How to Remove an Axle Shaft

  • 2-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Tire wrench
Car jack x 2
Jack stands
Length of wire
Impact wrench
Ball and socket wrench
Protective gloves
Disposable receptacle

Whether you are undertaking a vehicle rebuilding project or carrying out your own automotive repairs, there may be occasions when you will find it necessary to remove an axle shaft. You will find that the process can be less challenging if you follow the steps below to complete the task.

Step 1 – Gain Access

The first step necessary is to gain full access to the axle shaft to enable you to remove it. Do this by positioning a car jack at both sides of the car, ensuring that it is supported with jack stands under the frame of the vehicle rather than any components within it, such as the radiator. Secure the jacks once the car is high enough to allow you to see beneath the vehicle; you may notice visible defects to the axle. This will enable you to access the tires properly to allow you to remove them.

Step 2 – Remove Fasteners

If there is hub cap in place, pry this out of its position with a flathead screwdriver. You will then be able to use a tire wrench to remove the nuts that hold the wheels in place. Put them aside in a safe place once they have been withdrawn.

The cotter pin within the central hub nut can be removed with a pair of pliers before the nut can be removed with an impact wrench. Thread a screwdriver through the hub to prevent it turning and determine whether a brake caliper is attached to the wheel. If so, the bolt for this needs to be removed so that the caliper is disconnected. If this component has suffered any corrosion, it may be necessary to knock the fasteners in order to shift them. At this stage, it would also be prudent to hitch up the rubber brake hose with a length of wire to prevent it getting in the way or suffering damage.

Step 3 – Remove Wheel Hubs

After positioning a receptacle on the floor beneath the transmission of the vehicle to catch any fluid, remove the nut at the end of the tie rod where it connects to the steering knuckle. The control arm can then be removed from the steering knuckle with a wrench. Pry the wheel hub out of place until it is separated from the strut. Follow this process on the other side of the axle shaft that you intend to remove.

Step 4 – Remove Axle

At this stage, you will be in a position to remove the axle shaft from the transmission. It may be necessary to pry the axle shaft out of the transmission with a screwdriver if it is stubbornly fixed in place. If necessary, improve your grip with the use of thick working gloves. Once the axle is free from its holding, you will then be able to replace it with a new one.