To check the condition of the boots:
- Look for splits, cracks, tears, punctures, or thin spots caused by rubbing. These call for immediate boot replacement.
- Tears in the boot are an obvious sign of failure requiring that extra care be taken when cleaning and greasing the boot during replacement.
- Small cracks in the rubber or collapsed bellows that allow the boot to rub on moving parts or the joint are early signs the boot will fail.
- If the boot appears rotted, this indicates improper greasing or excessive heat, and it should be replaced.
- Squeeze all boots. If any air escapes, replace the boot.
- If the inner boot appears to be collapsed or deformed, venting it (allowing air to enter) might solve the problem.
- Place a round-tipped rod between the boot and drive shaft.
- This equalizes the outside and inside air and allows the boot to return to its normal shape.
- Make sure that all boot clamps are tight.
- Missing or loose clamps should be replaced.
- If the boot appears loose, slide it back and inspect the grease inside for possible contamination.
- A milky or foamy appearance indicates water contamination.
- A gritty feeling when rubbed between the fingers indicates dirt.
- In most cases, a water- or dirt-contaminated joint should be replaced.
Pivot points sealed with rubber boots. Courtesy of Chrysler Corporation.