As anyone who’s driven one will tell you, UTVs are incredible. Their popularity has exploded over the past decade, and made them a staple of the off-road community. But just like any off-road rig, these miniature machines wear down over time. When it comes to CV axles, the degradation isn’t as visible as say, tires or brake pads. The damage is internal, and if not taken care of in time, it can have disastrous consequences.
To help us get a better grasp of what goes into a UTV axle and how they wear out, we spoke with Robert Murgado, Product Manager at GSP. “The thing with UTVs is that compared to the average car, they see a lot more abuse,” he pointed out. “They get torn up in the desert, the woods, and off-road parks. Owners love to give their side-by-sides a lot of upgrades, running different tires and suspension and lighting, and eventually these upgrades highlight the weakest link. At some point, that link becomes the CV axles.”
Murgado made a good point. UTVs generally see only off-road use, and off-roading is anything but gentle to a vehicle. The rest of the time, it’s either hitched to a trailer or kept in a garage. So it’s good to know that GSP offers replacement CV axles that keep the good times rolling. In order to do that, however, owners have to take the time to inspect their UTV.
“I would say checking the axles after every outing or every other outing would be good,” recommended Murgado. “If it was my UTV, I would also perform yearly maintenance and check-ups. The last thing you want is to get broken down in the wilderness. Fortunately, replacing a UTV axle isn’t necessarily difficult. It’s actually rather quick. In any case, packing an extra CV axle on the vehicle is a good practice.”
Murgado offered some advice on what to look for when inspecting CV axles. “It’s practically the same as it would be on a regular car,” he said. “You might have gone over a harsh bump or hole out on the trail. Hop out and make sure it’s okay, because sometimes the axles will make a clean break. Related to that, you might’ve torn a boot and started leaking grease. The grease is there to lubricate and help keep temperatures down, and once that’s gone, it heats up and it’s just a ticking time bomb at that point.”
“Other symptoms might be hearing a clicking noise while turning,” he continued. “Then there’s rust, but that’s on the extreme end. Like you’ve done water fording or drive it around salty roads during winter months.”
So let’s say you’ve done the inspection and found a hairline crack in the axle. Over time, that crack will spread and eventually cause a failure. A stitch in time saves nine, as the saying goes. So what does a GSP UTV CV axle offer?
“Our HD axle is a great solution,” said Murgado. “Basically, we take the OE design and beef it up, such that it’s now a HD upgrade when compared with the OE model. We use a stronger standard shaft and typically upgrade the size of the joints. The joints also offer better articulation. That’s because inside the joint, we use an improved cage, better ball bearings, and a high-quality moly grease.”
GSP’s axle coverage is excellent, and covers all of the popular makes and models on the market today. “We have about 300 SKUs just for UTVs alone,” Murgado commented. “It’s a pretty complete line and we have all of the later models covered.”
Now that you know what can happen to a UTV’s CV axles, and you know what GSP’s HD axle brings to the table, you’re well equipped to handle the inevitable. Be sure to visit GSP’s website to learn more about their products, and don’t forget to follow GSP on Facebook as well.