating can cause a blown head gasket, it can also be a symptom.

White/milky oil

If you notice your oil has a milky color, it’s a good indicator that coolant has entered areas of the engine it’s not supposed to be. The most common cause of this is a failed head gasket. If you suspect a failed or failing head gasket, take a look at your dipstick or underneath the oil cap for signs of contamination. The oil that has mixed with coolant is not as effective at lubricating the moving parts in your engine.

 Can I fix a blown head gasket myself?

Probably not. Replacing a head gasket is an extremely in-depth repair that requires the removal of the cylinder head. For the average person, the complexity of this service is time-consuming and leaves a lot of room for error. Unless you are an ex-technician or a very experienced do-it-yourselfer with the proper space and tools, your best bet is to tow your car to a garage.

Can I drive with a blown head gasket?

No, you should not drive if you believe your head gasket has failed. You could cause significant damage that could quickly turn a head gasket replacement into an engine replacement.

Head gasket replacement at Becker Service Center

The team at Becker Service Center has the skills and knowledge to replace your blown head gasket. We will ensure the repair is done right the first time, restoring the seal between the block and cylinder head, and protecting your engine. Give us a call or schedule an appointment at our Naperville repair shop today!